Collaboration with Women Techmakers Berlin


(Haiko Schol) #1

Yesterday I met with Natalie from Women Techmakers Berlin to discuss some ideas for collaboration. WTB is similar to OTS, but both have some different formats that could complement each other well. WTB runs continuous courses on various subjects (e.g. Javascript, Android, Go) that usually last for three months. During and after that time, our colearning meetups could be useful for attendees. This should be easy to do: Avoid scheduling conflicts between the course and the colearning, tell the course attendees about the colearning and give the colearning coaches access to the course material.

For the WTB course on Go, it might make sense to restart the Go colearning. Natalie is also an organizer at the Go meetup and suggested that I talk about the colearning there to find more coaches/organizers (since I had to cancel it often when traveling).

Another format of WTB is “fireside chats”. Those are similar to the career Q&A event we had, which I believe, garnered quite some interest. So maybe OTS can contribute ideas/people/space/etc to future fireside chats.

Natalie expressed interest to run an intro to programming with python workshop, to offer the WTB community an alternative to the big commitment of a three month course.

She also mentioned the upcoming codemotion conference and their community stage. Gorgia already talked to them and started a thread: Codemotion October 2017

Finally, in the first week of November the Google Developer Group DevFest takes places. I think attendance is free and we could run a regular length workshop (~5h) there.


(Martin Stadler) #2

Amazing, looking forward to all of this!

Can we get Natalie to join DIscourse?


(Haiko Schol) #3

I hope so. That was why I also sent and email and suggested we move the discussion here.


(Natalie) #4

Hi there,
nice to meet you all!

Some social media links:
Here is the WTM website that has links to all our social media accounts
And the Golang meetup that has the link to our twitter account (those are the only 2 SM the Go group holds).

Please come talk about OTS to the communities!
We definitely love collaborating, and I’d love to recommend our attendees to attend OTS.
The next WTM Stammtisch os on 20/09, if one of you is free to come and tell us a bit more - would be super.
We meet several times a month, so no worries if this date doesn’t work out.
We also have a fairly active fb group, which can be a great place to write what are the study groups you have going on, who can join and what can they expect.
The WTM group is varied, we have people of all genders, ages, backgrounds and expertise levels, so you probably can find a few attendees that would benefit from hearing about your great work.

The next Golang meetup is 30/08, and it would be great to have someone to introduce your work as well, and as we meet once a month - we can always plan for September instead.

When you’ll pick an event you’d like to attend to tell us a bit more - just lmk in advance so I’ll make sure that the event host will plan a timeslot for you.
[edit: this was full of links but the system allows me to post only one link as a new user, so now the responsibility to find the links is on you!]

I would love to plan for a Python course. Do you have material? do you have instructors? I can search for a venue and instructors.

Looking forward!


(Martin Stadler) #5

Great!

Find our material here: http://learn.opentechschool.org/
We have a good network of coaches so should work out :slight_smile:


(Haiko Schol) #6

There has been some development in the meantime and we have two more potential collaborators/coaches. One of them runs the monthly meetup Women Who Go. They are not on Discourse yet, so I just used @Ronna and @Tiago below.

Let’s try to figure out how we can work together. :slight_smile:

Summary of the different meetups

OTS Colearning

  • recurring every week or every other week (i.e. python is biweekly, frontend is weekly)

  • no curriculum; learners work on their own projects or ask us for suggestions where to start

  • no “continuity”; learners can come to as many or few meetups as they like without missing anything

  • anyone can participate as learner or coach

Women Techmakers Berlin (@Natalie correct me if I’m wrong/missing something)

  • recurring every ? time units

  • continuous three month course with a fixed curriculum

  • specifically for women

Women Who Go (@Ronna correct me if I’m wrong/missing something)

  • recurring every month

  • fixed curriculum, with one self-contained exercise/challenge per meetup

  • although learners can attend a single meetup here and there, the goal is to have a consistent group that improves their skills somewhat homogeneously

  • specifically for women

If the OTS restarts the Go colearning group, we could tell attendees of the other two meetups that they can go there to work on the exercises from the other two meetups. The easiest way for me personally to restart it is to combine it with the Python colearning group. In order for that to work we need to make sure that:

  • it’s schedule (every other Monday) does not conflict with the other two meetups

  • we have at least one more coach for Go who shows up consistently (of course, nobody can make it every time)

  • the organizers/coaches of the Python colearning group are ok with that (@chiara @MisterRios @andreas @alvaro)

@Natalie @Ronna @Tiago what do you think about that? Any other ideas?


(Natalie) #7

Heya all,

I’d like to start with a quick clarification - WTMB is not meant specifically for women. In order to prevent the confusion I even mentioned it in my previous message here :slight_smile: We are aiming to increase diversity in across the tech communities in Berlin, and we were always opened for people of all backgrounds.

