Tech Learning Collective

Technology education for radical organizers and revolutionary communities.


Some nice things former students and friends have said about the Tech Learning Collective. If you’ve participated in a TLC course or workshop and have feedback of any sort, please send it in to us. We appreciate hearing about your experience and are especially grateful to everyone who’s provided a testimonial below.

“100% hands-on, demonstrating how to use the tools and techniques”

One thing I majorly value about Tech Learning Collective workshops is the fact that they’re 100% hands-on—demonstrating how to use the tools and techniques in a live environment—rather than a slideshow presentation.

“their students reclaim power over the work they do and are able to truly flourish”

We can see a glimpse of what’s possible in Tech Learning Collective[. …] By going back to their digital roots, students become more aware of their immediate environment. Numerous possibilities open up when these students realize they aren’t limited to the proprietary products of Big Tech; instead, they can build what they need on their own, thanks to free and open source software.

The school also advocates for cross-pollination. Their workshops are interdisciplinary, melding technical topics with the humanities, in subjects including history and philosophy. This allows for a more holistic development for the students. For instance, like they do with all their other courses, they teach cybersecurity through an explicitly political approach. They prioritize teaching security because of their audience, as many participants are also activists. They also cultivate critical thinking by encouraging their students to scrutinize technology from an ethical standpoint. […] Thanks to their programs’ technological and political immersion, their students reclaim power over the work they do and are able to truly flourish.

“a great resource”

The instructor was great. They made the workshop [I attended] a positive and open learning environment, offered clear explanations, useful graphics, and resources to put the subject into understandable context, and was super generous with their time and personable in fielding the range of questions. What a great resource TLC is! I look forward to my next workshop.

“heighten[ed] my own digital defense practice”

During the anti-globalization movement of the early 2000s, tech collectives such as Riseup and Autistici came into existence to provide autonomous, non-corporate communication tools and “How-Tos” for social movements to organize safely and securely with emerging new media. In South Africa, the Right2Know campaign was initiated in 2010 in response to the Protection of State Information Bill, which aimed at weakening the rights of journalists and whistleblowers to access information. As part of their work, R2K has published guides for activists to protect themselves digitally.

To heighten my own digital defense practice, I recently took a virtual workshop offered by the New York-based Tech Learning Collective. This collective provides technology education for radical organizers and revolutionary communities with special attention to underserved groups. These groups, which design tools and training for activists, are not a new occurrence.

“wonderful workshops […] eminently practical and affordable”

I first learned of the Tech Learning Collective at a privacy conference in late 2020. I struck up a conversation with one of its representatives and ended up taking one of their wonderful workshops in January. TLC offers some top-notch courses on computers with a focus on cybersecurity. Unlike college courses or cybersecurity certification courses, TLC offers eminently practical and affordable content, focused squarely on doing. It’s like the difference between taking a karate class to earn colored belts and taking a personal self defense class to actually protect yourself. But it’s also much more than that, and hard to describe.

“considered, and thorough […] from multiple nuanced perspectives”

The Tor workshop [I attended] was very slow, considered, and thorough, providing hours of spacious learning and the space to fully comprehend and learn. Although I did write down notes, I doubt I’ll need to refer to them, because of the pacing and thoroughness of understanding each step.

Rather than cramming too much information to retain, the tutor respectfully provided the core information repetitively, from multiple nuanced perspectives. That way, it’s gone in, I have done the learning while in the workshop, as opposed to needing to reread notes after the fact, and try to make sense of the information.

It was inclusive and respectful, and even the platform kinda helps with that, which gives you a screen of an avatar, and the option to collaborate either with your mic for voices, or by typing in the chat box.

Thanks again, TLC! I feel empowered to do this now!

“immensely valuable, and changed my core beliefs about my technological proficiency and potential.”

[I participated in] the “Tor: What is it Good For? (Absolutely Everything!)” workshop [and] I loved (LOVED!) the workshop.

