[Texas] [dfwPython] opinions of the Teach-In approach

Brad Allen bradallen137 at gmail.com
Wed Aug 18 19:44:28 CEST 2010

On Wed, Aug 18, 2010 at 12:17 PM, Jeremy Dunck <jdunck at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Wed, Aug 18, 2010 at 11:13 AM, Brad Allen <bradallen137 at gmail.com> wrote:
> ...
>> skilled Python community members would be generous enough to donate
>> two hours of their time at PyTexas helping newbies get started.
> I spent some time yesterday reviewing Carl's Ripley text.

Wow, thanks. I see that link has been posted on

>  I think as far as syntax goes, it's a solid foundation.  He thinks covering more
> will lead to fatigue; I haven't taught a 101, so have no I don't have
> an informed opinion.  I'd like to think Ripley could be covered in an
> hour, but I think he said it was 2 hours, and it's been a long time
> since I learned to program.

It looks like a fairly practical choice; I think

> I see you've updated the schedule to feature koans; I haven't looked
> at those yet.

Jeff tried those at the DFW Python meeting last Saturday, with two
beginners and one intermediate level Python user. It went over well
and left them in a position to progress further, given the large
number of exercises available.

I'd like to suggest that we plan the after lunch lab exercises to be
"More fun with Python Koans", by which time the students should be
able to operate without a lot of tutor assistance. We can ask one or
two volunteers to stay in that room in case students get stuck and
need help.

>> Is that too presumptous on my part? I'd like to hear some community
>> feedback. Please feel free to respond to this thread with your
>> opinions, or email me directly.
> I'm happy to do it, though I think 1-on-1 is not a useful goal.  I
> imagine some peer instruction and some floating would be effective and
> easier to achieve.

Sure; I just want to make sure every beginner gets a chance to
socialize with experienced Python developers, ask questions about
specific uncertainties, get help installing Python and the tutorials
exercises such as Python Koans.

Right, those tutors who feel they can handle more than one learner can
feel free to help out more than one; we just want to make sure all the
beginners each get adequate attention to help them feel comfortable
working with Python.

>> P.S. We have currently have six beginners registered for the Teach-In,
>> and four tutor volunteers. When university students find out about
>> PyTexas next week, via their professors and flyers around the
>> campuses, I expect those beginner numbers to rise.
> I had considered offering to lead a 101 lecture class, but liked the
> idea of peer instruction.  If the numbers stay low, it should be fine.
>  I think the ideas we discussed before, with ribbons and teachers
> wearing ribbons indicating which topics they can teach would be a good
> way to scale beyond 1-1.

Either ribbons or an alternate colored badge.

> I know time is short; I'm coming and plan to be one of the Teach-in
> teachers, but will try to manage a more standard 101 class if there's
> a pinch.

Thanks; it's great to have a fallback plan if we get inundated with
dozens of Baylor students at the last minute.

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