HackYale expands open workshops

After the success of its open workshop program last fall, HackYale has decided to expand to include a workshop series.

The proposed six-workshop series, expected to begin later this semester, will be advertised to students currently signed up for the HackYale mailing list, said HackYale Director Zack Reneau-Wedeen ’14. He added that unlike HackYale’s flagship lecture courses, the workshop series will provide students with more options and greater flexibility -— students seeking “greater general knowledge” could attend all the workshops, whereas students interested in a “specific subject” could attend only the workshops that appeal to them. HackYale also plans to increase the number of one-time workshops offered this spring.

A student group founded in fall 2011 by Will Gaybrick LAW ’12 and Bay Gross ’13, HackYale first introduced its open workshops last fall. Rafi Khan ’15, who taught one of the six workshops offered last semester, said the workshops allowed students to focus on specific topics without a semester-long commitment.

“The workshops were a great way for those who perhaps didn’t have enough time to commit to a full HackYale to learn a lot about one particular topic in an evening,” Khan said. “We try to choose topics that build on previous web development experience, in part so that people can gain exposure to the kinds of tools available to developers.”

The HackYale workshops allow students who were not admitted to this semester’s “Introduction to Web Development” course to gain skills on similar subjects to those taught in the course. Zizi Yu ’16, who was not admitted to the lecture, said she would still be interested in attending HackYale workshops.

“While I am disappointed that I did not get into the course, I feel that the workshops are an interesting, low-commitment alternative, and I will try and attend them,” Yu said.

The workshops offered last semester were taught by undergraduate and postgraduate students, as well as professionals involved in the tech industry. Daniel Doubrovkine, the head of engineering at Art.sy, a New York City venture-backed startup, led the “0–60 in Startup Technology” workshop, which was a crash course in the technologies, infrastructure and planning involved in successfully building a tech startup. Other workshops offered last fall included an Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator course and a Twitter Bootstrap course.

Reneau-Wedeen said that while the workshops give students a one-time introduction to the tech world, participants are encouraged to continue developing the skills they’ve learned.

“[Students can] stay in touch with workshop leaders, ask some questions, and they will provide resources,” Reneau-Wedeen said. “The workshops are meant to be much more economic than the full course, but doesn’t necessarily have to be less supportive.” He added that he hopes to introduce a workshop series focusing on various types of website frameworks.

Last fall’s HackYale lecture course received 300 applications for 60 spots.

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