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  • Josepha 3:11 pm on August 23, 2016 Permalink |  

    Agenda for August 23, 2016 Meeting 

    Thank you to everyone who joined us for our video chat last week. Today we will be back to our regularly scheduled text chat in the #training channel on Slack.

    The Agenda
    1. Welcome!
    2. Lesson Plan Updates (+ new assignments)
    3. Copyediting Updates
    4. Testing Updates
    5. Announcements and Questions!

    This will be the final week to weigh in on these discussions, so take your friends, your opinions, and your friends’ opinions on over and leave a comment!

    Talk to you all in about four hours!

  • Meagan Hanes 9:16 pm on August 22, 2016 Permalink |  

    August 16 Notes 

    Hello Team! These are the illustrated and partially transcribed meeting notes I took, clustered into small topic categories as per the organic discussion we had. Please refer to our recording of the meeting or comment below for elaboration on any of these points.

    Notes of August 16th Meeting, Page 1

    • Audience and Purpose weren’t explicitly clear to all team members – an opportunity exists to craft and communicate our mission statement.
    • Josepha’s dream is to one day move our knowledge base to somewhere like “learn.wordpress.org
    • Making these Lesson Plans (“LP” in the notes) accessible for workshops at WordCamps, and using our site to help promote these, falls in line with our mission to “democratize learning“!

    August 16 Notes Page 2

    • The Tiered Structure we used for the past months of development doesn’t offer the flexibility we need anymore – let’s migrate to clusters of information instead.
    • Indefinite hold on creating LPs for Plugins due to inadvertedly recommending based on qualitative, not quantatative information. Existing LPs are helpful and will be retooled as needed.
    • Instead, we shall resume focus on Theme LPs. Please chime in on #training if you’d like to write a plan.
    • Please read @mindsize‘s post about Developer Courseware and leave a comment during the next few days with your thoughts!
    • Our website needs re-engineering and re-archtecting! Please read @bethsoderberg‘s post about our Website. The main purpose is to separate the Training Community from the LPs and resources we create for wide consumption. As a side note, we do not have a Handbook as other teams do because we have used it to house our knowledgebank – we should strive to get 2 handbooks as a simple solution while we re-architect the site and contemplate a move to learn.wordpress.org.

    Notes of August 16th Meeting, Page 3

    • Micro Discussion about Certifications – Our official position is NO, we do not offer certifications. However, there CAN and SHOULD be a discussion about offering Badges for the various LP clusters and workshops made using these LPs! We may be able to offer these similar to how Make team members get badges on their WordPress.org profile. I encourage someone to start this discussion here!
    • Beth brought up having Quarterly Training for Copyediting. I think that’s great! We could also have a Quarterly Feedback Loop (ideally faster) to ensure we are actioning all of our incoming information (LP feedback, outreach to new members, etc).
    • Quick note regarding our scope: These LPs are not tailored for self learning, they’re created for teachers to give workshops to a number of students. However, self learners are always welcome to leverage this knowledge.
    • Here’s a draft of a Plan of Action:
      • One week to read and comment on our recent blog posts, this one included
      • Then we begin corralling our ideas about the new site architecture, “just like we do for our design clients”, collaboratively deciding how to reshape our site for maximum success
      • Then we coordinate to make this happen – @meaganhanes is happy to help wrangle the admin side of things
      • Throughout this, members can continue to write and copyedit Lesson Plans (Theme LPs, Dev Track LPs) as well as new website content we may need!
  • bethsoderberg 9:39 pm on August 15, 2016 Permalink |  

    Agenda for August 16, 2016 Meeting 

    Hello everyone! We have a very special meeting planned for tomorrow and will be meeting through video chat rather than our usual Slack chats. Details to access the video call will be added to the comments of this post and to the #training channel on Slack prior to the call.

    We will be talking about three main agenda items tomorrow and will put our more typical agenda on hold for the week. Please come with your questions and thoughts as we talk about these big picture topics!

    1. Purpose, direction, & team goals
    2. Workshop plans
    3. Infrastructure plans

    We’re looking forward to seeing (actually seeing!) you all there!

