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Crashkell Workshop V2

Crashkell at Melbourne :: Compose 19

I ran a new version of the Crashkell Workshop at this year’s Compose! This was small update on the workshop from the previous year, including¬† Mandelbrot and maze exercises.

As was the case previously, the workshop is accessible via the web and provides a notebook of exercises that requires no setup or configuration work. I feel that this format is especially effective for conferences, etc. where attendees time and patience is limited. My first foray into constructing a workshop in this fashion was when I helped run the early Deep-Learning Workshops at Silverpond. I’ve only grown fonder of the format over time and think that anyone running a workshop should seriously consider trying this approach.

The stack is quite flexible and I found that once you had configured your authoring flow, there wasn’t any additional development churn. It was also dead-simple to pick-up a year later.

The Stack

  • GitHub
  • MyBinder
  • Docker
  • iHaskell
  • Jupiter Notebook
  • Custom CSS/JS for hiding solutions

Feedback

There was limited detailed feedback from the organizer’s survey with most responses being positive, but a single very negative data-point. However in-person, I found that there were a few points of discomfort from attendees. The major pain-point was that the motivation for some of the exercises wasn’t clear. In person, this actually proved to not be too much of an issue, as some degree of head-scratching is actually beneficial for exploring a new language, and with people there in-person to help, doesn’t provide a permanent roadblock.

However, this issue is far more critical online. I’m interested in improving the materials to a degree where it becomes easy to step-through by yourself and still have a useful experience.

Try it for yourself and see what you think!

Feel free to create an issue on Github, or email me!

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