The course that WTM is following for teaching Go is the beginners one offered by GoBridge, planned for a session of 8 meetings spread over 3 months. So far we hosted this course 3 times: twice in 2016 and once in 2017. Unfortunately, I did not get a positive response from WWG to my collaboration offer in the previous times, but it will be exciting if this time it will happen!

The idea Haiko and I discussed was to collaborate during WTM beginners course (e.g. sharing call for instructors and participants), and then suggest the attendees to take their projects to dedicated Go hacking meetups by OTS. The idea behind it was to offer an environment for people of all backgrounds who are new to Go where they can work on their projects in Go.

So far we did recommend our graduates to attend WWG and GDG Golang , but both meetups didn’t/don’t offer what we are looking for - a place to hack on projects, each meetup for different reasons:

  • Around November WWG took a break until July, so we couldn’t recommend our students attend it anymore, also as this is focused on women, it’s not relevant for all our attendees.
  • The GDG Golang meetup is not a place to work on projects, but only to present them.

I hope this clarifies the initial plan better, and looking forward to get things Going :slight_smile:


(Tiago Queiroz) #8

Hi everyone!

My thoughts on OTS Colearning: (most of them aligned with Haiko )

  • recurring every other week (so it is not that difficult to coaches and learners to attend ever meetup)

  • every meetup should have a small challenge. The idea is to always make clear that the meetup has an objective and anyone without a project can come and work something. So at the beginning of the meetup we present the small challenge and people can decide whether do our challenge or work on their project

  • no “continuity”: every meetup must be independent from the others, but some background continuity is good to incentive people to come regularly

The “background continuity” and the proposed challenge would normally be aligned: e.g.

  • Sorting algorithms: for two months we always suggest to implement a different sorting algorithm and at the end we can make a small benchmark on them.
  • coding dojo: every week we presente a different problem from http://cyber-dojo.org/ or any other website like that and incentive people to solve them

In the long run if we get some people coming to every meetup we can start to suggest a big project, or helping them to start contributing to some free-software projects.


(Haiko Schol) #9

@Natalie Apologies for getting this wrong.

@belimawr Thanks for your input. I think there is no harm in having an optional challenge at each meetup. It is more work to prepare, but if we can re-use material from elsewhere (license permitting) we just need the coaches to have a look at it beforehand.

@andreas @MisterRios @alvaro are you ok with combining Go and Python colearning? I’m pretty sure @chiara is, since she suggested it. :slight_smile:


(Chiara) #10

I’m totally for it :wink:

I won’t be a coach myself, but I’d be a bit cautious about having to prepare a coding challenge every other week. It’s going to be quite a lot of work, and showing up every time is quite a commitment already :slight_smile:


(Ronna) #11

Hi all,

Let’s take a moment to enjoy that the coaches distribution is 50-50% f/m :smile:

I believe we should try to come up with a format that will serve the community best and from what I can see there’s a real lack of space in Berlin where people can just learn go or even work on their own projects and get some help. I would like therefore to explain first why we @ WWGB are doing what we are doing, and then explain why it may/ may not be suitable for OTS.

WWGB workshop format is designed to let our members, who are women that are probably new to go and we have to “sell” go to, work on “real-life” problems (instead of endless tutorials) while being mentored by the hosting company, allowing the hosting company to get to know them better and hopefully even hire them (which is truly our main objective).

I created this format (before even knowing how much fun was going to be) based on my take from my rails girls workshop. My workshop crowd was a group of complete beginners in coding - women who may or may not make a career change, etc. From my experience with them, it was very difficult to keep everyone engaged for a long period of time, when they were all working on different things and completing silly tutorials they were not particularly proud of. After some experiments, it became clear that people keep coming back when they work in a group, and that the more difficult and diverse the challenges are, the better (think crossfit, not tennis).

However, my current experience with designing challenges is that it takes a lot of resources, so while I firmly believe in this approach I still can’t offer any insights as to how to make it scale (for me it still doesn’t no matter how many people I put on it). Also, I’m not entirely sure the community you want to address needs this kind of effort because there may not be any engagement issues to begin with.

If we do go for challenges. I’d suggest we build a pool of things from http://exercism.io/ or any other places, so we don’t have to implement everything on our own.

Cheers!
Ronna


(Ronna) #12

Why do we want to combine them? Lack of space? Lack of members?


(Andreas) #13

I’m fine with combining Go and Python colearning but we have to think about the room. The last few times, we only had the table and sofa on co.up’s 5th floor which sometimes was barely enough for the Python learners. Maybe we could swap with the Ruby group since the 3rd floor has more space?

Regarding the challenges: the Python group is quite diverse with total beginners as well as people interested in data, or web or dev ops. It might be a quite a challenge to find a challenge that is suitable for most of the group. But I’d like to give it a shot. Could be very interesting to compare the solutions from differend languages.


