Virtual Events! Announcing a new guidebook from CSCCE

With the COVID-19 pandemic came a global shift to remote working and virtual events. Because of this, over the last few months many members of the CSCCE community of practice have become experts in planning and facilitating a range of virtual event formats. 

We wanted to celebrate this knowledge and make it more widely available, and so over the last few weeks we worked with several members of the community to consolidate our expertise into a freely-downloadable guidebook to virtual event formats. 

About the guide

The guidebook that we are releasing today is part of a larger series, intended to scaffold the planning and execution of successful virtual events that build connections and community. The remaining parts of the guide, including worksheets and a collection of additional resources, will be published in the coming weeks, so keep an eye out for more.

This section focuses on event formats, and acts as a recipe book of sorts from which you can pick and choose the event that meets your needs and those of your community. The guide contains 12 different recipes in 3 sections: 

Networking and socializing

  • Virtual coffee chat – a casual one-on-one meeting with members of your community to build and maintain relationships.
  • Icebreakers – structured activities that bring people together and set the tone for follow-up activities. 
  • Virtual social hour – an in-depth example of a social hour for a large group of co-workers. 

Information exchange

  • Demos – for example, virtual vendor showcases, hackday demos, or sprint report outs.
  • Community calls – showcase your community members and invite discussion and participation. 
  • Plenary lectures – a great way to convey information from an expert to a large audience.
  • Panel discussions – another great format for sharing expertise with a large group of stakeholders. 

Collaborative learning and building together

  • Virtual study groups – a structured format for targeted learning among a smaller group.
  • Virtual co-working – how to work effectively with a “virtual office mate.”
  • Virtual office hours – make yourself available for others to ask questions, follow up on an assignment, or address a topical issue. 
  • Collaborations workshop – come together to creatively identify and solve problems. 
  • Collaborative sprint – for example, hackathons, ideathons, game jams, or design sprints.

How we created this guide

Lou and Katie began this project as an overview summary of how to run engaging virtual events that effectively built community, but quickly realized it could be so much more. We knew that several members of our community were innovating in this realm, and we wanted to codify and elevate their contributions. 

So, we invited our co-authors to join us online for virtual writing sprints over the course of the last two months, meeting via Zoom for 60-90 minutes each to work together on an ever-growing Google doc. 

Then, we took all that information and packaged it up as an attractive PDF, invited a final round of edits from our authors, and voila! It’s now available to download from our Zenodo community repository under a CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license (find out more about what this means in terms of crediting and reuse). 

Thank you to our co-authors

A big thank you to all of our co-authors: 

RACHAEL AINSWORTH, Research Software Community Manager for the Software Sustainability Institute (SSI)

EVA AMSEN, freelance science writer

ARNE BAKKER, Director of Meetings and Community for Science at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and a CEFP 2019 Fellow

STEFANIE BUTLAND, Community Manager for rOpenSci and a CEFP 2017 Fellow

STEPHANIE O’DONNELL, Community Manager for and a CEFP 2017 Fellow

NAOMI PENFOLD, Community Manager for eLife and CEFP 2019 Fellow

ALLEN POPE, Allen Pope, Executive Secretary for the International Arctic Science Committee and CEFP 2017 Fellow

TOM QUIGLEY, Community Manager for Conservation X Labs and CEFP 2019 Fellow

EMMY TSANG Innovation Community Manager at eLife

What next?

We would love to hear from you! Let us know if you’ve used the guide and how, and if there are ways we could improve it. Also, if you have an additional format you’d like to contribute to a potential version 2, please let us know. Our inbox is always open:

Additional resources

You may also want to check out other resources we’ve produced, including our guide to building an engaging community on Slack, and this guide to organizing in-person events by one of the CEFP2019 project teams.