Matt Waite on the supply problem

You are number 114 on the list of people who have asked me if I have any students who are budding journalist-developers ready to start busting out apps in your shop. You are also deep on the list of people telling me you’re looking for people and having a hard time finding them. There’s 10 fish in this pond right now and everyone has a line in the water.


Problems I would love to have to talk about: What is the career path for a developer in a newsroom? There isn’t one right now. Who will be the first to hire a developer as an assistant managing editor or above? I ache for the day we have to discuss this instead of the scarcity of talent. I long for the day when we have to debate turning over editorial strategy to someone who came into the newsroom to build apps. That will be a great day.

Matt Waite — A completely arbitrary list of takeaways from two unconferences

Three education problems to solve: reusable syllabi, mapping demand, and adaptive teaching

Working on a class outline for intro to setting up your website, how WordPress works, and very basic HTML CSS. In this process, I’ve identified three educational problems needing to be solved.

First, capturing class content. There are a discreet number of facts to presented in this subject area. Along with that, there are examples to be given, exercises to be done, and questions to be raised. Inventing this from scratch each time, or only having access to your prior syllabi, seems completely antiquated. It would be wonderful to be able to use historical data on how others have taught to improve your own approach. If it was a structured database you could access, even more the better. This doesn’t solve the disconnect between teaching and self-directed learning, but it could optimize the quality of teaching.

Second, identifying where students are at and where they want to go. The latter presupposes students know where they want to go, but I suspect most have some idea. Again, both of these points of data currently aren’t captured in any sort of meaningful way. This causes the instructor to prepare course material based on what they perceive necessary, instead of the more effective approach of tying it closely to demand.

Lastly, adapting teaching approaches. For the class this afternoon, there are going to be some number of students who took the January Academy WordPress workshop(s) and some number who haven’t. There are going to be some number of students who have websites set up and are ready to take them to the next level, and there are going to be some number of students who haven’t. The problem is less when class size is 12 to 15, but becomes exponentially worse when you add more students. There must be a way to scale the experience of one-on-one teaching.