Code Camps and Speaker Feedback

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Code camps are a great resource for the local development community. They provide developers and speakers (who are almost always local developers as well) a way to interact and learn about topics they otherwise might not have an opportunity.

As a speaker, it is always great to see new people in my talks and answer questions since in almost every talk, someone asks a question I haven’t heard before. One of the things that most speakers, including myself, like getting is feedback. We want to know what you thought of the presentation, both the material and the delivery. It used to be that most code camps passed out evaluation forms to provide this feedback. The problem with forms is that they were easy to loose and required a person to manually tally up all the evaluations to generate an overall rating. As a result, most code camps have stopped passing out evaluation forms. While I understand the reasons behind this, I still like getting feedback. It’s one of the tools I use to continually become a better speaker.

I have previously talked about SpeakerRate, but since then I’ve been using the site more to fill out my speaker profile. In doing so, I’ve learned a bit more about how events are setup on the site and how they are associated with a series. When it comes to series, you can think of this as the root (parent). An event is a child of the series, and a talk is a child of the event. Once I understood this, I started creating series for the various Florida code camps.

The guidelines I am following are this:

  1. The series is named “Code Camp – [State] – [Location]”, where [Location] is either the city and state or geographic region and [State] is, obviously, the state. This has the benefit of grouping all of the code camps together to make them easier to find. (This does, of course, break down for code camps that are not located in the United States but I think we could probably come up with a variation of this, perhaps “Code Camp – [Country] – [Location]”.)
  2. The event names are “[Code Camp Name] – [Year]”. For example, the South Florida code camp event for 2010 would be listed as “South Florida Code Camp – 2010”. Technically, including the year in the event name is redundant since it displays the event date, but since almost all of the interaction with SpeakerRate is done via events it makes it easy to find them.

If you are a code camp organizer I highly recommend setting up an event and series for your code camp. It gives your speakers an easy way to get feedback without much work on your part. If you’re a speaker, you should definitely setup a speaker profile and add your talks. If you add a talk before the code camp organizers have created the event, you can create the event (and series if necessary) on their behalf, just be sure to follow the guidelines above.

For the Florida code camps, the following series have been created:

* I have asked for that year’s entry to be associated with the series and renamed, if necessary, to be consistent. If you are (or know) the person who originally created the event, please update it so the SpeakerRate staff doesn’t have to.