Workshops/Arduino for beginners/Debriefing

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What was good ?

Nobody got rushed out - they felt comfortable enough to hang around and finish what they were doing.

What was bad ?

2 x Arduino's going pop due to high voltage on PSU's. I have already stopped using these in the kits and requested a refund from the supplier. I have sourced a regulated 9v PSU for future. They are more expensive but better that than the boards popping. Mike.

Update on the above. The supplier have tested a few random ones from their own stock and confirmed they are all giving 15 volts. I have been promised a refund and I shall use it to purchase regulated 9v supplies. Mike.

The "door debacle". This is unlikely to happen once fixed, but it would be a good idea for at least one person to get hold of a door key when running workshops. Mark

Projection screen too small and not well positioned. Mark has bought a huge motorised one on ebay which should solve this long-standing problem. Artag.

What was ugly ?

Tidy and clean up the day before!! Seriously, the place was minging. I'm sure it created a poor impression for the visitors. The area where people were to eat and make drinks was barely fit for purpose. Also the toilets were gross. Suggest a good clean and tidy up the night before. Mike.

More generally, as regards the toilets (and to some extent the kitchen area) I really think it might be worth hiring cleaners for a couple of hours every week to do this. I appreciate we need to clean up after ourselves and I do when I'm there, but are people really going to volunteer to clean the toilets? Presumably other tenants have cleaners and I don't think this will cost very much. Andy
Kitchen area was a serious problem - Clare had to do some food prep on the sofas and there was very little space to lay stuff out. The wiring for the dishwasher is pretty crazy. Fortunately there are already plans to build a better kitchen area but we should think about a) do this before holding another workshop and b) design the counter as a food serving area as well as food prep. Also check the food hygiene regulations - make sure it's actually possible to follow them. Artag
I did actually attempt to clean the toilets before we started. Not much improvement, I admit, but they were worse previously! I should have mopped the floors and the pipework, but the biggest problem is the seats - I only had bleach and a loo brush to clean them with. Cleaning the seat in the south toilet just caused more MDF to crumble away. Replacement. Also need towel hooks by the sinks and a replacement for the toilet roll holder in the north cubicle. Artag

On the topic of food, it might be good to delegate to a few people to lighten the load. Better to have too much food than the risk of too little. Mark

Would we do it again ?

I think definitely. You'd be mad not to. It is a good source of revenue for LHS. There is a demand for these kind of courses out there. If the course is good enough then word of mouth will be enough PR to get more people in. Mike.

It's good value and profitable because a lot of people gave their time for free and we have no venue overheads. But for me at least, it was enjoyable and I'd happily volunteer again. Artag.

Agreed. I'm happy to help out for any future workshops. Mike.

Suggestions?

Explain electronic components as you go along. I was having lots of questions about basic components and what they did. Need to explain this in each project as you use them. Most people in the course seemed to already know how to code and had come along to learn about electronics. Mike.

Find out at the start of the course who has experience in programming and who in electronics. Will give you a better understand how to tailor the course content. Mike.

Stop after each project for a walk around to allow time to answer questions. Don't presume everyone knows how to code or what electronic components are for or how they work. Mike.

I hear two people didn't turn up on day two. Would be an idea to find out WHO they were and contact them to try and find out why. Mike.

We should have a one day electronics workshop and perhaps a one day programming workshop before each arduino workshop. People could use these to come up to speed.

Questions for attendee questionnaire...

  • How likely are you to recommend this course to others
  • Did you complete the project you started ? If not, what stopped you ?
  • How could the course be improved ?
  • Was there anything you were unhappy about ?
  • Did you think the course was good value for money?