Lessons Learned - 2009

Here are some things the committee discussed after the Drupal Clinic -- notes for next time and lessons learned.

Planning email list
We set up a group on groups.google.com so we could have an email list for planning. That also allowed us to share documents, and worked really well. The task list spreadsheet (see attachment on Notes and Resources page) helped us keep organized.
Format
Generally the format was good: having multi-site with prepared sandboxes and detailed instructions.
Volunteers
It worked out well to have volunteers at 5-to-1 ratio.
Handouts
Handouts of the step-by-step procedures would have been useful - for attendees and volunteers (to help people catch up who were behind). Could point people to the web site and advise them to print out ahead of time, and/or bring paper copies.
Curriculum
It was OK, but the views example should be simpler -- calendars are fairly complex.
At the end, cover how to install from FTP -- people felt lost when they went to do this on their own sites afterwards
Small group time
The small group time at the end of the workshop didn't really work out all that well. People either had way too complex questions, or didn't know what they might want to work on. It would be better either to have a few set topics to break out into small groups on, or just to continue with the large group format.
Better WiFi
The WiFi at the location we used was not up to the task of serving 50 people at once. Perhaps a public library meeting room would be better?
Better hosting
The multi-site hosting was set up on an ordinary shared hosting account, and didn't seem up to the challenge of having so many people install Drupal at the same time. But it could have been the WiFi? A different possibility would be to have students set up accounts on a service like http://webenabled.com (trial accounts there are currently free, and they can do a one-click install of Acquia Drupal, which would have all necessary modules for a workshop like this).
Registration
We used EventBrite for the registration, which went pretty well. We set up "tickets" for attendees, waiting list, and volunteers. One note for next time: Once the waiting list kicks in, be sure to disable the regular attendee tickets, because if someone is cancelled, regular tickets could become available again! Also, plan on 30% no-show rate or so for a free event. It might be better to charge a small amount (like $20) so people wouldn't just register to hold a spot they won't be able to fill. Next time, we might consider using brownpapertickets.com instead, especially if we are charging for tickets.
Less food
We didn't realize that about 30% of the people who signed up would fail to show up. We also planned on too many donuts per person (probably an average of 1 to 1.5 per person would be enough).
Survey
Have an end-of-class survey available ahead of time, so people can fill it out before they leave. Either on-line (Drupal contrib module WebForms is good), or paper.