Proposals for tutorials at PyCon 2009 are now being accepted through October 31st.
Due to many projects I have going on right now I probably won't be able to propose a tutorial myself but I thought I'd share some thoughts from last year when Feihong Hsu and I presented Secrets of the Framework Creators.
Here's what went well...
- All our materials were available on disk. We had flash drives and CDRs and we actually had to use them because the Internet was very spotty. We didn't really need people to install anything but in case of this you should think of making a folder with everything they need. Or, you could ask Titus about his grand plan to run a server at the hotel for easy_install to use.
- Every concept was documented and laid out in a logical structure for attendees to follow during or after the tutorial (see link above). This was mostly Feihong's doing and I didn't think it would be so crucial to success but it was. We had several people comment afterwards that it was the most organized tutorial they had attended. Also, this format enables people to go more in-depth after the tutorial is over.
- We finished ahead of schedule. This was probably just luck but we did make an effort to time out what it would take us to complete the tutorial. We also were conscious during discussions to keep things moving along. In fact, we were so worried about running over time that we only focused on a small sampling of what we had planned for the tutorial. Since we finished early we then held a vote for what sections to go back into. By the end we had gotten through all but one or two sections (IIRC).
- One person demo'd code, the other talked. This is a typical format and I think it works well. It took some practice to get right though. When two people do this it takes pressure off the one demoing and allows the speaker to think about what the audience needs to know, thus providing a good overview of what's happening.
- We took breaks on time. Breaks are important! It's also important to follow the schedule so that everyone gets a cookie.
Here's what could have gone better...
- We should have burned more CDRs! Have at least 20 CDRs on hand with the materials, the more the better.
- The video didn't turn out too well. I only glanced at the video footage but I think it would be hard to follow as a standalone tutorial. Mainly this was because the audio was recorded poorly. We also only had one mic to share between the both of us so there were a few non-sensical soundbites. We mentioned this to the committee afterwards so hopefully it will be addressed next year.
- Not everyone reads your "prerequisites." We actually planned for this and allowed for some voting like "who here is not familiar with pdb?" Then we did a quick intro on it. All in all I think we were lucky — no one seemed to get stuck — but we probably could have planned for more of those mini-intros if needed.
It was fun. Plus, you get paid!! :) I'd highly recommend giving a tutorial of your own. There's even a page on ideas for tutorials if you can't think of one.