[OSCTC-planning] schools to contact for this fall

Mallory Lim Chua chuam at purdue.edu
Sat Jul 12 16:22:53 UTC 2014


> I think you should contact all of them, and if you get too many then 
> let them know you have a backlog and see if they want to do something
> in the spring.

I agree with this. Since you're not promising services to everyone who inquires, having too much interest is a *great* problem to have. If you're really worried about this, put a sentence in the email to the effect of "we'd like to do as many as we can, so help us fill our list -- if we have more volume than we can handle, we'll figure out a way to get to you, even if it has to be later!"

On that note, use snowball recruitment, too -- ask schools/people to recommend other places they think might be interested, encourage them to forward your email, etc. If you're particularly interested in specific aspects of diversity (and it sounds like you are), put that ask in the email as well (basically, give your potential-locations the same "help me find places!" ask you're giving us on this list right now).

> How well does it work to run simultaneous events?

In my experience, if it's:

1) One event that happens to be occurring in two places at once -- works well, but is REALLY hard to do right, takes a ton of planning, and extraordinary communication between members of the teaching team (and they are on the same teaching team, just at separate places). Schedule flexibility drops dramatically, because when you need to sync with a remote location you can no longer say "this is an interesting discussion, we can massage the schedule and delay the next activity a bit" because the other location's waiting for you to do that activity in 30 minutes. When you think you're doing one event that happens in two places, 90% of the time you're really doing #2, simultaneous-but-partially-linked events. Because of the diminished flexibility and logistical complexity, this is probably not what you want.

2) Simultaneous events that are partially linked (separate teaching teams, but shared chatroom, remote activities that deliberately pair people from each location, etc) -- often go poorly, UNLESS the events are deliberately designed to be coordinated and a *lot* of effort is put into making sure they sync up in expected ways and at expected times. Again, cost-benefit-ratio-wise, probably not what you want.

3) Events that are completely separate (no interaction, no shared teaching/planning team, etc) but just happen to be going on at the same time -- fine, as long as you acknowledge that's the case and treat any cross-event coordination efficiency as a total bonus. If you need simultaneous events, I'd recommend this version -- think https://webmaker.makes.org/thimble/host-a-hackjam as a model. However...

> I don't know if there is a large enough pool of volunteers with experience to run things at the same time.

...#3 relies on teaching teams being independent enough to run -- well, independently. Either because they're doing something super-simple, because you have really well-scaffolded materials, or because you have super-skilled teachers (super-skilled relative to the complexity of the teaching tasks they're doing, so that they can handle any contingencies that pop up on their own). This isn't bad -- it's actually really easy if you just scope the teaching tasks to be simple, and provide the necessary resources -- but it takes deliberate planning.

--Mel


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