Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Training Day 1 & 2 (SAOUG Blog Course, Part 2)

It is Day 3 as I post this. 5th class is in progress. Rajen is standing in front of the class doing an IceBreaker, so I'm taking the chance to blog this.

What I'm learning about training from the past 2 days: It's not easy! Takes a certain patience & tact. And composure when things go wrong, even when your backups & backups of backups don't work!

Day 1 - No access to!
OK, no problem, we just go to Plan B (screenshots for blogger) -- or so we thought. But the 20 over participants (at both sessions) were clearly bored. Decided there and then to switch to for the demo and practical exercise. Not our choice for a Blogging Basic course but we had to do something.

Problems didn't end there. Murphy's Law kicked in. All of them got the "sorry, you must wait a few minutes before registering a new blog" message when they tried to sign up. I think detected multiple signups from one site as a form of anti-spam measure.

Some were able to get through eventually. Then came another problem. The signup process required an email account for verification. Some participants couldn't access their office email accounts and they didn't have web-based email accounts. Those who were able to access their office emails kept waiting for the verification email that didn't seem to come...

I don't know about Rajen but I was so glad the day was over. What made my day were those participants who came up to say that inspite of the connectivity problems, they found the course useful. Of course we weren't able to satisfy all participants. It was quite a diverse group in terms of expectations.

Rajen says I must learn to celebrate successes, no matter how small. For me it was this -- near the end of the second on Day 1, after we presented High Browse Online as a case study (explaining the process and learning points in setting it up), a lady raised her hand and said something like this: "What I've just heard made so much sense to me now. It's cleared all the questions and issues I've grappled with for the last few months..." She met us later and said, "This was the best course I've attended in the past year". Wow.

Maybe I'm a perfectionist -- I though it would've been nice if we were able to make all participants feel like that, but Rajen says I'm not being realistic.

Day 2 - still down!
We left the house at 4.40am. Reached the training venue and had to help to get the room ready for use. Then horror! No access to the internet (later was informed that it came on only after 7am).

Then more horrors! Still no access to (yesterday we were told it should work at other venues). Decided on the spot to create a few accounts to avoid the situation faced yesterday. We had to create email accounts to go with it as well.

After the 11th account created, Yahoo Mail refused to accept any more. I guess it detected the mass registrations as spamming. Luckily we had 10 test accounts created and since there was a smaller class (around 15 in both sessions) it turned out to be quite manageble.

I'm particularly appreciative of the Dynamix training office staff. They did their best to find out the root of the problem. As I understand it, there are 2 major ISPs in South Africa, with many sub-providers going through their network, and seems that one of them seems to have blocked It was very strange.

Anyway, half-hour before the end of the second session, came online. But hey, went down! What's happening? We can't have crashed wordpress, could we?

This morning, we came early to create more test accounts for I have lost count of what backup plan this was already.

As I type this, the morning session is on the way. No apparent problems in accessing Rajen is presenting and I'm taking a back seat until after the break. So far so good...

[Ref:Blogging in South Africa (SAOUG Blog Course, Part 1)]

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