Chicago PyStar

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Lukas Blakk

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Jul 28, 2011, 2:28:59 PM7/28/11
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Hi Sheila,

I caught your post on DevChix about wanting to facilitate a PyStar in
Chicago.

Folks who organize, or who contribute to running PyStar workshops are
accessible via http://groups.google.com/group/pystar and that's a great
place to get advice and info.

For starters I recommend:

* Pick a date
* Put out a call for (or do outreach to your friends and local Python
user groups) for volunteers to teach and assist at the workshop
* Find a space to hold the workshop that has internet, and preferably
conf rooms or other group seating possibilities where learning groups
can sit together
* Set up an Eventbrite for the event (I usually do two kinds of tickets
- both free - one for attendees and one for volunteers) and start
publicizing the event. Let me know when you get to this point and I'll
update the pystar.org website as well as push that info out on
PyStar_Promo's twitter stream
* Pick your curriculum. Right now the pystar site has some very basic
badges that first time programmers can do on the workshop day but
different events have used other tools like doing exercises from:

http://learnpythonthehardway.org/book/
http://codingbat.com/python
www.pythonchallenge.com
https://openhatch.org/wiki/Boston_Python_workshop

Feel free to do your own curriculum too and then share it back to the
group. The PyStar website and docs are still in flux as I'm trying to
find time to revamp the site to allow for each geo-located PyStar
workshop group to have its own page and then make it easy to upload or
add teaching tips and curriculums followed.

I also recommend doing a survey pre & post workshop along the lines of
https://spreadsheets.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dGNOTGtFNTZON25vZVMzLWN2dkgtWnc6MQ

and

https://spreadsheets.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dGU0aDNaV3FpN29GdWxjRW1mLUc5ZWc6MA

It would be great if all PyStar organizers kept as much info about their
workshops as possible so that over time we can show the impact of doing
this work. So far it seems like all events have been tremendously
appreciated by attendees.

So that's a start. Let me (and the pystar google group) know what you
need and keep us posted on what you end up doing.

Cheers,
Lukas

sheila miguez

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Jul 28, 2011, 2:41:28 PM7/28/11
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On Thu, Jul 28, 2011 at 1:28 PM, Lukas Blakk <lukas...@gmail.com> wrote:
> Hi Sheila,
>
> I caught your post on DevChix about wanting to facilitate a PyStar in
> Chicago.

[...]

> So that's a start. Let me (and the pystar google group) know what you need
> and keep us posted on what you end up doing.

That was a lot of good information. I am definitely intending to post
to the group here as I get more information. I wasn't sure whether to
start with a post in chipy (the python user group here), devchix, and
other places to see if people were interested first before approaching
the list. I have only had one email so far, so I am not certain there
is enough interest, but I am thinking of trying again after crafting a
longer email.

If we do have an event here, I will definitely need help. I was hoping
that some people who have already done events would consider coming to
Chicago! I would even try to cover travel.

--
sheila

Asheesh Laroia

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Aug 2, 2011, 7:02:00 AM8/2/11
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Hi Sheila!

Great to see the enthusiasm that you're bringing to Chicago.

I think you can succeed in the windy city, and I'm on the PyStar list
here and happy to help.

I think that maybe I (and OpenHatch) have slightly different goals than
Lukas, so you should be sure to understand which approach you like more.
(Lukas, if this is not welcome here, then please say so.) The PyStar
events that I've seen so far emphasize teaching programming to newcomers,
whereas the OpenHatch events emphasize bringing more diversity to existing
communities. There's so much in common that there's lots of
cross-pollination in terms of teachers and in terms of curriculum -- both
events teach programming to newcomers!

(Lukas, at some point, maybe on-list, maybe off-, I'd love to have a
conversation with you and see what you think about this difference I
perceive.)

So, in Boston, we focused on the Boston Python Meetup group; there, you
can focus on ChiPy. With that in mind, I would propose a different set of
starting points:

* Explain to ChiPy that you are interested in getting a more diverse crowd

* Explain that you want to organize a diversity outreach event, based on
whatever you want to say it's based on (PyStar Minneapolis, Boston Python
Workshop, RailsBridge -- so much to draw inspiration from)

* Get 1-3 people together as your core team: have a lunch meeting and
decide on the format, and make sure you all share goals

* Have an email list where you can communicate with your core team

* Find a venue and a date

* The rest will happen.

