Build Instructor Guide

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Buildteacher duties

Before the shift begins:

  • Check the database (accessed by typing "data" in the web browser address bar of any networked computer inside Free Geek) to see who's expected and how many slots are open. There are usually walk-ins, and you should have some idea of how many slots are available.
  • Check the whiteboard for today's special instructions. Also check in with the staff Reuse Program Coordinator for any updates.
  • Make sure supplies are available:
    1. RAM: Replenish supplies from the Tardis.
    2. Hard drives: See what size hard drives will be needed for the build shift and get the appropriately sized wiped drives from the Tardis. Do imaging throughout the session as you get a chance, mark imaged drives with a red marker dot, place Freekbox and Regulars drives in the hard drive boxes for builders, and keep High-End drives either at the imaging station or in the Tardis.
    3. Optical Drives: Look over the optical drives and try to organize their boxes if necessary.

During the shift:

  • Greet people as they arrive, get their name, introduce yourself as their instructor and identify your fellow build instructor(s) and staff.
  • If a person is new to build, make sure they have already gone through Hardware Identification and System Evaluation by looking at their volunteer profile in the database, or confirming with a System Eval instructor. If not, direct them to the System Eval instructor.
  • Persons starting their first QC should, if at all possible, start with a very ordinary box that is unlikely to have interesting problems. We don't want total puzzlement to be the student's first experience with build.
  • When graduating a volunteer from QC to assembly, consider whether the builder is comfortable moving on and has the skills to start assembling. Also consider what Free Geek's needs are in terms of QC vs. Assembly.
  • Volunteers who have finished their QC's need to be orientated to the Build assembly process (refer to the Assembly Orientation Checklist, hanging on the wall between the research stations, for a complete guide.)
  • During the session, keep an eye out for people, especially new ones, who look lost or troubled. Help gently. Try to make sure that people are going through the Checklists and following proper procedure.
  • Make sure to show builders how to problem solve instead of just fixing issues for them.
  • Let builders know if you are leaving the buildroom and always encourage them to turn to their neighbors for help.
  • Remember that computer knowledge does not equal intelligence. Treat everyone with respect and realize that builders will have different learning styles.
  • Image drives throughout the shift to keep up with hard drive demand.

At the end of the shift:

  • Announce when the shift is close to being over and ask builders to leave time for cleanup before the next shift arrives or before we close. It is also a good idea to remind people to log their hours on the way out.
  • Start cleaning up what the builders have missed. This includes putting tools and supplies away, bundling keyboards and mice at each station, bringing dishes to the kitchen, and throwing stickers and other trash away.
  • If you are the Instructor for the afternoon shift, remember to turn off the printer, all power supplies and fans. Make sure that there are no lights left on any monitors or speakers (except for the server station).

Howto Orient New Builders

  1. Welcome the Builder, introduce yourself and ask their name.
  2. Give them a quick tour of the Build room, pointing out important things like the QC shelves, spec sheets, white board, tools/hardware locations.
  3. Explain to them the Build process. i.e., starting to QC and then moving on to assembly.
    • In QC, they are using the checklist to make sure that the computer is within spec, that the hardware and software are functional.
  4. Have the Builder grab a checklist. Ask them to read through the introductory section.
    • This may be a good time to make a comparison to System Eval: “When you were in System Eval you used flow charts, while here in Build you'll use checklists.
    • Explain useful terms like “spec sheet” and “printme.”
  5. Explain that they should go through the checklist as best they can and then feel free to use their resources to problem-solve.
    • Point out resources, such as the volunteer next to them, Google, the wiki,, the research stations and the Build instructors.
  6. Remind them to take it slow and that they're here to learn.
  7. Have fun!

