[kwlug-disc] New user breakout sessions

Michael Savage msavageca at yahoo.ca
Wed May 5 20:02:34 EDT 2010

I've been following with interest this discussion. In summary,two main issues seem to fall out. We want to provide a "newbie" time that doesn't impact on the main meeting and, if the topic for that night is too specific/simple, some of us won't attend anyways, as it is not interesting to us. This is not good for membership. So, let me chime in with a couple of suggestions to help with each issue.

Newbie time ideas/topics could be culled from a list of newbie questions. At the meeting gathering time, prior to the formal portion of the show, have a place where a newbie can write their questions down. Then from that list topics will appear. If a specific topic appears often, then we run with that. Using the break to flesh out the requirements of the question(s) would not only help the newbie decide if it is worth pursuing, but we could work out the best person to answer the question. I've seen this done in some chuches, where prior to the service, as people are arriving there is a place wher you can list prayer requests. The items listed are collected prior to the service and added to the list of prayers of the people. (Sorry, but this is only example I can think of the general gist of the idea.)

If we have a separate place for newbie answer session, and there was interested in pursuing the questios raised in more detail, the time after the break would be the best place for this. I've only attended a few meetings, so I'm no expert, but the flow seems to be LUG business, presentation, break, mostly Q&A about presentation afterbreak. 

So to me the logical structure would be:
1. Gathering time, where any newbies who might have specific questions can record them to be answered. 
2. LUG business where the list of newbie questions would be listed, so the others could think about who could answer them the best, or who wants to. 
3. Presentation as per now.
4. Break, where the newbies and people who figure they could answer the questions could mingle. This has the added advantage of mixing people. Left alone, we tend to keep in our comfortable groups.
5. If the newbie questions require more detailed answers than the break would provide, we move the newbies into a new room/area. Thus their issues can be raised, and hopefully resolved.
The rest of the group can move to the Q&A.

One of the neat things that could come out of this: in Item 3: We could move the newbies off to a separate room right away, if a member would take them. This would happen as
I might come to meetings that would not interest me, if I could spend my time helping someone new. i.e. if I didn't like the topic, I would still support the group by helping the newbies. Sort of a newbie group and an advanced group could happen in the same time, if we can get separate rooms. None of these items mean any more work on anyone's part beyond, we have newbies, and volunteers who can answer the question.

Again, these are just ideas for discussion. I as a relative newbie, to linux, would find this kind of structure useful. This would allow us to mentor some people and grow our group, if that is our wish. As all of us know, software is software is software. What you learn about one piece works with another. Even if the menus are not the same, what they try to do is the same. A good example is open office. An excellent alternative to MS products. But without the knowledge of the product, people get hung up on the interface, not the implementation. 

Another side effect of this idea, is we would get a list for a FAQ for newbies, and this might even grow into topics for the general group. As per the introverts, I submit to you, that most of the "true" introverts don't attend. Moving the questions to a list anonymously would help make a "introvert newbie" feel welcome.


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