  • bethsoderberg 8:03 pm on August 9, 2016 Permalink |  

    Recap of August 9, 2016 Meeting 

    Slack Log (Requires Slack login to view. Set one up if you don’t have a Slack account)

    NOTE: Next week we will be having a video call for our meeting instead of a chat in Slack. We’ll post the connection details in Slack next week in advance of our meeting time!

    1. Welcome
    2. Lesson Plan Updates
      1. @beckster is working on the WordFence lesson plan
      2. @melindahelt‘s assigned plans could be taken over by others if they have time to do them before WordCamp Pittsburgh (September 17th)
      3. @epetrashen has completed What is Contact Form 7, What is Google XML Sitemap, Custom Post Types and Improving Site Performance
      4. @chanthaboune and @bethsoderberg  took a look at what we have in the pipeline and what folks have been planning to work on, etc. and @chanthaboune suggested a pivot to take a breather on Plugins and look at the Themes for a while for a few reasons:
        • There is still considerable confusion around Plugins that isn’t there for Themes. Themes is fairly straightforward in its current state.
        • A bulk of Themes lessons have folks who are active on the team that are experts on the info in them, so we would all probably feel more at ease working with those.
        • There is an actual deadline coming up for a Theme workshop (November 14-18).
      5. The initial theme workshop we’d identified in the past were:
        • Basic Theme Configuration
        • How to Find Theme-Specific Documentation
        • Font Management
        • Customizer: CSS Changes
        • Customizer: Taglines
        • Customizer: Static Front Page vs. Content Feed
        • Customizer: Site Icons and Logos
        • Customizer: Header and Background Images
        • Customizer: Menus
      6. attendees (@melindahelt, @meaganhanes, @mindsize, @bethsoderberg, @chanthaboune) agreed to move forward with the focus on the intro to themes workshop next. We’ll set Plugins aside for another day folks can choose whether they want to finish out their current lessons or not, but no one should feel bad about leaving it as a Work In Progress for later.
      7. @melindahelt and @bethsoderberg may be able to test this workshop in November.
      8. @mindsize wrote a post on outlining a development set of courses. Please read and comment on it! There was a general feeling in the chat that moving to development lessons after the intro theme workshop could be ideal.
    3. Copyediting Updates
      1. @skarjune is working on copyediting the What is Open Source plan
      2. @c3zh is working on copyediting the What is W3 Total Cache plan
      3. The current list:
        1. Keeping WordPress Sites Secure
        2. custom post types
        3. help regenerate thumbnails
        4. What is Open Source – @skarjune
        5. web fonts
        6. What is W3 Total Cache – @c3zh
        7. Intro to WooCommerce – @mindsize
        8. What is contact form 7
        9. What is Google XML Sitemap
        10. Improving Site performance
      4. @bethsoderberg and @meaganhanes will divvy up the other plans and try to catch up on copyediting throughout this coming week or two.
      5. @bethsoderberg would like to formalize copyediting training and materials after we rework the website structure.
    4. Testing Updates
      1. None this week!
    5. Announcements and Questions
      1. @epetrashen did  stellar job of pulling together that teacher resource outline. It is here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1QavwoLOYYL8tzrFuE-BdgDFt8j9U77R8Ti250k8C1c0/edit. Please comment on the Google Doc or DM @epetrashen with your comments!
      2. @melindahelt will attend WordCamp Columbus, which is expected to have a small contributor day. She’ll work with anyone there who is interested in the Training Team.
      3. Please continue to comment on the post about the user experience of the website!
      4. NOTE: Next week we will be having a video call (using Zoom, which will require a download) for our meeting instead of a chat in Slack. We’ll post the connection details in Slack next week in advance of our meeting time!
  • Zach Stepek 1:16 pm on August 9, 2016 Permalink |  

    Creating Courseware for Developers: Choosing Topics 

    Greetings, Make WordPress Training!

