The class is practically running itself

It’s amazing. The class is practically running itself. The time I put
into making those exercises was definitely worth it. They’re off
solving them or making up their own exercises. With documentation,
time to explore the system, and the freedom to make mistakes and ask
questions, the trainees learn almost entirely on their own.

When they do have questions, they tend to ask each other first before
asking me. I handle the questions they can’t figure out from the text
and clarify things that are fuzzy.

It’s really amazing. I hope they’ll leave the training confident that
they can learn whatever else they need to – considering they learned
Perl nearly on their own! Because I’m more into getting lots of people
do Perl, I’m not worried about long-term profitability. After all,
what training center would do well if they kept encouraging students
to learn independently?

That said, it was a lot of work preparing the exercises, and I can’t
count the number of times quick thinking and familiarity with UNIX
made things easier. For example,

wget -r -nc --no-parent --proxy-user=secret --proxy-pass=secret http://www.perldoc.com/perl5.6/pod/perl.html

and judicious use of ncftp’s mput command (skipping the
already-uploaded files) allowed me to easily make Perl’s documentation
available even though the server didn’t have anything but perl(1).
Better than manpages, actually, as these were hyperlinked! =)

tar zcvf day2.tar.gz /usr/local/training/home/

will allow me to pack up all their work so that I can use my Emacs
keyboard macro to send it to their listed e-mail addresses. (I should
get around to making that a defun…)