Training the trainers

Accepted Session
Long Form
Scheduled: Wednesday, June 19, 2013 from 10:00 – 11:45am in B304


This long session is a tutorial, with exercises, on how to run welcoming, effective outreach events targeted at bringing newcomers into your communities.


OpenHatch’s Open Source Comes to Campus event series has taught more than a hundred people how to get involved in free and open source software. Between these and other affiliated events including Railsbridge Boston and the Chicago Python Workshop, our community has learned a lot about how to create events with effective mentorship.

In this tutorial, we will work together through lecture and hands-on exercises.

First, we discuss together the motivation behind newcomer-oriented events in the first place, with concrete examples from OpenHatch-affiliated events.

  • Setting outreach goals
  • Making them measurable
  • Finding existing communities to work with (including the story of the Boston Python Workshop)

We discuss how Open Source Comes to Campus’ approach to mentorship has changed over the >2 years the program has been running.

We then demonstrate a handful of ways, with varying effectiveness, of identifying students at a newcomer-oriented workshop that may not be getting the most out of the workshop. You’ll see how to identify those that need help, and even practice interrupting a demonstration attendee to get them the help they are not yet asking for!

We will provide you a tour of a sample laptop setup guide, explain we write ours the way we do, and demonstrate what kinds of problems students typically face.

Finally, attendees train using the mentor guide for Open Source Comes to Campus. This enables them to, after the conference, run these events in their home cities.

Moreover, it enables them to reflect on the OpenHatch model. Open Source Comes to Campus is used here as an example, we open up the floor to active creation where attendees discuss with each other (and event organizers) how to apply these principles to their own efforts.

We hope that the event leads to a thousand outreach events blooming, and that those events choose to become affiliated with OpenHatch!

(Also: co-presenters welcome! We’ll need you, as TAs, as inspiration, and as curriculum review for this event, and as so much more!!)

Speaking experience

I've presented at PyCon 2011 and PyCon 2012 about successful efforts to improve open source communities, including work I started in Debian to improve package review, and also on successful gender diversity outreach strategies for programming user groups. As discussed above, my interest in quantitative community management comes from my active participation in open source communities and my work in open source outreach.

To get a sense of my presentation style, I recommend these links:



I've also presented at OSCON 2008, OSCON 2010, OSCON 2012, a few US-based Linux and tech user groups.