    I’ve been given the amazing opportunity to shepherd the Advanced or, more aptly named, Developer curriculum into existence. I think shepherd is the most fitting term here, because the only way that we’re going to end up with curriculum that hits all the buttons that it needs to is if we have feedback from a number of people in our community. So, we’re asking for your ideas on topics that you think should be covered in a developer-focused training track. The first step is to firmly define what the term developer means, from a training perspective, in the WordPress ecosystem. What skills are needed to classify someone as a developer? What are hiring managers looking for when they hire for a WordPress Developer role? What is the best path one can take to level up their skillset?

    I believe that Developer topics should be divided into three primary categories, though they don’t necessarily need to be presented in this order:

    • Understanding WordPress Internals
    • Developing Custom Themes
    • Developing Custom Plugins

    There are also related topics that I feel need to be addressed in a full curriculum:

    • Understanding User Experience for Developers
    • Writing to WordPress Coding Standards
    • Documenting WordPress Code
    • Understanding GPL as a Creator

    My goal is for these pieces to be modular enough that you can take one module and run it by itself, take a group of predefined modules based on the time you have available to teach, or deliver all of the curriculum in a prescribed order in either postsecondary (higher education) or professional development classrooms, complete with labs and quizzes to test for understanding via the Mastery Learning methodology.

    What do you think should be included? Do you have additional top level categories you think I’ve missed? What modules do you think need to be in each category? We’ll take your feedback and start building rough drafts of the outlines for each section.

    P.S. I’m sure most of you are wondering who the new guy is. I’m a managing partner at Mindsize, an eCommerce consultancy. I’ve been watching the WordPress space for years and have been actively developing custom sites, themes and plugins for the last three. Recently, I’ve been speaking at WordCamps about eCommerce site speed, sharing my observations on how to build highly performant WordPress sites. More relevant to this space, though, I’m a certified technical instructor that’s spent a good portion (over 5000 classroom hours) of the last decade teaching developers in classrooms all over the continent how to write web applications in a variety of languages.

    • Meagan Hanes 2:29 am on August 23, 2016 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      First off, thanks for shepherding the existence of this curriculum!

      I think I would start defining the term developer by defining what languages they know and at what level of proficiency. For example, PHP skills would likely be high, HTML & CSS secondary, etc.

      Here are some modules I’ve brainstormed for the top level categories:

      Internals: File structure of WordPress, WordPress APIs
      Themes: created from scratch and from a framework
      Plugins: OOP principles, plugin frameworks, example plugins?

      I would consider adding the top level category of Business to encompass the modules of Supporting your Theme, Freelancing Guide, and other topics that may help developers on their own.

      Very excited to help get this going!!

    • Zach Stepek 10:00 pm on August 23, 2016 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Great feedback, thank you!

      Defining the term “Developer” is a key part of this discussion, in my opinion. We need to have a clear delineation between “I use WordPress” and “I develop on WordPress.” Formalizing the difference between a developer and a power user is, in my opinion, necessary moving forward. We aren’t going to settle on a definition of developer that everyone agrees with, but I think we can get to one that most people agree with!

      WordPress internals are a big subject. Understanding file structure, why decisions were made to do things in certain ways, what the internal APIs are and how to utilize them, etc. are all core topics.

      I think if we’re going to teach any theme framework, it should be something like Underscores that isn’t *too* opinionated. But I like starting out with just understanding what a theme should do, what the minimum files are that are required, and then building to the ultimate goal of knowing how to build translatable, action and filter laden themes that are extensible and awesome. And we need to make sure that it is clear that a theme is not a plugin and a plugin is not a theme throughout this courseware, explaining why along the way.

      The business category is an interesting thought, as well, and something I think is really important. However, that may be a different animal entirely. I know there are a ton of great resources out there, but most of them aren’t free. Is there a gap we can fill there?

  • Josepha 8:03 pm on August 8, 2016 Permalink |  

    Agenda for August 9, 2016 Meeting 

    We had some good discussions last week about our progress and team morale in general. This week’s meeting and next week’s meeting will be really important for getting us some clearer ideas about what we’re doing and why.

