Instructor Guidance

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Knox Makers is, at its core, an educational non-profit organization. Classes and workshops that are offered at Knox Makers are the most public-facing aspect of the organization. A well organized class or workshop with a prepared presenter gives all the attendees a great learning experience and exposure to something that they may not have known before. Additionally, quality classes and workshops show off the value of Knox Makers and its amazing community of makers. Conversely, poor quality classes do not give attendees a great experience and reflect poorly on the organization as a whole. The information presented here is intended to provide guidance for potential presenters who may be interested in leading a class or workshop at Knox Makers. It should help presenters understand the different types of presentations at Knox Makers, set expectations for each type, as well as the scope and level of effort of each of those presentations.

Presentation Types

There are two main types of presentations commonly offered at Knox Makers: classes and workshops. The difference is the participation level of the audience, and are defined as follows:

  • Class: Primarily a lecture-style presentation, where information is presented, and the audience is largely a passive observer. The participation of the audience will rarely exceed asking questions of the presenter. The audience will mainly be focused on the presenter.
  • Workshop: Primarily a hands-on lab style presentation, where members of the audience are expected to perform some activity, make something, or otherwise have focus on something other than the presenter.

The following section presents different types of classes and workshops, with some details and examples that may be helpful when preparing a presentation. We do not want to discourage people from experimenting with format in their presenations. The details and examples presented below are not intended to be a complete list of all possible presentations, but do include experiences about types of presentations that have not worked well in the past.

One particular distinction is noted for Tuesday nights. Tuesday nights are the regularly scheduled meetings for Knox Makers. We have a tradition going back a few years of having a presentation on a Tuesday night that is free and open to the public, and it is a tradition that Knox Makers intends to continue.

Tuesday Night

The Tuesday night event is intended to be a free and open to the public presentation. Being a regularly scheduled event, the Tuesday night presentation tends to have the highest turn out of any event. As of December 2016, attendance is usually between 30 and 70 people. Because it tends to have a very large attendance, and the audience can include many first-time attendees, it tends to be more focused on introductory classes. Workshops can work on Tuesdays, but they need to be able to scale well, with lots of parallel paths for hands-on. Here is a page with more detail about what a typical Tuesday night includes: Tuesday Open House Nights

Tuesday Night Class

A Tuesday night class is a lecture or demonstration given by 1-2 people. It typically lasts 60-90 minutes and will not include audience participation beyond questions. The presenter is expected to have a prepared talk that may or may not include the following: power point, samples of work (passed around to view or given to audience) and live demonstration of technique. Please be prepared for 50-70 people in attendance. Even if there is an RSVP attached to this event, Tuesdays are open to the public and walk-ins are expected and encouraged. Please see the Setup Guide for instructions how to hook up your own laptop or use the documentation camera for your demonstration.

Tuesday Night Workshop

A Tuesday night workshop is different than a class in that it involves audience participation in the form of creating, building, or collaborating on a larger project. This is more difficult to coordinate since we typically have 5-10% of the attendees being first time walk in guests who could be of any age or skill level. To make this happen successfully, the instructor should have enough supplies for at least 50 people and 2-4 helpers assisting the crowd. In addition, if a supply or prep table is set up, there should be more than one, and also the workshop should be organized so that people can continue with the project in different ways and not all get bottlenecked at one section. As an instructor, you can request donations to cover the cost of supplies, but Tuesday nights will never have a base fee attached to the event.

Other Weeknights and Weekends

Other evenings are available for more specialized classes, as well as classes with fees. There can also be a lower and upper cap on the number of attendees, if you wish. If you wish to teach a weeknight or weekend class, at least one member must be present to open the building before and to lock up afterward.

Wednesday Night Partner Groups

Wednesday nights are reserved for smaller community groups with similar interests to use our space and hold their meetings. They should have a person within their group who is a member and will be responsible for opening and closing the building, as well as the actions and safety of the rest of the group. These meetings must be free and open to the public and they will be advertised on our calendar. If a group wants to hold their meeting at Knox Makers, the sponsoring member should submit their event through this link: Submit Event in accordance with the Promotional/Advertising Guidelines

Fees

There are two types of fees that may be associated with classes and workshops. Material fees and instruction fees. All fees shall be collected by an authorized agent of Knox Makers, and receipts for each transaction should be created. See below for details on each fee type.

Material Fees

Materials fees are those fees that are charged for a class or workshop to cover the cost of materials to be used by attendees of the class. The materials required for the class should be clearly defined before the class is scheduled. Materials may either be ordered by Knox Makers, or provided by the instructor, who will be reimubursed by Knox Makers. If materials are to be provided by the instructor, a set dollar amount per attendee must be presented by the instructor and approved by the board in advance of scheduling the presentation. Knox Makers will collect the fees from attendees and will reimburse the instructor within two weeks. If materials are to be provided by Knox Makers, the instructor must present a complete list of materials to be used in the class, along with suggested vendor and price. The materials list must be presented to the board for purchase, and the materials should be ordered and expected shipping dates confirmed before the class is scheduled. This is to prevent a scheduled event from taking place without the required materials.

Instruction Fees

Instruction fees are those fees that are charged to attendees for simply attending a presentation. These are fees not related to any product or material used in the presentation. Instruction fees will be split between Knox Makers and the instructor. The default split will be 50% will go to Knox Makers, and 50% will go to the instructor. Of the 50% retained by Knox Makers, half of that (25% of the total) will go to the Knox Makers general fund, which is used to pay rent, utilities, and other items that impact the organization as a whole. The remaining half retained by Knox Makers (25% of the total) will be directed towards the area budget most appropriate for the presentation. For example, classes taught in the wood shop using the woodworking tools would have 25% of the total instruction fee directed to the woodworking zone budget. The instructor may choose to donate their portion of the instruction fee to any budget of their choosing.

