[hackerspaces] How To Teach a Hackerspace Class?

Doug Philips doug at hackpittsburgh.org
Wed Nov 14 18:31:31 CET 2012

On 11/14/12 12:08 PM, Michael Zeltner wrote:
> Excerpts from Jerry Isdale's message of 2012-11-14 09:32:52 +0100:
>> Hackerspaces quite often have classes, right?
> I'd say sharing not only infrastructure but also educating each other is one of
> the pillars of interaction at spaces ...

Agreed. This year at HackPittsburgh we'll have done 12 classes (we were 
shooting for one/month, and by end of year we'll have averaged that). 
Three of the classes haven't happened yet, but are advertised and up for 
ticket sales so they will be happening.

>> sometimes these are for members only, but many spaces teach public classes as
>> a revenue stream (and to build community).

All of our classes are open to anyone who can satisfy the prerequisites. 
We charge to cover cost of materials (and food, if provided) and a 
little bit more; members get a discount so they're paying for cost of 
materials only.

> Just to put it out there as well: there are spaces which have a no-charge
> policy. Whatever happens at Metalab is free, including "renting" a room for
> the meeting, whatever that may be for (Esperanto class, soldering workshop,
> counter-lobbying organisation meeting ...)

We also open our space for outside groups to meet, so long as they are 
free and open to the public. For insurance reasons they're restricted to 
use of tables, chairs, internet; no tool use that might cause injury 
(saws, soldering irons, etc). Given that our due structure is 
inexpensive and that we don't have \sugar daddies, we're not in a 
position to offer free classes where there are materials expenses.

We also, sans holidays, have a free and open to the public event every 
Friday night. The event is designed, like our classes, to get folks in 
to see our space and our community, and also to educate members and 
non-members alike. Often our events are put on by members, but other 
times, they're put on by outside folks. We don't pay for these events, 
and if they have materials costs (not usually), we pass the hat or some 
members will chip in before hand.

>> How have you prepared for teaching a class?
>> Have you tried teaching when you were only a bit more advanced than the
>> students?

We don't have any formal process for vetting teachers, and usually 
members are hesitant to step up and volunteer unless they're pretty 
versed in what they're teaching, so that hasn't been much of an issue. 
It's been more the case of convincing them that they do know enough to 

Hope this helps!

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