I think this was one of the most enjoyable meetings we've ever had, and certainly the most interactive. As the chapter president, this took very little preparation (printing, writing implements) and really required me to do nothing more than lead the discussion. My most excellent user group colleagues did all the heavy lifting, with lots of smiles.
I took my Relational Database Design exercise from the October 2012 Regional AITP Conference, printed out a bunch of copies, and handed them out to the attendees. I'd recommend this to anyone looking for a change-up in their user group. We couldn't find a speaker for January, so I thought this would be good content for our first meeting of the year.
For about 20 minutes, they worked with pens (not pencils, we're professionals!) on scratch paper for rough drafts of their design. I reminded them that knowledge of American college football was not required, and that if you were making design decisions based on sports knowledge, you're probably not on the right track.
I hooked up my laptop to the big screen TV and started up a blank database diagram in SQL Server Management Studio 2012, which many of them had not seen. The Database Diagrams tool built into SSMS is perfect for an exercise like this. I hit "New Table" and said, "What table is first?" Later, "Any more columns we need here?" "What's the next table?" "What would be the best data type for this?" While on the keyboard, I tried to make as few decisions as possible, and encourage discussion of everyone's ideas and suggestions. A couple times, we backed up the design after changing our minds. No worries!
Here's a second panoramic I took, with much less success. My apologies to the folks whose heads were vanished by the Pano app on my android phone.