[hackerspaces] How To Teach a Hackerspace Class?

David Powell davepow16 at gmail.com
Mon Dec 10 22:08:19 CET 2012

To date we have only held a small handful of classes but we want to change

We promoted a class for the Netduino and I happen to know one of the
creators of the Netduino, Chris Walker and I arranged for him to come help
teach the class. We made LED cubes which stuck right into the Neduino
headers. All we wanted to charge was the price of the materials. Our goal
was simply to get new people in our door.

We planned a month ahead and about 1 week before the class was scheduled we
did not have anyone sign up. Chris Walker then offered to pay for all the
materials and make the class free. As soon as we announced that we were
giving away Free Netduinos the class was full.

So now we have this problem where we are trying to figure out what happened
years later. Is it that nerds are notoriously cheap? Had we had a better
topic would people have been more willing to pay for the materials? The
problem stopped us in our  tracks and we have not had a serious class
offering since. We have only had a guest speaker or two for our existing
members but we never bothered to organize another class.

In the past 4 months we have had about 50 potential new members come by our
space on our Open Hack night and we have found that the majority of the
people are looking for a more structured organization. They come and expect
to learn something. So we are currently tossing around the idea of smaller
group study sessions on specific topics. Instead of hosting an event where
we will teach a large group of people everything we can about electronics
in 4 hours we are going to try to teach a small group of people ohm's law
in 2 hours one week and how transistors work the next week. Our goal here
is to bring our current members up to speed so they can help new members.
At the same time we hope new members will walk in and see a more structured
environment and hopefully they will want to come back and sign up as a dues
paying member.
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