I’m back from Pennsic War XL. Still coughing up the dust, tired and happy. So starts another 50 week town run.
My two Astrolabe classes were well attended, especially in view of the fact that one was late in the day and the other was scheduled very late in the war. If I remember correctly, there were 17 people in the first and at least 16 in the the second. As usual there was a wide range of students, including a forensic astronomer in the first and a jeweler in the second (the latter wanted to know about design and construction details, she has access to a rapid prototyper and injection molding. We may have some astrolabes for sale at the war yet…)
The updated handout worked much better, as did the simplified astrolabe. The flow of the classes was smoother, and I had to spend much less time sorting out confused students.
Based on my impressions, I’m going to be overhauling the handout once again. This time, instead of a basic and advanced section, I’m going to break it into chapters; with one or two concepts per chapter. Each chapter will build on the concepts in previous chapters, and will include multiple detailed examples for each new concept, as well as a review. I’m removing the discussion on time-keeping and prayer times to an appendix, and will just reference the information I need for the examples. This will allow me to cover the basics smoothly and to adjust the class time as needed: I can cover chapters until I run out of time, some classes are faster than others; so I cover what I can and make the handout clear enough that it allows a student to work on what we couldn’t cover.
The current version of the astrolabe is pretty solid. I’m probably going to keep it as it is.