If an instructor wishes to collect their portion of the instruction fee, they must provide a completed W9 form [1] to Knox Makers. This is to certify that they are legally allowed to work in the United States, and that they are not subject to any back-up withholding of taxes. Instruction fees will be paid within two weeks of the class date, and all earnings for the year will be reported on a 1099-MISC form at the end of the tax year, in accordance with IRS instructions.

Collecting Class Fees

Ideally, people will pay sign up and pay online before the class starts, but there may be walk-ins that want to pay with cash. If there is no board member present to collect the cash, the instructor should put the fees collected with a note in the blue box on the wall in the concession area.

Promotion/Advertising

Deadlines

Classes can be scheduled as early as the previous month before the class date (for example, all April classes can be scheduled as early as March 1st), and no later than 10 days before the class date. If this is a ticket event, we recommend adding to the calendar at least 15 days before the class date. If class materials are being ordered by Knox Makers, shipping date should be confirmed before scheduling the class.

Class Descriptions

Class descriptions should be between 100-300 words long and detail what your class is about, if there are any prerequisite skills for taking the class, and what, if any, safety equipment or guidelines that attendees are expected to abide by. If you are a visiting organization, you can add a short description of your organization.

Promotional Images

Promotional images should be greater than 400x150px and the instructor must have a license to use the image. Proposed images should always have a larger width than height to fit appropriate scaling requirements. Knox Makers reserves the right to deny the use of the proposed image and pick a different one, if the image is not suitable.

Submitting a Class

Any individual wishing to suggest teaching a class (either for free on a Tuesday night or to be charged on another night) should approach the appropriate area Czar/Czarina corresponding to the area the class will be taught in. The Czar/Czarina will then collect necessary information including class title, class description, class size (minimum and maximum), and ticket pricing (if applicable). If there are questions regarding who is the appropriate person to bring specific class information to, any member of the Board of Directors can be approached for guidance.

Please note: Class suggestions are just that, suggestions, until approved by both the area Czar/Czarina and the Board of Directors. Events not published on the website's calendar do not exist.

Any class submissions containing information that can be construed as promotional for any specific person or brand will be sent back for rewording or denied altogether. Submissions should focus on the product and content that will be taught.

Setup Guide

Technology instructions

To Power on:

The power strip on the podium is powered at all times, regardless if the podium is powered or not.

When facing the front of the classroom, to the right of the right projector screen are four switches. The first two dimmer switches power on the over head dimmer lights, the third one powers the overhead lights and the fourth one powers the podium.

The microphone on the podium is powered on with the podium. The levels for the microphone do not need to be set, if you wish to change the volume, move yourself away or closer to the mic.

The document camera will need to be powered on separately using the power button on the top of the machine (red is off, blue is on).

To power on the projectors, point the remote at each projector and press the power button. The remote is used for no other purpose except to power on the projector. Please do not use it to change settings on the projector.

Hooking up your equipment:

We have a VGA plug and an HDMI plug. There are a couple of commonly-needed adapters in the podium (left side, on a little shelf) in case you need them. It's best to bring your own.


To switch between the document camera and computer:

Audio board.png

The top selector row controls outputs -- eg, the projectors. Button 1 is the screen/projector to the presenter's left; button 2 is the screen/projector to the presenter's right. Buttons 3 and 4 are not connected to anything.

The second selector row controls the inputs to the projectors.

  • Button 1 isn't connected to anything
  • Button 2 inputs the Document Camera
  • Button 3 inputs HDMI
  • Button 4 inputs VGA

In order to set both projectors, press the All button, then press the desired input (second row), then press Take.

In order to set only one projector, press the desired projector button (top row), press the desired input (second row), then press Take.


Troubleshooting:

If your picture is not showing up on the projector, DO NOT change the projector settings. View the group of three buttons on the right half of the picture. Most likely the board is set to audio only instead of audio and video. In this case the AUD (right) will be lit instead of AVF (top). Press the AVF button and the screen should work again. If this doesn't work, please talk to a board member for assistance.


Powering Down:

When you are finished with your presentation, turn off the projectors using the remote, and turn off the switch on the right side of the room.

Classroom setup and tear down

Instructors are allowed to rearrange the classroom around to suit the needs of the class. There are 200 chairs and 6 long tables available for use. After the class is over, the instructor is expected to ensure that the classroom is set back in place. The classroom will have 8 rows of 12 chairs with two aisles (typically three groups of 4 chairs), with a row or two of chairs across the back of the classroom. Extra tables will be stored behind the curtain on the left of the classroom. All trash should be picked up and trashcans returned to the concession area. If any trashcans are full, or have food waste, they need to be taken to the dumpster. The dumpster is located behind the fence with a padlocked gate. The code for the padlock is the same as the parking lot gate (any member should know this). If there was a demonstration or workshop, the classroom must be swept (brooms and dustpans are found on the side of the display rack).

Other available resources

Behind the right screen is a whiteboard; the markers and eraser are located in the podium.

There are nametags, pens, and other various office supplies in the small filing cabinet in the back of the classroom.

Knox Makers Commitment to Open Source

One of Knox Makers' foundational principles is a commitment to free and open technology whenever possible. We feel that it is better for our own community and also greater worldwide innovation if more people are able to access, modify, and improve software and hardware to suit their own needs. We do not completely eschew proprietary resources; sometimes there are no comparable options.

What this means for our classes is that we do not teach technical instruction or demos on proprietary software. If you wish to teach a class that involves non-open source resources, we will happily guide you to a free alternative in order to best be accessible to all of our members.