    • Join us tomorrow in the #training channel on Slack at 19:00 UTC to hear about our new plans and goals/timelines.
    • Next week (August 16) get ready for a video chat where were can discuss and some Big Picture things. The agenda for that will be posted later, but I wanted to give people a chance to arrange their schedules.

    Tomorrow’s Agenda
    1. Welcome!
    2. Lesson Plan Updates (+ new assignments)
    3. Copyediting Updates
    4. Testing Updates
    5. Announcements and Questions!

    We do still have one ongoing conversation we’d like folks to weigh in on:

    Talk to you all tomorrow!

  • Josepha 8:09 pm on August 3, 2016 Permalink |  

    Recap of August 2, 2016 Meeting 

    Slack Log (Requires Slack login to view. Set one up if you don’t have a Slack account)

    1. Welcome
      1. We had a lot of new folks today as well as a bunch of our regulars. For those who didn’t know, we are currently working on our Tier 2 lesson plans. They are geared toward students that are comfortable setting up a WordPress site and are ready to learn about how to use plugins and other methods of configuration. These lessons are for in-person events specifically.
    2. Lesson Plan Updates
      1. @epetrashen has written the following lessons, all of which are ready to be sent to copyediting:
    3. Copyediting Updates
      1. @skarjune will copyedit What is Open Source
      2. @c3zh will copyedit What is W3 Total Cache
      3. @bethsoderberg noted that we are a little off track as a group. She wrangled the progress of current copyediting items here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1DpC5uFFyp1D5m6rvVFNevmrWRUVrUHPmqIiQ0US-GeI/edit?usp=sharing
      4. Steps to Get Back on Track
        • return to a 1-2 week turn around time as the expectation when someone takes on a lesson plan to copyedit
        • keep a running list in the meeting notes of what needs copyediting, who it has been assigned to, and who the authors of the plans are
        • keep the copyediting point in the meeting agenda
        • consider having copyeditor trainings once a quarter
    4. Testing Updates
      1. Talked about the post we have about testing feedback: https://make.wordpress.org/training/2016/08/01/training-feedback-update/
        1. @mindsize shared that the lessons in general are hard to understand the order of. Alphabetical is fine if you know the order already, but not intuitive if you’re looking for the progression there.
        2. @bethsoderberg shared this post which we’ve been using as a guide of sorts: https://make.wordpress.org/training/2015/12/15/4-tiers-for-workshops/
    5. Teacher Resources Page
      1. @chanthaboune and @epetrashen will come up with an outline for the teaching resource page

    There is a thoughtful post about structural concerns with our p2 that @bethsoderberg@coachwp and @melindahelt had at a recent contributor day. Take a look and comment this week! https://make.wordpress.org/training/2016/08/02/user-experience-of-training-team-make-site/

  • bethsoderberg 11:30 am on August 2, 2016 Permalink |  

    User Experience of Training Team Make Site 

    Folks in the training team have collectively provided bits of feedback about the current structure of the Make site for the team for a little while. This conversation turned into more of an in-depth evaluation of the site and it’s purpose at WordCamp NYC’s contributor day this past month. In this post, I’m summarizing some of the key pieces of that conversation (myself, @melindahelt and @Becks979 attended) and applying pieces of that conversation to the current structure of the website. Please add your thoughts as to what pieces of the website need to shift in the comments of this post.

