2n edition of HU course – with blog and material

Hi everyone,

today was a great day! Today was the first day of the second edition of the course about the basics of web development I’m teaching at Humboldt University Berlin. I had a great deal of fun and am already looking forward to next week.

Anyhow, the course now has its own blog where I share presentations, homework etc. The course is held in German only, so the material is only German as well. The course is aimed at total beginners (e.g. minimum requirement: “You should know how to use a computer.”).Β  When looking through the material please keep in mind that it is not made for self-study – it is made to be presented. Also it is for real beginners and therefore sometimes makes abstractions/simplifications for the sake of productivity.

So without further ado, enjoy the blog: webanwendungsentwicklung.wordpress.com



Teaching a course about web development at Humboldt University

Hello everyone,

just a quick note but I’m extremely excited to finally announce that I will be teaching a course about the basics of web development at Humboldt University Berlin. The course is meant for bachelor students who don’t study computer science. It’s a total basics course, no prior knowledge required. The course will start with basic HTML and CSS, then we’ll get into some Ruby and then some Ruby on Rails. So in short, it could be perfect to be the start of your journey into Programming. And a useful skill to have, in the spirit of this awesome video.

The course will be every week on Wednesday for 9 weeks (starting in May) for ~5 hours + breaks. The course will be held in German. The course is limited to ~14 students.

Link to the full course description (German)

If you are a student interested in the course, feel free to get in touch with me for questions etc!

In the end, a big thanks to everyone who helped making this happen! Especially Dajana πŸ™‚



Updated Resource section

Hi everyone,

just a quick note I updated my beloved Resource section with some quite nice new resources. I also restructured it so that Ruby and Rails got some distinct sections.

When I started this blog sharing resources for learning how to program was pretty important to me and it still is now. I love both teaching and learning. I hope that these resources can help you to learn how to program, teach someone how to program or improve your own skills. But it’s not only programming there, my favorite topic “agile software development” is also mentioned!

Most of the resources are free so go ahead and check them out.

Enjoy and have fun!


4 lessons learned from teaching at Rails Girls Berlin

This is just a little post recapping some of my experiences from the last RailsGirls Berlin workshop. By the way, we’ve got a new workshop upcoming this Friday and you can still register! Most of this is a reminder to myself in order to be an even better coach at our next workshop πŸ™‚

1. irb can be great for teaching – but confusing as well

I love irb for teaching. You can show many things quickly and instantly. And you get feedback. You can play. It’s awesome.

However, especially for real beginners it is kind of confusing, even more so if it is the first time that they work with a console. So it’s hard to distinguish what irb is and what the normal console is. In a later mentoring session I also had someone who disliked irb as a whole and rather wanted to write a real program with real files. Everybody likes to learn his/her own way πŸ™‚

However my main take away with irb is the following: Be aware of the nesting! And by that I mean missing parentheses and keywords! You know the result: irb is waiting for the matching keyword/parenthesis. Beginners often don’t notice this and are just wondering why it isn’t working and behaving like with all the others. During our introduction to Ruby this was one of the most common blockers I saw, especially when we started working with blocks. So to get them out of this: Ctrl + C

2. Restart the server after installing a new gem

We all know this one. In order to pick up on some changes the rails server has to be restarted. Although when you’re teaching multiple students it’s sometimes hard to remember. So if a step involving a new gem isn’t working make sure it is installed and restart the server.

3. Save the damn file

Yes save it. Please do. I know it’s the simplest thing in the world but we are sometimes so used to saving our files that it doesn’t even come to mind anymore. I once spent 15 minutes discovering that an unsaved file was the cause of an error. Before that another coach had already spent ~30mins on the same problem. We checked everything until we noticed the little star next to the file name in the tab bar. Then we saved the file, which we had previously looked at like a million times, and everything went well.

4. Explain, but simplify

Explain what which part does but don’t aim for perfection or total correctness. In other words: Lie to simplify. Focus on the most important knowledge. I gave very short introductions to the MVC-pattern (while looking through the code) and refined them until the student seemed satisfied.

And don’t omit the explanation. I know that Rails involves a lot of magic and it might be hard to explain, however I heard from some students that nobody explained the distinct roles of the model, the view and the controller to them. They didn’t know what happened where. This left them really dissatisfied. They’ve built this awesome thing but had no idea how it works.

I hope that these tips might be helpful for you when you are coaching. There are probably some more of these to come after the next workshop πŸ™‚