Lukas suggested "Pick a date" first, which is also good (-:. I'm
personally prone to burn-out so it's important for me to know I'm not
working alone.

I suggest inviting possible instructors from the ChiPy world. If you want
more help finding individuals to reach out to in ChiPy, email me
off-list.

Keep us posted! And I'm sure that people will be quite happy to help
you make it work. (Oh, and for getting instructors to travel, if you pick
the date enough in advance, I imagne the Python Sprints budget would fund
the travel.)

-- Asheesh.

bear

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Aug 2, 2011, 10:42:14 AM8/2/11
to pys...@googlegroups.com
On Tue, Aug 2, 2011 at 07:02, Asheesh Laroia <ash...@asheesh.org> wrote:
> On Thu, 28 Jul 2011, sheila miguez wrote:
>
>> On Thu, Jul 28, 2011 at 1:28 PM, Lukas Blakk <lukas...@gmail.com> wrote:
>>>
>>> Hi Sheila,
>>>
>>> I caught your post on DevChix about wanting to facilitate a PyStar in
>>> Chicago.
>>
>> [...]
>>
>>> So that's a start. Let me (and the pystar google group) know what you
>>> need
>>> and keep us posted on what you end up doing.
>>
>> That was a lot of good information. I am definitely intending to post to
>> the group here as I get more information. I wasn't sure whether to start
>> with a post in chipy (the python user group here), devchix, and other places
>> to see if people were interested first before approaching the list. I have
>> only had one email so far, so I am not certain there is enough interest, but
>> I am thinking of trying again after crafting a longer email.
>>
>> If we do have an event here, I will definitely need help. I was hoping
>> that some people who have already done events would consider coming to
>> Chicago! I would even try to cover travel.
>
> Hi Sheila!
>
> Great to see the enthusiasm that you're bringing to Chicago.
>
> I think you can succeed in the windy city, and I'm on the PyStar list here
> and happy to help.

Hello!

I help Dana with the PyStar in Philadelphia and it's good to see
another city start to happen!

>
> I think that maybe I (and OpenHatch) have slightly different goals than
> Lukas, so you should be sure to understand which approach you like more.
> (Lukas, if this is not welcome here, then please say so.) The PyStar events
> that I've seen so far emphasize teaching programming to newcomers, whereas
> the OpenHatch events emphasize bringing more diversity to existing
> communities. There's so much in common that there's lots of
> cross-pollination in terms of teachers and in terms of curriculum -- both
> events teach programming to newcomers!

In Philly we are focusing primarily on women, but as Asheesh
mentioned, we are always cognizant about diversity issues. Most of
the curriculum that we have used did come from OpenHatch -- they have
such a great site!

>
> (Lukas, at some point, maybe on-list, maybe off-, I'd love to have a
> conversation with you and see what you think about this difference I
> perceive.)
>
> So, in Boston, we focused on the Boston Python Meetup group; there, you can
> focus on ChiPy. With that in mind, I would propose a different set of
> starting points:
>
> * Explain to ChiPy that you are interested in getting a more diverse crowd
>
> * Explain that you want to organize a diversity outreach event, based on
> whatever you want to say it's based on (PyStar Minneapolis, Boston Python
> Workshop, RailsBridge -- so much to draw inspiration from)
>
> * Get 1-3 people together as your core team: have a lunch meeting and decide
> on the format, and make sure you all share goals

This, in my opinion, is the best thing to start with - I found the
first meeting to be a lot less stressful because Dana and myself had
met and exchanged emails *before* the event so we felt prepared. Not
that everything went off without a hitch :)

>
> * Have an email list where you can communicate with your core team
>
> * Find a venue and a date
>
> * The rest will happen.
>
> Lukas suggested "Pick a date" first, which is also good (-:. I'm personally
> prone to burn-out so it's important for me to know I'm not working alone.
>
> I suggest inviting possible instructors from the ChiPy world. If you want
> more help finding individuals to reach out to in ChiPy, email me off-list.
>
> Keep us posted! And I'm sure that people will be quite happy to help you
> make it work. (Oh, and for getting instructors to travel, if you pick the
> date enough in advance, I imagne the Python Sprints budget would fund the
> travel.)
>
> -- Asheesh.
>

Please do keep the list posted with any questions or ideas you come up
with - it's the sharing here that helps everyone keep enjoying the
experience :)

Thanks again!