    General Thoughts

    1. It needs to be more clear that there are completed lesson plans that can be used in real life.
      • I’m starting to think that the “Lesson Plans” navigation item should lead to a landing page that describes the available workshops rather than the long list of workshops in progress.
    2. Examples that show different ways to use the lesson plans would be helpful
      • We could include case studies, for example, that show how the plans have been used at a meetup, at a mini-workshop, at a conference, etc.
    3. We need a handbook.
      • Most Make teams have a handbook that contains the logistical information about how to contribute to the team and how the team self-organizes. This information is scattered across our site currently and needs to be gathered into one location (e.g. style guide,
    4. The lesson plans in progress need an explanation.
      • The handbook on the site is currently used to house the in-progress lesson plans, which is confusing due to it’s inclusion of partially completed plans. An introduction on the first page that explains what this is – and what it isn’t – would be helpful.
    5. Inconsistent use of tagging/categories
      • At different times, folks have categorized/tagged the blog posts on the site differently, leading to a somewhat meaningless structure. @courtneyengle had started to clean this up at one point and perhaps this is something we should revisit.
    6. Areas of Focus
      • The “Areas of Focus” block on the sidebar was intended to be an easy way to find the threads that relate to current conversations the team was having. It hasn’t been used as such much this year, though we were very consistent about using it this way during the second half of 2015. Perhaps this section should be renamed something like “current priorities”? Some of the content linked from it now should really go in a handbook instead and we could use it to bookmark key blog posts instead?
    7. Rethinking the blue box
      • I think revisiting the description of what the team is (e.g. are the lesson plans really “downloadable” as we describe?) could be important. We also should use this area to promote the use of lesson plans that already exist as well as contributing to the team in other ways (the list of which we should also review).

    Some Specific Changes

    1. Teacher Resources – this page needs to be rewritten to be in line with the lesson plans that we’ve created and to rely less on outside resources.
    2. An FYI, I changed the time of the meeting on the contact form to the new time.
    3. There are some pages that may not make sense to include any more given the current direction of the team: proposed theme lessons, proposed user lessons, project status.

    Please add your reactions to any of these ideas, suggestions of changes we can make to improve the user experience of the website, and any other thoughts about the website in the comments!



    • c3zh 9:29 pm on August 8, 2016 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I think these ideas are great. Would it be a good idea to have a section of lessons that are kind of in a beta stage where we list them as done, but let people know that we are happy to get feedback on them?

    • Julie Kuehl 1:34 pm on August 9, 2016 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Every time we discuss this I keep coming back to having two “sites” – one for the team (handbook, work in progress, etc.) and one for the public consumption (finished lesson plans and workshop outlines). I don’t know if that is possible, but it would be one way to reduce confusion – and make marketing the finished product easier. (This sounds like the staging/production environments common in web development. I’m reaching here, but could we have make.wordpress.org/training/ and training.wordpress.org?)

      Tags/categories might be a good first step, but we should settle on an information architecture / taxonomy that we’d want to use to make them useful. And it’s ongoing work to make sure they’re correct and updated.

      Mixing works-in-progress with completed work will always be confusing. Even when the (mythical) day comes that all lesson plans are complete, we’ll still have works-in-progress for updating and new features.

      Also, like the wording of “Current Priorities”. And the blue box can always stand to be revisited. If we could separate works in progress from completed lessons, that would need to be made clear in the blue box too.

    • Melinda Helt 1:35 pm on August 9, 2016 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Edit: While I was typing this, Julie posted her comment and she too is suggesting two sites (or at least two clear sections)

      Regarding the Handbook: Yes, we need a true handbook that’s main purpose is to tell people how to get involved with the team, and how to complete each task. The “Get Involved” section in the blue box seems like an idea outline to kick off the handbook. Someone wants to see all ways to contribute to the team, point them to the handbook. Someone wants to specifically test, point to that section.

      Lesson Plans: I think we should consider the main audience for the lessons section to be people outside of our team. People who are coming here to get materials for meetup, workshops, etc. That overall section includes things like the teacher resources, how to use the plans (case studies as mentioned above).

      In this breakdown (internal team audience vs external audience), I’m not sure where the in-progress plans live?

      And, if we are thinking of content as team vs external, what’s the availability of learn.wordpress.org for this project? Or are we too far away from that?

      I’m happy to help in the re-organization of content, but realistically, I’m not going to have much time to focus on that until after WCPGH (September 17th)

    • Joe Casabona 3:09 pm on August 9, 2016 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I think a lot of these thoughts could probably be implemented through a new home page design. Practically speaking I think most people use this as a resource, and while recruiting for the team is important, helping people find the right lesson plans is more important. I agree that using the blue box for a different purpose is probably best.