The instructor was personable, friendly, and warm, with a keen vision of the change they want to see in the world and the ability to draw that vision into reality using self-direction and their unique and valuable gifts. They use analogies and examples to demystify complex subjects and connect, and anchor, abstract concepts to concrete understanding. They are kind, helpful, informative, and empowering to students.

The information was presented in an organized fashion, with step-by-step guidance that eliminated confusion in even the most inexperienced novice. The class is geared toward creating positive change in students’ lives by helping them better understand their use of internet security and privacy. Everything taught was highly applicable and useful to the common person. (These classes work to level the playing field between those with innate technological interest/skill and those without.)

The teaching methods used (analogies, examples, demonstration, verbal explanation, and hands-on practice) address the needs of all different kinds of learners in the classroom. The flow of the class was seamless. The incorporation of questions and answers was so helpful, and the progression of the material was logical and conducive to learning. There were frequent “comprehension checks” which made the material and instructor accessible to students throughout class.

I could go on, but TLDR: This class was immensely valuable, and changed my core beliefs about my technological proficiency and potential.

“I want to take like more than half of [their] workshops”

I want to take like more than half of the workshops offered by the Tech Learning Collective.

“gain some more knowledge in IT security [at] these webinars that we can really recommend”

If you are looking to gain some more knowledge in IT and especially in IT security, [these] are some webinars coming up that we can really recommend […] held and organized by the Tech Learning Collective and will address various areas of IT and IT security. Check the event calendar out (and even subscribe)!

“extremely well organized[, with] a deep reservoir of knowledge”

The workshop I most recently attended, File Sharing for Fun and Profit, was extremely well organized and was a great presentation demonstrating the ease of using BitTorrent as well as its benefits. Better still, since the instructor at every TLC workshop I’ve attended so far mentions resources that I probably wouldn’t have learned as much about in other ways, I’m often able to double the number of valuable resources I get from attending the workshop by entering the names of things I learn about from the workshop into the search box of several search engines.

It’s clear that TLC’s instructors possess a deep reservoir of knowledge about BitTorrent and the other subjects in their curriculum. I’d encourage anyone wishing to learn more about BitTorrent, Tor, PGP, Signal, etcetera, to enroll in a TLC workshop or course in order to get the opportunity to draw from this rich reservoir!

“they describe things really well”

I can attest to, real quick, I’ve been to a couple of [Tech Learning Collective’s] events and they really not only describe things really well, but they truly start off at a very beginner level and then ramp it up.

“gay and good[,] Tech Learning Collective is rad”

If you’re looking for something gay and good to take your mind off the [Covid-19] quarantine blues, Tech Learning Collective is rad. It’s a fun way to pick up some skills for hacking the planet without having to interact with tech-industry bootcamp recruitment bullshit.

“the best school, hands down”

Tech Learning Collective is the best school, hands down, to learn about how to work with your computer. They offer regular workshops and longer courses, and have amazing, self-directed foundation courses about doing more with the command line.

“engag[ing for] curious minds”

Teaching a technical class from the terminal is a difficult proposition when you have students coming in from all over the world. The instructor of “Exploring Cyberspace: Network Sniffing and Scanning” did a commendable job getting a sense of the (virtual) room and talking at our level. Their task is probably helped by the fact that the Tech Learning Collective’s course offerings have titles and a mission that engage curious minds.

Before taking the class, I had some passing experience with one or two of the tools the instructor introduced. I would have considered myself a beginner. The instructor managed to take us into deep waters by illustrating small steps, making sure we understood the fundamental terminology, and asking us lots of questions. The scope of the class was thoughtfully limited—enough to make sure we could swim but also realize there is much more to learn. Quite an accomplishment in under two hours!

“Fun class [and] a variety of unique courses”

I took the Tech Learning Collective’s “Exploring Cyberspace: Network Sniffing and Scanning” last night. Fun class—these folks offer a variety of unique courses.

