Scilab workshop at L&T Institute of Technology, Mumbai

One day Workshop held on Scilab at L&T Institute of Technology, Mumbai on 2nd October, 2010

This workshop was conducted using the spoken tutorials as the primary study material available on following link.

The names of the people who helped conduct the workshop: 
  • Prof. Madhu Belur
  • Anuradha Amrutkar
  • Prashant Dave
  • Aditya Sengupta
In prior workshops, where individual speakers have taken sessions that were essentially lectures on Scilab with the participants practicing Scilab during the lecture, we have often experienced that some participants are not able to keep with the pace of the speaker and some participants with prior experience find the pace of the speaker slow. The pace is determined by the speed at which the majority of the participants follow the sessions. Often times, some participants are left behind due to minor errors or difficulties. Some participants who find the pace slow, get distracted and try other features and experiments which often causes them to get stuck in an unrelated topic and ask questions not relevant to the current topic. As a result, there are fringe cases for whom the workshop is not optimal. Further, stopping to solve very specific doubts can lead to undesirable halts and pauses during a session, while avoiding them can lead to the participants asking those doubts finding it difficult to follow. 

Further, our workshops focused on professors who were expected to go on and teach Scilab to their students, ideally with the same type of quality. Our previous approach was not scalable as each person carrying it forward would have to undertake a significant amount of preparation in order to teach Scilab to their students, preparation that had already been done by the speakers. 

The spoken tutorial methodology of conducting workshops was created in order to address these issues. 

A spoken tutorial consists of a short video of 5 to 10 minutes that has a screencast accompanied by an explanatory narration that describes some aspect or feature of a software by reproducing precisely, on screen, those aspects or features of that software. The narration accompanying a spoken tutorial may be in any language, and can be translated from one language to another, keeping the screen cast the same. 

For a given workshop, we determine, based on the type of audience that is expected, what topic(s) are to be taught at the workshop (eg: Introduction to Scilab). Based on this, a study plan is created that consists of an ordered set of spoken tutorials that is to be used to study the topic(s) and CDs are burned with the study plan. A worksheet with exercises to be solved at fixed points in time during the spoken tutorial is also made (with each exercise having the time stamp for the point in time during the tutorial that it is supposed to be attempted). 

During the workshop, participants use inexpensive headphones to listen to the spoken tutorials on computers that have Scilab installed. 
They are thus able to follow the tutorial and practicing the Scilab alongside. Our session trainers are able to help with any doubts they may have through individual attention without disturbing the rest of the class. While recommended time-limits are announced and posted on the board, they are not enforced as hard limits, allowing a far greater amount of flexibility with individuals' paces. 

In our experience, having spoken tutorials drastically reduces the number of doubts that need clarification since they are simply required to reproduce steps that they see in a video, and replay any section of the video that they desire at any point of time. An online test is conducted at the end of the day in order to assess the performance of the participants. Those who do not clear the test at their first attempt can simply practice the spoken tutorials at home and attempt the test at a later date. A feedback session is also conducted in order to gauge the effectiveness of the programme.

Following attachments are the list of participants, feedback collected at the end of the workshop, and workshop exercises.