      I also agree with the thoughts about the Lesson Plans page. I could see something like this being useful: a similar blue box introducing the lesson plans, and then each category of lessons in it’s own column. Next to each lesson plan is an indicating icon (complete, in-progress, not started) which is explained in the blue box. Then users will know immediately what that page is for and which lessons are ripe for the taking.

    • skarjune 4:48 pm on August 23, 2016 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      1. I agree with Julie that there should be a separate interface for public consumption with a staging/production division somehow. Post status, categories, separate pages with TOC, whatever works.
      2. Rather than examples, suggested delivery formats for Meetups, WordCamps, workshops etc. would be helpful, could have examples of how these are used.
      3. Yes, handbook.
      4. This is an internal issue, so same as #1.
      5. As Julie says a taxonomy would help. Also, more control of vocabulary is needed, as terminology varies a bit across lessons.
      6. Internal discussions, so better in a handbook, as in #3.
      7. Open for discussion.

  • bethsoderberg 11:01 am on August 2, 2016 Permalink |  

    Agenda for August 2, 2016 Meeting 

    Join us in the #training channel on Slack at 19:00 UTC, which is TWO hours later than usual. We’re starting to have more structural conversations about the website, so let’s focus on the teacher resources as well as making sure we’re up to date with lesson plans in progress.

    1. Welcome
    2. Lesson Plan Updates
    3. Copyediting Updates
    4. Testing Updates
    5. Teacher Resources page (per this conversation)
    6. Announcements & Questions

    Let us know if you have more agenda items in the comments!

  • Josepha 10:02 pm on August 1, 2016 Permalink |  

    Training Feedback Update 

    After going through the collected lesson feedback with Elena, we’ve found that there is really one major piece of feedback that we should discuss.

    There was a bit of feedback around the lesson plans being hard to decipher when it comes to methodology, preferred next steps, and teaching styles.

    We have talked in the past about having a clearer idea of what our Teacher Resources would be – perhaps they need to be about how to use the lessons and what to do to prepare for your in-person sessions? A general instruction on “how to do groupings, instruction versus hands on work, what to show or not”?

    Share your thoughts in the comments!

    • Adam W. Warner 10:29 pm on August 1, 2016 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Please forgive me, I’m new here but looking at the Lesson Plans section after reading this update, they don’t seem to be listed in a “logical” order.

      As an example User Lessons is pushed far down the page and the most appropriate place for a Teacher to start would be that section and the “Basic WordPress Concepts” lesson.

      I’d like to propose a reordering of these sections and lessons into a more “start here, then do this” order.

      • Josepha 3:17 pm on August 2, 2016 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        That’s definitely good feedback! These are currently listed in alphabetical order and then we build workshops out of a number of them at a time, so it’s never seemed terribly out of place for us.

        I think that @kdrewien also recently got the same feedback, so it’s clearly something to keep in mind!

    • bethsoderberg 10:56 am on August 2, 2016 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Josepha – I 100% agree with the suggestions you and Elena have regarding this subject. I think the teacher resources we have now are disconnected from everything else we’ve actually put together, which is mostly because I think they predate the actual materials the team has created and haven’t really been updated since. In addition to how to use the lessons, how to prepare, and the general instruction that you specify, I also think we should include “how to provide feedback” and potentially something about “how to ask questions of the training team” (e.g. Slack) too.

      Also Adam – you’re totally right, the order of the lesson plans you found is purely alphabetical by section and then within sections. That area is supposed to be an archive of all lessons, but it’s confusing to folks who find it. It shouldn’t be the most prominent way to find the lesson plans, which is something we’re away of and thinking about how to restructure.

    • skarjune 4:59 pm on August 2, 2016 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Agree that the methodology of the Lesson Plans is confusing and incomplete. While I encouraged trainers to use them for the WordCamp Mpls training day, they didn’t see the benefit and relied on both their own presentations and live demos. While it appears to be very organized to us within the project, it’s just not a turnkey system for other trainers. Ideas for a new organization, handbook, and instructor resources would be helpful.

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