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On teaching Python to students at IIT Madras.

If you've been following my blog, you would've noticed my efforts to give talks on Python and get better at public speaking. Early December, I organized two workshops at SciPy India at IIT Bombay. Late December, I gave a talk at a local Python meetup. Early January, I attended the local PyLadies event. I wanted to do something similar at my almamater, IIT Madras. It also gave me a reason to go back and visit some of my classmates who are now grad students at IITM and the professor I worked with as an undergrad.
Coming to the point, I gave number of sessions on Friday night and Saturday. The session on Friday night was on Git & GitHub. I used the same slides that I had during the SciPy workshop but we went further at IITM because we had internet connectivity. Towards the end, everyone had created a GitHub repository and everyone had pushed their local changes to GitHub. I didn't get time to get into what I call the advanced workflow, which involves branches and merging in Git. I didn't estimate how long working with GitHub would be so I'll plan better the next time.

We started Saturday morning with a session on Software Carpentry, which was basically an amalgamation of concepts from the two papers on Best practices and Good enough practices in Scientific Computing. This session lasted for ~30 mins. Eventually, at 11, we started the main session on Advanced Python. Over the course of 5 hours, with a lunch break in between, we covered the Pythonic way of doing things, types in Python, iterators, context managers, functions, classes and methods, and generators. It was a lot of ground to cover but the audience seemed happy with the content. They were fairly responsive throughout the long and arduous session and were asking questions on a regular basis.

The session on Advanced Python drained the last of my energy. And most of the audience. Finally, with around 7-10 people in the audience, I started the session on Automated testing in Python at 5 PM. With all the energy I could muster, I clicked next and read out what I had written on the slides. We eventually stopped at 6 for good. I wish I had the energy to continue or go back for the all-nighter we had planned, sort of a hackathon for beginners, but I did not have the energy to sit at that point, let alone stand and run around trying to help people.

All in all, I loved the weekend. I got to catch up with some really good friends and I got some really great feedback on the two main slidedecks - on the old Git & GitHub and the new one on Advanced concepts in Python. A few of my juniors, who attended the sessions, gave me some great feedback on how I can present better or drive the content better, changes which I intend to include the next time I give the talks.

The slides for all of the talks are available at Any comments on the content or the flow of content are welcome and highly appreciated. As always.

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