Helping out a student in the WordPress 201 workshop

Helping out a student in the WordPress 201 workshop

Yesterday I presented a 6 hour workshop on some advanced WordPress topics. In all, about 12 people showed up to learn how to go beyond the basics in WordPress. The goal of the workshop was rather ambitious – to teach students, many with no prior experience with HTML, CSS or PHP, how to customize a WordPress theme. The experience level of the students in the workshop ran the spectrum from those with absolutely no experience with coding to a few that had some HTML and CSS experience but had never dove into WordPress code.

The workshop started out with an extremely brief overview of HTML, CSS and PHP since the majority of students had no prior experience with these. After this crash course, and some glitches getting everybody connected to the test web servers, we launched into the website makeover portion of the workshop – an exercise in customizing a WordPress theme by creating a WordPress child theme. The details of this exercise were described ahead of time in this post I wrote on the High Tech Maui website.

For me, this was a challenging workshop to teach. The broad range of experience level and the fact that we had the students working on a live makeover exercise kept me hopping around the room to troubleshoot and help students out. Some students clearly had a tough time, while others seemed to catch on more quickly and seemed to pick up some new knowledge and confidence. I want to thank  all the students for your patience and perseverance as well as Peter Liu and my wife Karen for helping when needed.

I provided each of the students ahead of time with a copy of the slides as well as a detailed 62 page tutorial to guide them through the exercise. I think I was overly ambitious with how much I thought I could go through in a one day workshop, but I’m hoping that each of the students will take advantage of the tutorial and work through it on their own.

For others who were unable to attend and might be interested in the tutorial, I’m considering making it available to the general public. I’m still debating whether to provide it free of charge or sell it for a nominal fee as an eBook. Regardless of which route I go, I’d like to make some minor revisions and updates before making it available. So, if you’re interested in learning how to customize and tweak WordPress’s TwentyTen theme, let me know in the comments below.

So, what’s next for WordPres workshops on Maui? Looking at the feedback from the workshop, here’s what folks are asking for:

  • More WordPress coding
  • More about HTML, CSS and PHP
  • Something in between WordPress 101 and WordPress 201
  • Backups
  • Exporting from WordPress.com to WordPress.org
  • A class on the Thesis theme

All of these are great suggestions. I’ll definitely take these suggestions into consideration in coming up with any new WordPress workshop content. In the meantime, what I will likely do is some blog articles and instructional videos on some of these topics. Backups, importing and exporting are probably the most common WordPress topics that people ask me, so I think some blog articles and videos on those topics will likely be what I focus on next as far as teaching WordPress to people.

Another common request is for a WordPress user group here on Maui. Several of us that are involved with the High Tech Maui workshops have discussed that several times and we’re moving it up in our priority list, along with a broader social media users group here on Maui. Hopefully we’ll be able to announce something on that very soon.

I’ve also had a couple of inquiries about repeating the WordPress 101 workshop. We need a minimum of 10 people to hold the workshops in MEDB’s Malcolm Center (which is a really nice venue for these workshops). So, if you’re interested in an introduction to WordPress workshop, drop a comment in the form below and I’ll add you to the list.

Once again, thanks to everyone who participated and helped out in yesterday’s workshop!