Howto Checkout QCed Boxen

  • Ask the builder how things went.
  • Make sure all of the slots and bays are covered.
  • Physically check that the case is secure opening up the case if necessary. This includes the following steps:
    • Press on the power supply, slot covers, hard drive enclosure, etc. to make sure they don't move.
    • Do the "shake test" to make sure there are no screws rolling around in the case.
    • Check for and secure any loose cables or other components that might impede functioning of the fans.
  • Check the box over carefully for cosmetics. ALL sticky residue and grime must be removed!
  • Make sure the following stickers are removed:
    • Identifications of previous ownership
    • Contact information for original tech support provider
    • Microsoft COAs or windows stickers
    • Hardware branding stickers listing any components not contained in the refurbished system
  • When checking specs, please pay close attention to the optical drives and make sure the Intel 82845 graphic chipset is not being used.
  • Make sure that everything necessary is included in the notes section of the printme:
    • Anything non-functional (troubleshoot and fix if possible!)
    • Anything unusual (e.g. no PS2 ports)
    • Anything untested (e.g. Card Reader, HDMI, etc.)
    • Any physical damage
  • If there are 2 sound or video ports, make sure the non-functioning one is covered with electrical tape or the official plastic covers.
  • If you haven't seen it boot up without user intervention, check this by rebooting the system.
  • Be sure there is a Free Geek sticker on front and system ID# sticker on back.
  • Thank the builder and, for first-timers, show them how to affix the printme and where to take the finished system.

Howto Checkout Laptop QCs

  1. Visually inspect the exterior of the case:
    • Are there any asset tags/Microsoft stickers? Advise the Builder to remove them if so.
    • Is the case fully assembled? Screws tightened?
    • Is there any cosmetic damage? (Take note and confirm it has been recorded in the Printme)
    • Is there an FG-PDX/Uncovered sticker? (Take note and confirm it has been recorded in the Printme)
    • Are there Free Geek, GNU/Linux, and login stickers?
  2. Confirm that wireless works:
    • Disconnect or disable the ethernet controller, and try to browse to a webpage
  3. Inspect the Printme:
    • Confirm the system is Covered/Uncovered/FG-PDX.
    • Confirm that the battery test has been run and is included in the Gizmo Info section (before notes).
    • Check that only one storage device is installed (e.g., see if there's any mention of a Compact Flash or SD card in addition to the Hard Drive).
    • Check the notes on the PrintMe:
      • Internal/External Wireless?
      • Wifi switch/soft key (e.g., Fn+F5)?
      • Is cosmetic damage mentioned?
      • BIOS key?
      • Ask the builder to explain anything else.
  4. Reboot the system
    • Confirm it can boot without error/user input.
  5. Sign-off on the system:
    • Initial the physical Printme and sign off in the FGDB,
    • Fold the Printme in half and keep it inside of the laptop,
    • Make sure the Keeper Label has been updated (i.e., check the QC boxes),
    • Make sure the Power Adapter is neatly wrapped,
    • Thank the Builder and bring it back to Laptops.

Howto Disburse a Take-home Computer * DISBURSEMENTS SHOULD BE DONE BEFORE 5PM

  1. Make sure box is within FreekBox Spec,
  2. Fill out Disbursement info on builder's Printme,
  3. Encourage builder to QC their box, or to have someone else QC it for them (not required),
  4. Ask builder what peripherals they want and collect them from the Warehouse and Receiving,
  5. Encourage the builder to attend our New to Ubuntu class and give them a class flyer (if available),
  6. Fill the builder in on our Tech Support policy and give them a copy of the policy to take with them (if available),
  7. It is very important that the disbursement Printme gets to the Front Desk. It is preferable to walk with the builder to the front to turn in the Printme, remind them to log their hours and let the Front Desk staff know why the builder is walking out the door with computer equipment.
  8. Don't forget to congratulate the builder for completing the program and taking home their FreekBox. Ask them to take the Build survey: [1] and encourage them to continue building,
  9. If the Builder is interested in a Post-Build area, have them initiate the post-build application process.

Remember to use your resources if you get stuck!

There are always Reuse Program staff assigned to every shift that you can go to for help.

Additional Handouts for Training

Build Instructor Orientation
Checklist for new Build Instructors
Build Teaching Philosophy
Teaching philosophy of the Build program.