(Haiko Schol) #14

@andreas Right, attendance at the Python colearning is pretty unpredictable and we could easily run out of space. It hadn’t occured to me that the Python learners might also do the challenges, but of course why not. It could indeed be interesting to compare results across languages, maybe take an example solution from each group and explain/discuss them afterwards. However that would change the format of the meetup quite a bit.

@ronna-s The reason to combine them is lack of organizers/coaches for the Go colearning. When I was the only organizer, it had to be cancelled quite often. That doesn’t help at all with getting a group of regular attendees. We almost never have to cancel the Python colearning.

Thanks for explaining your approach with WWGB. I agree that tutorials are not ideal, but they can be useful as a starting point or to try out a few different languages/frameworks/etc before settling on one. I understand that this is not your goal with WWGB, but it fits with OTS’ mostly technology agnostic stance.

In the interest of moving this forward, I propose the following: We create a Meetup event for the Go colearning together with the Python group. Maybe limit the number of attendees to 10 for a start. During the intro round we can mention the coding challenges on exercism.io and cyber-dojo.org. If there is interest we can gather a group to work on them, but otherwise I’d say we leave the format unchanged for now.

@ronna-s @Natalie Maybe after I created the event, you can message the members of your group to let them know about it, or announce it at your next event.


(Martin Anselm Meyerhoff) #15

@haiko Consider that we won’t have Co-Ups fifth floor in a short while, as they’re restricting the community space to only the third floor. The Ruby Co-Learning doesn’t have anywhere to go right now, and we could probably fit Python and Ruby into the same room, but having Go there as well might be too much…


(Alvaro Alonso) #16

I totally agree with Chiara. Comming up with an assignment every two weeks its a hell of challenge.

But I love the idea of joining forces :slight_smile:


(Natalie) #17

Haiko (can’t tag you) - the formet we discussed was different, and I am not sure I understand the proposed one correctly. From what I gathered it’s:

  • 10 people meeting every other week at Mozilla
  • during the meeting each attendee solves one challenge from a TBD pool of exercises
  • the language they use can be Go/Python

My questions:

  • will there be coaches to answer questions?
  • where will the coaches come from?
  • will there be learning material?
  • what are the attendee requirements (knowledge/gender/anything else)?
  • what else am I missing?

Also, for a challenges we can re-use GoChallenge. It stopped being active about a year ago, so it’s not likely that people starting this now took the challenges in the past.


(Haiko Schol) #18

@Natalie Apologies for my crappy memory; What was the format we discussed? IIRC I described the format of our colearning groups and proposed that WTMB participants can join them to continue working on the WTMB course material. The whole challenge stuff is a distraction. We can mention that they exist and we can help people find and solve them, but it’s completely optional.

The location of the Python and Ruby colearning groups is co-up and the idea was to use the same time and place for a restarted Go colearning group. But since @mamhoff mentioned we won’t have the fifth floor, that is off the table and we need to find another location. Mozilla would be nice and that was the plan initially, but since their space wasn’t ready back then I had to find another space. The one I found is https://x-hain.de/. I emailed them that we’d pause the Go colearning, but I just noticed it is still on their calendar. Meaning the slot we had is still available: every first and third Tuesday of the month. If that slot does not conflict with WWGB or WTMB Go meetups, I propose we use it.

Regarding your questions:

  • Yes, there will be coaches. That is the entire value proposition of the OTS colearning groups.
  • @belimawr, me, maybe @ronna-s, maybe you
  • Yes, we will have material to suggest to participants that don’t already have something to work on (mostly the challenges mentioned above I guess).
  • There are no attendee requirements.
  • nothing

(Natalie) #19

So if I understand correct:
it will be a few dedicated hours a week where a group of 10 people will work on either their ongoing project or a weekly task, it has to be either Go or Python. There will be no teaching. The 10 people are not always the same every week, there will be just a cap of 10 at the door.


(Haiko Schol) #20

Almost. :slight_smile: Sorry that this is confusing. The discussion went all over the place.

Executive summary: I propose to have the Go colearning group every first and third Tuesday of the month. Does this schedule work for the attendees of your meetup (same question for @ronna-s)?

Here’s all the distracting details:

Originally the idea was to combine the Go colearning group with the Python colearning group. That’s where the “use Go or Python” came from. Because we have limited space, I suggested we limit the number of attendees to 10. But then @mamhoff pointed out, that in the future we will have less space for the Python colearning group. Due to this, I think it does not make sense to have the Go colearning group together with the Python one.
Instead, I suggested to use the space that we originally used for the Go colearning group, which is the makerspace xHain. It is not very large, so limiting the number of attendees to 10 still makes sense. But having too many people was never a problem at the Go colearning group (which is one of the reasons I stopped doing it). Our experience with the other colearning groups is that we have some regulars and always some people who are there for the first time.

Again, sorry for all the confusion. There were just too many subtopics and new information I guess.