Breaking Programming Language Barriers through Webinars

The webinar chosen for review is “Python for the C# Developer” hosted by JetBrains TV. The webinar in its entirety can be found on YouTube. This webinar is aimed directly for programmers, specifically developers using the C# and .NET programming languages.


The aim of the webinar is to promote the use of the Python interpretative language. Using visual aids and actual practical programming exercises, the speaker accomplishes their goal by highlighting both the similarities and differences between the C# (pronounced C sharp), .NET–which uses the C# programming language, so it should be mentioned along with C#–and Python programming platforms. With this approach, the speaker shows that Python’s inherent portability and flexibility as a programming language enables developers increased options in their projects, to transition between languages, and inspire the attendees toward enhancing productivity.

To facilitate the webinar, the speaker puts Jetbeans’ proprietary application, the PyCharm Integrated Development Environment (IDE) up on display at all times. This is done so that attendees of the webinar can observe the exercises and examples live as the webinar goes on. When visual aids are required for the presentation, the slides were displayed in the foreground while the IDE remains in the background, serving as an anchor point of sorts of the webinar.

PyCharm from Google+

The structure of the webinar itself was in the form of a traditional classroom lecture, with the speaker giving his presentation for the first 40 minutes of the hour-long webinar, and receiving questions and other feedback from the attendees for the remainder of the webinar period. The speaker of the webinar was quite knowledgeable on the subject, and able to make the presentation engrossing and insightful to the targeted audience attendees.

In the instances during which the webinar was interrupted, a couple of them were from outside sources, and in the instance the speaker had made errors, it was excusable since said the error was an easy to make typos, and the speaker was able to maintain the flow of the webinar and keep the topic of the webinar on-track with its main goal of showcasing Python’s functionalities.

During the discussion part the speaker easily fielded questions from the attendees, readily engaging with one inquisitive attendee on the nuances of navigating the IDE, and even going so far as to type new code on the spot to expound further on the topic and clarify any questions given. The speaker’s voice was clear and confident, easy to listen to in tone and pitch, while his choices of words were easy enough to follow even for laymen listeners.

The slides were simplified and minimalist, but the content therein was more than sufficient for the purposes of the webinar. Developers can easily recognize immediately the code samples given in the slides as belonging to the programming languages discussed in the webinar. The coders themselves were, like the slides they were in, clear and easy to follow, while still adhering to accepted programming standards.

The entirety of the webinar itself was structured to integrate the PyCharm IDE, so the visuals were somewhat in favor of Python. This is not really an issue, since the slides were more than sufficient for the purposes of the webinar. The speaker was also quick to clear up any misconceptions on the languages discussed in the webinar, adding that attendees can have their own insights on the topic by gathering information from easily available sources, including the information that can be found on Jetbeans’ web site. Not quite an exact image of the webinar, but sufficient material is there to work with opt reaching the same observations and conclusions as the webinar.

Ann Handley from www.entrepreneur.com

A guide for webinars is an Ann Handley’s book “Content Rules”, and this webinar sufficiently follows the points given in Chapter 12 of the book. Although not all the tips were covered, the main prescriptions to running webinars were present and used effectively.

For the creation of the webinar, the right questions to be addressed were asked, as there is interest in the languages covered in the webinar, the primary question that is whether C# & .NET were compatible with Python, in this case they were. There is a form of momentum, since the webinar seeks to popularize the languages covered, putting developers at ease with confronting them, so that they can be better purposed as tools, not hindrances.

As the webinar is an operator with the assumptions that the attendees are developers in C# and.NET, the webinar itself focused on a more technical and localized focus, to maintain the appeal to the people who falls under the demographic of the topic. However, though the registration of the attendees is mainly done through Jetbeans’ side as a side benefit of sorts to developers looking to use their productivity tools, the webinar itself is accessible through public means and potentially anyone can attend–it only comes down to interest of the topic where the attendees come in.

The webinar has sufficient visual aids to show along with the telling of the explanations, though more attractive and entertaining visuals could be employed to heighten interest and maintain attendees’ attention. Since this is a technical webinar it is understandable that the hosts went with a more simplified approach to get their points across.

 

On that note, the hosts of the webinar moderated well, streamlining the flow of the interactions during the second part of the webinar. Both the speaker and the moderators were personable and approachable, so it made it easier to pay attention and be comfortable. No mishaps occurred during the webinar, and even if there were it would be quickly minimized due to everything already planned out in advance, including possible disruptions that may occur.

On the production of the webinar, attendee participation is encouraged, and the moderator oversaw the discussion by taking and presenting the questions to the speaker in the Q&A and feedback portion of the session. Chatter between attendees was minimal since the participants used means outside the main window to interact with each other in the discussion, such as through social back channels.

The speaker of the webinar, as mentioned earlier, was friendly and approachable, willing to interact with the audience directly when given the opportunity to do so. He even peppered his responses by inserting brief anecdotes of his experiences as a programmer and developer of the languages covered in the webinar. The speaker also encourages the attendees by looking for more information, and even gave out reference materials to research, as well as directing them to online resources such as Jetbeans’ web site as well as his own site.

There was not a lot of direct supplementary material for the webinar, but since the use of the Jetbeans’ IDE was demonstrated and encouraged, most of the source material that is the basis for the webinar can be accessed there.

 

Wrapping up, the moderator assured the attendees that their feedback will be taken into consideration, and any more questions can be made through Jetbeans’ site, or even contacting the speaker directly through social media channels. The positive response at the conclusion of the webinar is a sure sign of its success.

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