Mentors

Mentors cannot participate in the hackathon. Mentors are there to help participants and cannot be a member of a team at the hackathon.
Two consecutive hours. Mentors can volunteer for additional two hour slots above and beyond the initial two hour slot.
Yes. You will be able to pick from the following time slots:
  • Friday (1-3pm, 3-5pm, 5-7pm, 7-9pm, 9-11pm or 11pm-1am)
  • Saturday (1-3am, 3-5am, 5-7am, 7-9am or 9-11am)
Any one can be a mentor. Technical knowledge is helpful but not required.
Mentor sign-up is now closed. Please go to the front desk and ask for a BC Hackathon Organizing Committee member to offer mentoring help.

See Mentors Schedule to view mentors that have already signed up.

Mentoring Tips

Mentoring isn’t teaching…

in the sense that mentors are not standing in front of and teaching a class.

Mentors…

  • Stand by on the sidelines
  • Are right there when needed
  • Focus on the learners
  • Have sympathy for learners skill-level
  • Encourage learners to go further through positive motivation
  • Ensure they have fun doing it

Creating a friendly environment

Atmosphere

  • Smile
  • Make eye contact
  • Admit when you don’t know something
  • Be kind and friendly
  • Refer to learners by name (on the name tags)
  • Tell learners it’s OK to make mistakes
  • Take breaks when it gets frustrating

Encouragement

  • Assume everyone you’re mentoring has zero knowledge but infinite intelligence
  • Use normal language instead of slang
  • Make sure the learner understood what you said…
  • …and explain it again differently if that’s not the case
  • Encourage learners to play around on their own
  • Create a safe space for experimentation

Questions

  • Look around to see if someone might be having trouble; They might just be afraid to ask
  • Come by once in a while and ask: “Hey, how is it going? Anything I can help you with?”
    • This is a very powerful tool: It helps shy learners, builds rapport and increases engagement.
    • Another tip: Sit next to them and chat about what they are doing.

Questions are good!

  • Get people comfortable asking questions
  • Emphasize that there is no such thing as “dumb” questions
  • Ask if learners have any questions
  • Give other learners the chance to try to answer that question
  • Coding is collaboration — make sure learners understand that

Responding to questions

Chances are, there is a specific question when the learner asks you to help them. How do you respond?

  • Positively:
    • “I’m glad you asked that.”
    • “What an interesting question!”
    • “Great question!”
    • “Hm, I’m not sure… Let’s look in the Internet/ask someone else.”
  • If in doubt: blame the material, never the learner.
  • Their interpretation of the material might be as good as ours!

Pacing

  • This is not about you, but about the learner. We go at their pace.
  • Everyone learns at their own pace. That’s a good thing!
  • Talk sssssslllllloooooowwwwwwllllllyyyyyyyy.
  • Wait much longer than you feel is comfortable for questions/comments (count to 10 in your head)

Be encouraging

  • Don’t accept any learner saying they are too inexperienced/tired/stressed to do it, answer that they can do it.
  • Congratulate people on their achievements, take some time to let them show them to you.
  • If learners get off the path but have fun, encourage them to go on.

Don’ts

A few things we are not doing:

  • We do not hit on anyone or make sexually suggestive remarks
  • We do not roll our eyes or laugh at questions
  • We do not use the time to advertise our own companies/jobs/ourselves
  • We do not pick on or make fun of anyone or anything
  • We do not touch their keyboard

Their keyboard – it is made of lava!

  • Learners don’t benefit from you taking over their keyboard.
  • Don’t touch it.
  • If you absolutely, ultimately must type something on their computer — chances are you don’t —, ask whether that is okay with them.
  • Explain what you are doing.

See also: