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Priorities - A: high, B: medium, C: low; Status - _: unfinished, X: finished, C: cancelled, P: pending, o: in progress, >: delegated. Covey quadrants - Q1 & Q3: urgent, Q1 & Q2: important
A1XRoughly organize planner.el with allout {{Tasks:277}} (PlannerModeCompletedTasks)
A2XCheck if planner links from day notes also works {{Tasks:276}} (2003.12.18#4)
A3XTest if planner annotation from notes works {{Tasks:274}} (PlannerModeCompletedTasks)
A4XCreate string-processing exercises for phones {{Tasks:271}} (Teaching.Perl)
A5XCreate more basic exercises {{Tasks:270}} (Teaching.Perl)

5. Dominique won! =) : 22:09

Categories: ChessGames#6 -- Permalink
Very delicate and dangerous endgame. He outwitted me with a clever maneuver. Way cool!

Chess is catharsis. After tension, relaxation. =)

4. Thomas Gehrlein wants planner annotation from notes : 11:15

Categories: PlannerMode#18 -- Permalink
So I guess people use that feature after all... =)


3. The class is practically running itself : 10:55

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

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...)

2. Proxy problems : 08:34

Categories: Teaching.Perl#6 -- Permalink
Fujitsu's not letting my MSI download. I should have grabbed it at home. Tomorrow, then - just to show them that it _can_ be done... =)

1. Thoughts on training : 08:34

Yesterday was my first day of corporate training. It was surprisingly draining. On my feet almost the entire day, facing the same crowd, waiting for their questions... After the training, I was so zoned out! Fortunately, it was just a short walk to Powerbooks in Greenbelt. To top it all off, I discovered a chocolate bar quite near there!

The trainees are remarkably independent, preferring to work on the exercises on their own or in small, informal groups instead of listening to me explain the solution. My role is more of a facilitator. I point them to the documentation. I also walk back and forth looking for people who are stuck at a problem or are faced with a trivial bug they can't find and fix, and I give them small hints.

For this group, it seems very important to gain mastery of the basics first - so we'll stick with the promised coverage and we'll have plenty of exercises. That works out for them because they'll have time to gain confidence. That works out for the training company as well because they'll have an opportunity to do Advanced Perl Scripting.

It was a very good thing that I'm used to this style of teaching - embedding lessons in exercises that build on each other and involve several concepts. If I expected to lecture, I'd have been dead on the first day! With that in mind, I had a lot of fun preparing more exercises for them. I worked until one in the morning. A phonebook at my side, I came up with all sorts of phone-related exercises. I hope they take it well; they might just be sick and tired of anything that looks like work after all!

I met Dominique yesterday and we swapped notes on training. From what little I know of it, I rather like corporate training. It gives me a chance to spread the good news of UNIX. ;) That said, I like school teaching, too. Maybe I can do part-time teaching and part-time training in the future.

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Page: 2003.12.18
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