I actually taught a 4 week workshop during the summer, and I will soon be starting another one in October.
One thing I’ve found is that having 12 hours of time with them, trying to give them a brief overview is really hard for the students. Remember, I had 12 hours and it was still a brief overview. So, if you have them for only that much time, either give them homework to do between workshops or only go so far with the program. Also, following along with the instructor is still hard, even when everyone has their own computer, they can see the instructor on a projecter, etc. It’s still hard for them.
What we are doing this time around, is that we’ll have 8 weeks; that’s twice as much time. And instead of trying to give them an introductory experience, I’m going to take as much time as I need to teach them how to use the software front and back. Starting at the interface and customizing it, then to modeling, texturing, and animation. If we run out of time, then we just won’t talk about it. I’ll give them handouts, and if they know the interface, and know how to model, then they should be able to understand everything else they read about Blender.
To help with the whole “following along” problem, I’m going to make a bunch of .blend files that they can copy to their machine and then load each one as we go through exercises. The instructions are also going to be in the .blend file. So if they get lost, they can see the instructions right on the screen. Secondly, if they completely loose track and get lost, they can just load up the next .blend file and start fresh with the rest of the group. So, no one will get left behind.
The idea behind these short and simple excercises, is that they’ll only have to perform one task or two simple tasks, or only give them one thing to focus on at a time. It is important that they do each step right, becuase they’ll learn better that way, and if it’s excercise based, then the material is in small enough bites that even the noobiest of noobies should be able to get it.
I also have to think about people that might a workshop. They’ll need to catch up. So, I’m going to put those .blend files, and videos up on the web as well. Which means, of course, that other people can download them as a learning resource.
So that’s the idea. I’ll try and make sure that all the teaching material, videos, etc will be saved so I can use them for later and then release them. I’ll keep you guys updated.