“captured my imagination and has me inspired”

I found Tech Learning Collective’s “Our Streets, Our Maps” was a highly informative and stimulating workshop. The instructor did an excellent job illustrating the great versatility of OpenStreetMap and demonstrating the wide range of queries it can satisfy. As someone who’d never before used OpenStreetMap, this workshop captured my imagination and has inspired me to plumb the depths of this valuable resource!

“an amazing educational organization that can teach you all about online security.”

In unpredictable times, we need to keep each other safe. To do so, you don’t need to be a tech whiz or fluent coder. Plenty of volunteer developers have already made tools and applications to help you and your team increase safety and privacy without sacrificing functionality.

[Tech Learning Collective is] an amazing educational organization that can teach you all about online security. I owe much of this guide to what I have learned from them and the personal research their work has inspired. TLC has recently started to do more webinars (event calendar), so their work is now accessible from anywhere!

“extraordinarily knowledgeable[,] quality instruction”

I have been to several of TLC’s workshops, on networks, git, Signal, and virtual machines, as well as their Hackers Next Door conference and a Mr. Robot-themed happy hour event. I also loved their online Foundations courses. I have found the instructors to be extraordinarily knowledgeable on an extremely wide variety of topics. They are fluent in this stuff, plain and simple, and quite good at explaining dense, complicated topics. As someone who is new to the “behind-the-scenes” of today’s technologies, I feel that I have benefited greatly from their events. After each workshop, I have numerous takeaways that help me continue to learn on my own time, but I keep coming back to their live workshops because of the quality of the instruction. I cannot overemphasize how highly I recommend Tech Learning Collective.

“very supportive to newbies […] I learned a lot”

I found out about Tech Learning Collective through an Electronic Frontier Foundation article about an event they were hosting regarding cybersecurity.

What I really liked about it, is that they were very supportive to newbies (like me) and I wasn’t too overwhelmed during the event. They made it as simple as they could. The communication between the audience and the presenter (and the teacher’s assistant) was really nice too. They tried to answer as many questions as possible and kept going for almost two hours after the event was supposed to end.

Among other things I learned a lot about the Tor Browser, brute-force attacks, and how password hashing works.

“very thorough and responsive to where students are”

I found Tech Learning Collective recently through their membership in the Electronic Frontier Alliance and jumped right in to many of their great learning opportunities. The System Administration and Operation Basics workshop is a great example. The instruction was very thorough and responsive to where students are in the tech learning process. After the session I now feel like I have a strong foundation of understanding that I can build upon in setting up tech for my business.

I’m excited to continue learning with the Tech Learning Collective team and recommend them to anyone seeking to understand the complex tech world we live in every day.

“enlightening[,…] practical, and solution-oriented”

I joined Tech Learning Collective’s “Practical Digital Security” workshop because I had heard how easy it was to find out personal information about people on websites without their knowledge or permission and their workshop description promised to show me how I could protect myself from this sort of thing.

It did not disappoint! Not only did the workshop cover this topic directly, the instructor showed us exactly how “doxing” happens and the specific data broker websites that are used. For me, it was enlightening to learn about specific companies involved (augh, Facebook, of course!) and tools that I could use to automatically notify me of my personal information being out there, like Google Alerts and Firefox Monitor.

But there was so much more, too. I’m impressed at how practical and solution-oriented the whole experience felt. At the end of the workshop, I got the feeling that everyone got all their questions answered, which is really rare for classes like this.

“just the right combination of informative and challenging”

I really enjoyed the Clearing Away the Clouds class on networking. I know only a tiny bit about networking but am trying to learn more to be a responsible and safe digital citizen. This class was just the right combination of informative and challenging. The instructutor definitely dove into some really complicated ideas but always took the time to go back and make sure that we understood.

“Outstanding webinar taught by a phenominal instructor!”

Outstanding webinar taught by a phenomenal instructor! [My TLC instructor] was not only a wealth of knowledge, but was also engaging, patient, and knew how to explain even the most complex concepts in a way that everyone can understand. As a software teacher myself, I always appreciate high-quality instruction that not only educates, but also does so in a fun, and efficient manner. I can safely say that I have learned more about computers in the single Tech Learning Collective “Digital Defenses for the People: Practical Digital Security” workshop I attended than I have in four years of college. I cannot recommend the Tech Learning Collective highly enough!

