Yesterday I gave the last part of a three-day workshop on "Information and Communications Online." We spent the day getting a blog-type web site up--working with the simple crop and resize functions of Microsoft Picture Manager to reduce the size of the photos, Flickr to store, share and find photos, and WordPress's hosted version to create the blog.
We had twelve participants, six from outside the organization I'm working with, and six staffers and management from CBR/RCRD itself, including the executive director and program director.
We were operating in Nepali conditions, which means that we had a wireless network with less than optimal bandwidth, people brought their own laptops and we used office laptops, with everything from XP to Windows 7 on them. We had long, long waits for pages to load. I told them it was like a crowd of tourists trying to get through the low and narrow Newari doors throughout their city. When everybody tries to get through at once, nobody gets through.
We got through Picture Manager and Flickr in the morning (which, around here, starts more or less at 10:30.) We also started getting them signed up for their blogs/web sites. WordPress has a signup system whereby you fill out the form and then go check your email for a verification link and then sign in to the new site with the login and password you provided on signup.
I will need to make this part much more explicit-- people used emails to sign up that they either couldn't remember the passwords to, or couldn't remember whether they used the yahoo or the gmail email address. And, of course, this meant, waiting for a minimum of three, sometimes four pageloads for everybody.
Also, something happened at this training that happened the last time I offered a group of people an introduction to the absolutely free and simple version of WordPress: They wanted more. The first time, there was at least one participant who wanted to have online donations--which the free version prohibits because they run little pieces of code from the site, and WordPress with its shared database can't afford to risk the viruses possibly perpetrated from that.
This time, one of the participants wanted to put video, wanted a custom header that would use his logo, wanted...in fact...a much more in-depth training than this one. This is great, because Manish (my counterpart on the staff here with whom I've been working for the past three weeks) has quite a bit of experience now with the organization's WordPress site and can offer training in advanced hosted WordPress in the future.
But it's important to note this "scope creep." We either need to make very explicit that what we are offering is a personal blog that will introduce people to the concepts and pave the way for a "real" web site...or we need to offer the WordPress training in the depth the folks seem to require from the get-go. Or maybe both.