We modified the daily structure a bit this quarter.
We now do 15 minutes of meditation at 7am, followed by 15 minutes of pranayama at 7:15 and 45 minutes of Yoga asana at 8:30. We often follow this with a swim in the pool. The battery charger for the quadcopter blew up so quadcopter lessons are on hold until I can get that replaced.
The morning academic session still starts at 10am. We generally start with either a lightening talk about some new technology, something going on in industry. We’ve expanded what people do during the academic session. In addition to taking online classes, people also do ‘small learning projects’, and run workshops.
The purpose of small projects is to help people get practical experience using some new technology on in a project. One complaint about many of the MOOCs is that it takes too long for people to start ‘doing’ something. Small projects deal with this and create artifacts in people’s GitHub repository that represents their learning to others.
Workshops are generally conducted by senior students or me. We have enough senior students now that we can cover core subjects this way. It helps junior students catch up quickly on topics they really need, and helps the senior students understand the material better by teaching it.
Last quarter I picked the two projects we worked on and randomly assigned students to one of those two. This quarter we spent the last week talking about ideas and finally honed in on 5 projects that we’ll work on. The average team size is 5 (compared with 8 last quarter). This quarter teams will be a bit more autonomous running their own standup meetings every day, having mentor sessions once a week, and doing demos every two weeks.
The mentor sessions will mainly be a click-thru and code review. Teams will generate GitHub issues from this feedback, and we’ll use GitHub issues to guide daily development targets.
We’ll get live servers going for each of the projects starting with the first demo, so we can get experience with the build process handling development, staging and production environments.
I’m really happy with the way the first quarter went. There is still much to learn, but well into the fourth month of the program I feel validated that the basic structure of the program is effective and that everyone participating in the program will come out the far side a professional web developer.