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RE: [dsdp-pmc] Tutorials at Eclipse Con

I completely agree

"Oberhuber, Martin" <Martin.Oberhuber@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent by: dsdp-pmc-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxx

08/11/2006 02:13 AM

Please respond to
DSDP PMC list <dsdp-pmc@xxxxxxxxxxx>

"DSDP PMC list" <dsdp-pmc@xxxxxxxxxxx>
RE: [dsdp-pmc] Tutorials at Eclipse Con

Hi Doug,
I do not like the idea of a "just talking" VLT.
I think that from whatever people go to on the "tutorial day", they should have something
to take home with them. In other words, even if it's a short (2 hour) tutorial, people should
be able to pick up an example project as well as setup instructions, that allows them to
experiment with the stuff on their own (in their freetime at EclipseCon, or later at home).
IMHO it's not so important to do the actual hands-on exercises right in class, but to get
help getting started with setup and an initial project.
I agree that this hasn't been very effective last year, mostly because speakers typically
distributed their examples in last minute. Having an USB stick handed out in class
worked OK, but it typically took half an hour or so until everybody had the examples
on their laptops, and even longer until things were really set up. So I think the key part
in making tutorials more productive, will be to ask speakers prepare their material
well in advance and encourage participants to download examples BEFORE they
enter the tutorial.
When this is done, I think that
  * A 2-hour tutorial (aka VLT) would be sufficient to get participants set up with their
    example projects, and walk through the examples together. In other words, people
    would not write code on their own, but watch the presenters write or explain the
    examples. They would typically not have time to do their own local experiments.
    In practice, last year several 4-hour tutorials were set up like this [but too long
    for such a sort of "interactive presentation".
    A 2-hour tutorial should have one 15-minute break in the middle, in which people
    can either get some refreshment or ask presenters for help setting up their
    workspaces. The ultimate goal of a 2-hour tutorial would be that people get
    some feeling for the technology, and (if they want) get a workspace set up
  * A 4-hour tutorial should follow the same basic outline as a 2-hour tutorial but have
    3 15-minute breaks for setup help, asking questions or getting refreshment. It would
    allow to cover more technical aspects and details, optionally allow participants to
    do a little bit of coding their own (this worked truly well in the EMF workshop last
    The goal of a 4-hour tutorial would be that people get a workspace set up,
    and understand the core APIs of some technology.
  * In a full day workshop, I think the goal should be that participants not only get
    set up, but get some help specific to their particular needs. In other words, they
    should be able to do some coding their own; they should be able to ask questions
    regarding their needs in their current project. They should be able to experiment
    with examples and try their own side-tracks (assisted by the presenters). I guess
    that whoever goes to a Hands-on Workshop should acutally use what they have
    learned in their daily work later on.
    Note that according to this description, a Hands-on Workshop would actually make
    sense for plain beginners or users too (not only add-in providers), explaining JDT or
    PDE features from a user's perspective ... perhaps a hands-on workshop / beginners
    class for plugin writers would really be well received.
    The goal of a HOW would be that people get everything they need to use the
    technology themselves in their own projects.
The main background of these thoughts is that the core value of a tutorial is to get
started with something. After this initial hurdle is taken, it's always much easier to
explore the help system etc.
The difference between a tutorial and a long talk would still be that the tutorial digs
into the technology and allows people to actually use it, while the talk would be
more of a presentation. Therefore, I'd still call the 2-hour thing tutorial rather than
Martin Oberhuber
Target Management Project Lead, DSDP PMC Member

From: dsdp-pmc-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:dsdp-pmc-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Gaff, Doug
Thursday, August 10, 2006 10:34 PM
[dsdp-pmc] Tutorials at Eclipse Con

Here’s the email thread that I talked about on today’s PMC call.
In summary, tutorials become:
Very Long Talks (2 Hours; 3 per day)
Hands On Workshops (all day; 1 per day)
So DSDP can have 3 VLT’s or 1 HOW.
From our discussion today, I think we agreed that VLT’s would suit the projects better.
From: [] On Behalf Of Gaff, Doug
Thursday, July 27, 2006 4:12 PM
Richard Gronback; Bjorn Freeman-Benson
John Graham; Scott Rosenbaum;
[] RE: Suggestion for tutorials

The conversion is as follows:  2 tutorials = 3 VLT’s or 1 HOW
I think each track lead should survey the projects that fall into their track to figure out what would suit them better.
From: Richard Gronback [mailto:richard.gronback@xxxxxxxxxxx]
Thursday, July 27, 2006 1:22 PM
Bjorn Freeman-Benson
Gaff, Doug;; Ed Merks; Scott Rosenbaum; Tim Wagner; John Graham
Re: Suggestion for tutorials

I like the explicit distinction between hands-on and “just talking” with this approach, which is as important to the presenters as it is the attendees when selecting.

I also think it fits well with the concept of multi-project/track mash-ups, as they would require longer talks and/or day-long tutorials to do well.  If we’re going to do this, we’ll need to adjust our current allocations to make room. Volunteers?

Who else is in favor of this approach, and which tracks would like to divide their tutorial allocation along these lines?  Attached is an updated spreadsheet.


On 7/27/06 11:49 AM, "Bjorn Freeman-Benson" <
bjorn.freeman-benson@xxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
There are no logistics constraints on tutorial length.

The hands-on tutorials have not been a big success at EclipseCon in the past few years for a few reasons: (1) some people don't have laptops (I can't imagine why you would go to a hands-on tutorial without a laptop, but there it is); (2) the exercises tend to be too hard to do in a short time (basically, it's very hard to design small informative coding lessons against the huge Eclipse APIs); (3) many of the attendees are at the wrong knowledge level to do the exercises effectively. (Note that there have been successful hands-on tutorials so these are not 100%.)

So I like this idea. In fact, maybe we should change the tutorials to two kinds: Very Long Talks (2 Hours; 3 per day) and Hands On Workshops (all day; 1 per day). The HOW could then be smaller and have sufficient time to really do a programming exercise. The HOW would be sort of a plug-in clinic about one specific topic.

Richard Gronback wrote:

Re: Suggestion for tutorials Hi Doug,

I don’t think it’s a bad idea, although I personally feel tutorials should be hands-on and not just a long(er) talk.  In reality, not all who attend tutorials come prepared to actually do hands-on activities, which is unfortunate.

>From last year’s feedback (, <,> it’s not quite clear what the general consensus is, so I’d be interested in hearing feedback from others on this as well.  I’m sure there are some logistical aspects Bjorn can enlighten us about.


Richard C. Gronback
Borland Software Corporation

+1 860 227 9215
dsdp-pmc mailing list

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