“facilitates direct community participation [in] providing for the community and neighborhood's own needs.”

In collaboration with artists, hacklabs, makerspaces, independent bookstores, and local businesses, Tech Learning Collective further facilitates direct community participation in the construction and operation of autonomous digital infrastructure services focused on providing for the community and neighborhood’s own needs. […Through] partnerships with […] community organizations, Tech Learning Collective students can build on their classroom or workshop trainings by getting involved in real-life projects that require skills such as network and site reliability engineering, development operations, and computer security.


We are excited to support their work as they expand their mission around New York City.

“I really appreciate the femme-friendly communications”

When I attended Tech Learning Collective’s “Securing Email” PGP workshop, I was expecting more of a simple how-to, but the instructor was detailed and informative, and went deeper to show us what encryption really is, how keys work, and where to find more information. The workshop was thorough but unintimidating and the instructor did a good job of checking the group’s temperature and staying in tune with our respective paces of learning and skill set. Also I really appreciate the femme-friendly communications and price structure.

“cogent, concise, and free of unnecessary technical jargon”

TLC’s workshop on securing email was very well organized and easy to follow. At every step of the way during demonstrations, actions taken were clearly explained along with their intended purpose. The instructor’s delivery was cogent, concise, and free of unnecessary technical jargon. The instructor facilitated an informative conversation with attendees about encryption and related issues. This workshop provided a convincing case for using encryption and demonstrated how easily it can be implemented. I look forward to setting up encryption for my personal communications and reaping the benefits.

“I’m learning way more in Tech Learning Collective workshops than my college classroom”

The amount I’m learning in Tech Learning Collective workshops is way more than what I was learning in my college classroom. As a computer science major, most of the curriculum was all about theory and had very little practical work. TLC more than fills in that gap for me. Another reason I’m frequenting TLC events is for their community! I would’ve never known how vibrant TLC’s alternative tech community was. I’m definitely looking forward to participating in as many Tech Learning Collective events and courses as possible.

“simply so illuminating”

I knew that I have a lot to learn about digital security and online privacy, but I didn’t know exactly what I had to learn, or how to start. After I took Tech Learning Collective’s Signal and Surveillance workshop, though, the things I didn’t know that I didn’t know became a lot clearer. At the same time, the workshop got me jazzed to take other courses from them. It was simply so illuminating!

“helped demystify how computers are set up”

As a Data Scientist coming from statistics instead of computer science, Tech Learning Collective’s NET101 course and their Clearing Away the Clouds: How Computer Networks, Servers, and the Internet Work workshop helped demystify how computers are set up and talk to one another. The concepts were broken down into easy to digest bite sized pieces allowing the unfamiliar language to become new and accessible vocabulary, which upon reflection seemed to be the biggest hurdle in my understanding. Thanks so much!

“immensely helpful…tools that I could use in everyday life”

The Practical Digital Security workshop [I attended] was immensely helpful. It provided me with a sense of calm, explained different levels of threat, and left me with tools that I could use in everyday life. The class not only helped me as an individual, but in ways I could share with my work, friends, and family. The teaching style was informative and engaging. It was a very well-spent Saturday!

“inspired me to check out my packets while surfing the web on Tor”

Jackie and I attended a workshop about Tor by the Tech Learning Collective this weekend, and it inspired me to check out my packets while surfing the web on Tor.

“welcoming for beginners, but still engaging for more experienced people”

[A]fter checking the[ir Gone Phishing workshop] out, I highly recommend!! I’ve gone to a lot of meetups, including a few cybersecurity workshops, and what they are doing is really top of the line. The workshop was a good middle ground of welcoming for beginners, but still engaging for more experienced people. I learned so much! It was well-paced and had a tight, manageable scope, but I also walked away with a ton of links of additional resources to explore on my own time. So if you’re in the NYC area and have the chance, definitely check out their calendar!