Thursday, June 7, 2012

Ruby Study Hall In Session at the Baltimore Hackathon

My project for this weekend's Baltimore Hackathon is a new screencasting series called Ruby Study Hall.  I've been working informally with a small group of people who are new to programming or new to the Ruby language, and RSH is an experiment to see if I can scale myself to help a wider group of people in public. It's been really fun explaining how to get things done in Ruby by giving the students small projects to work on and providing feedback.

The home-made Ruby Study Hall logo
Ruby Study Hall will be in session on Saturday from 2 to 4 pm at the Hackathon. Due to space restrictions you must register for the hackathon to attend (which you should do anyway, it's gonna be awesome). The registration fee includes lunch at 1 pm, so why not make an afternoon of it? If you can't attend, I'll be screencasting the whole thing for posterity and posting the video to Youtube and Vimeo.


This is not a class per se. I will not be showing you how to code Ruby from scratch. The first 60 to 90 minutes is meant to be a study session for beginners, functioning like a reverse classroom. I'll be  answering beginner-level questions about Ruby based on the homework assignments people have been doing.  

The last 30-60 minutes will be aimed at intermediate and advanced-level coders. I've invited Nick Gauthier to sit-in and critique some work I've done with his Domino gem. Beginners will still like this part because it'll be a glimpse of how the smaller exercises will lead you to building something in the real world.


To get the most of out Ruby Study Hall you should:
  • Work on some Ruby code using the tutorials listed below
  • Get stuck on something
  • Post where you're stuck somewhere online where I can easily read it (preferably at
  • Think of questions about programming or Ruby concepts you don't yet understand
  • Email your questions and/or the link to your code to me at
  • Attend the live event on Saturday at 2 pm or watch the video later
Here's some homework to get you started, in no particular order:

So far I am seeing that it's really hard, but definitely possible to learn programming even if you've never done it before. Every programmer I know is largely self-taught, and to quote Viola Spolin, "We learn through experience and experiencing, and no one teaches anyone anything..."

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