--
Bear

be...@xmpp.org (email)
bea...@gmail.com (xmpp, email)
be...@code-bear.com (xmpp, email)
http://code-bear.com/bearlog (weblog)

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sheila miguez

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Aug 2, 2011, 11:11:42 AM8/2/11
to pys...@googlegroups.com
On Tue, Aug 2, 2011 at 9:42 AM, bear <bea...@gmail.com> wrote:

>> * Get 1-3 people together as your core team: have a lunch meeting and decide
>> on the format, and make sure you all share goals
>
> This, in my opinion, is the best thing to start with - I found the
> first meeting to be a lot less stressful because Dana and myself had
> met and exchanged emails *before* the event so we felt prepared.  Not
> that everything went off without a hitch :)

Someone in the devchix list once floated the idea of a workshop here
in Chicago. I didn't jump in to help organize, mainly due to social
awkwardness and lack of confidence. I'm trying to get over it,
otherwise I might not see any event here. This is one reason I
mentioned really wanting help from someone who has put on an event
before. If I can help from someone for the first event, I think I'll
have more confidence for handling future events.

> Please do keep the list posted with any questions or ideas you come up
> with - it's the sharing here that helps everyone keep enjoying the
> experience :)
>
> Thanks again!

Here's one of the questions I have.

I was at a progressive science fiction convention recently and
participated in discussions with people who are trans. I'd like to
invite people from these discussions. Some mentioned an interest in
programming, but I thought I perceived some shyness about the topic.

That is one thing I'd like to help with so that people don't exclude
themselves before they even begin. I'd like to be able to invite
everyone I met in the discussion regardless of their gender identity,
i.e. even ftm. Is this something I shouldn't tackle until I've been
able to help with one event? There are probably things I don't even
know to consider.

--
sheila

sheila miguez

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Aug 2, 2011, 11:23:00 AM8/2/11
to pys...@googlegroups.com
On Tue, Aug 2, 2011 at 6:02 AM, Asheesh Laroia <ash...@asheesh.org> wrote:

> I think that maybe I (and OpenHatch) have slightly different goals than
> Lukas, so you should be sure to understand which approach you like more.
> (Lukas, if this is not welcome here, then please say so.) The PyStar events
> that I've seen so far emphasize teaching programming to newcomers, whereas
> the OpenHatch events emphasize bringing more diversity to existing
> communities. There's so much in common that there's lots of
> cross-pollination in terms of teachers and in terms of curriculum -- both
> events teach programming to newcomers!

I think at first I will try out a PyStar event to get experience with
events. I have been thinking of other things to try that are diversity
oriented, but don't want to get ahead of myself. I will find the right
place to discuss ideas about that once I'm ready

(I'd like to be able to have an event that is friendly for older
people and blue collar people. I don't feel that there are events like
this).

PyStar attendees might also be interested in future events with more
advanced programming projects that incude more people.


> So, in Boston, we focused on the Boston Python Meetup group; there, you can
> focus on ChiPy. With that in mind, I would propose a different set of
> starting points:
>
> * Explain to ChiPy that you are interested in getting a more diverse crowd

I mentioned it in our irc channel, but haven't said much on the
mailing list yet. I know more men programmers than women programmers,
including members of chipy. Not sure how much of an issue that will
be. I'd like to have women instructors.

> Keep us posted! And I'm sure that people will be quite happy to help you
> make it work. (Oh, and for getting instructors to travel, if you pick the
> date enough in advance, I imagne the Python Sprints budget would fund the
> travel.)

I thought these were intended for sprints where people are working on
core python. If not, I will check this out.


--
sheila

Lukas Blakk

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Aug 2, 2011, 12:04:57 PM8/2/11
to pys...@googlegroups.com
On 11-08-02 8:11 AM, sheila miguez wrote:
Someone in the devchix list once floated the idea of a workshop here
in Chicago. I didn't jump in to help organize, mainly due to social
awkwardness and lack of confidence. I'm trying to get over it,
otherwise I might not see any event here. This is one reason I
mentioned really wanting help from someone who has put on an event
before. If I can help from someone for the first event, I think I'll
have more confidence for handling future events.

Congrats on taking the leap - believe it or not (if you've met me) I am an introvert and doing the PyStar event is nerve wracking on many levels but at the end of the day I am so happy to see all the attendees leaving with huge smiles and feelings of accomplishment.  It's a pretty great feeling and helps motivate me to keep putting myself out there.  I hope that you get a similar positive experience from doing this very important work :)

Here's one of the questions I have.

I was at a progressive science fiction convention recently and
participated in discussions with people who are trans. I'd like to
invite people from these discussions. Some mentioned an interest in
programming, but I thought I perceived some shyness about the topic.

That is one thing I'd like to help with so that people don't exclude
themselves before they even begin. I'd like to be able to invite
everyone I met in the discussion regardless of their gender identity,
i.e. even ftm. Is this something I shouldn't tackle until I've been
able to help with one event? There are probably things I don't even
know to consider.
This is absolutely what PyStar is about and how it is framed - PyStar is for all women including trans women and their friends to learn Python programming in a non-alpha geek, friendly environment.  When my first PyStar was gearing up someone ping'd me in IRC and asked if ftm was ok.  I state quite simply that if the learning approach of this workshop is what you need to be comfortable learning then this space/event is definitely for you.

I like to explicitly say "including trans women" in the title or prominent description of the event to make sure that no woman has to ask herself if it really means her.  There might be a better way to be inclusive of ftm folks too and I'm open to suggestions on how to tie that in there but my hope is the "we're trying to create a safe space for learners" is accessible to most.

Using Eventbrite for your registration you can send out email notifications to many mailing lists to spread the word and I would totally send it to any people you met at that convention if you have their addresses or a mailing list that they might be on. Spread the word far and wide and then after your first workshop people will tell their friends and next thing you know there will be folks clamoring for the next one.

Cheers,
Lukas


sheila miguez

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Aug 9, 2011, 11:11:37 AM8/9/11
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On Tue, Aug 2, 2011 at 11:04 AM, Lukas Blakk <lukas...@gmail.com> wrote:
> Using Eventbrite for your registration you can send out email notifications
> to many mailing lists to spread the word and I would totally send it to any
...

It sounds like Eventbrite was very useful for you. When did you set up
a page? How far along were you in having anything to set up a page
for?

Also, how did you pick a date for the event?

--
sheila

Lukas Blakk

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Aug 9, 2011, 11:20:12 AM8/9/11
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Picking the date was really the first thing I did. It may sound nuts
that I didn't have any other teachers or volunteers lined up yet, but
that's how I roll :)

I picked the date (about a month away at the time of choosing), after
making sure that I could use our Mozilla office space for the Friday
evening and Saturday all-day time slots, then I immediately created the
Eventbrite event. By creating the two ticket types for the event - one
for teachers/volunteers and one for attendees - I gathered some
volunteers from the first round of promoting that Eventbrite page. Then
there was a couple of weeks of quiet. Two weeks before the event I did
another round of promotion and that round really showed a spike of
registrations in the Eventbrite statistics views. In this second round
of promotion I picked up a few more volunteers and so a week before the
event I had a group phone meeting with all the teacher/volunteers who
could make the time and we just ran over what to expect, what the
curriculum would be, how the day would go, and I tried to answer any
questions they had. I also tried to get a sense at that meeting of who
wanted to teach what as well as who would show up on Friday. Because
the Mountain View location of the workshop is a bit of a commute from SF
I didn't expect people from SF to come all the way out to MV on a Friday
night. Having just one or two who lived nearby come for the
install-fest portion worked just fine since not all attendees came on
the Friday night either. This is also one of the reasons I am trying to
figure out ways to get around having an installation time at all,
although much like with the Ruby on Rails for Women workshops it is
great when you can be pretty sure that everyone who shows up for the
workshop is ready to code and has all their tools installed.

Speaking of picking a date, it's time for me to look at a calendar and
pick a date for an SF PyStar soon.

Cheers,
Lukas

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