May Community Call Recap – The who, what, when, where, why, and how of making a community playbook!

This month’s community call was an opportunity to talk about community playbooks, and the impact they can have on a community or team. 

We were joined by three members of the CSCCE community of practice, each of whom recently created a playbook as part of their participation in our newest online course Creating Community Playbooks (PBK): Allie Lau (American Physical Society), Martin Magdinier (OpenRefine), and Sophie Bui (National Center for Supercomputing Applications).  

In this blog post you can watch recordings of each of the presentations and find out more about the questions and discussion their talks inspired. We’ve also included more information about the PBK course – registration for our next cohort closes on 21 June 2024! If you have questions about the course, do reach out to training@cscce.org.

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April Community Call Recap – The impact of short-form professional development training in STEM

At this month’s community call, we were talking about the impact of short-form professional development trainings – focusing not only on how individuals use what they learned during a training in their day to day work, but also considering how such trainings may result in changes at the level of the STEM ecosystem by affecting common practices and connecting learners across projects and organizations.

The call included an overview of the Bicycle Principles, a framework for designing and evaluation inclusive and engaging trainings, as well as presentations about two different methods for gathering and analyzing impact. 

In this blog post, you’ll find recordings of the three presentations from the call, as well as a brief summary of what each talk focused on. Do join us for our call next month, Wednesday 29 May at 12pm EDT / 4pm UTC, when we’ll be taking a closer look at the application and utility of community playbooks (a.k.a. Collaboration guides, lab handbooks, and more). Add to calendar

Three bicycles stand on a set of concrete steps, with long grass on either side. The bicycle in front is pale blue with white wheels, the one behind is white with black wheels, and the one in back is black with yellow wheels.
What do bicycles have to do with short-form training? Read on to find out! Photo by Solé Bicycles on Unsplash
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June’s community call – Register for our curated networking forum!

For our June community call (and annual mid-year social), we’ll be bringing back our curated networking forum for its fourth annual offering! This is a unique opportunity to connect with others who are nurturing community, collaboration, and connection in a range of organizational settings in STEM.

Our curated networking format involves setting you up with others in the community for one-on-one and small group conversations. Registration for this event has now closed as we’ve reached capacity! If you are interested in being added to a waitlist for the event, please contact katie.pratt@cscce.org.

This call is for: 

  • Anyone working to build or nurture communities in STEM (whether or not your job title is “community manager!”)
  • Anyone looking for feedback on their community management work
  • Anyone looking for an opportunity to serve as an informal mentor
  • Those who love to network, AND those who find it a little awkward – we take (most of) the awkwardness away by setting you up with people to talk to!

Date: Wednesday, 26 June 2024

Time: 11am EDT / 3pm UTC 

Add to calendar (or contact us at info@cscce.org to be automatically added to CSCCE calendar updates)

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May’s Community Call: Creating Community Playbooks – a.k.a. Collaboration Guides, Team Handbooks, and more!

Come to this month’s CSCCE community call to find out more about creating a playbook for your community, team, collaboration, or champions program! Playbooks (which are often given various different names) are written hubs that keep your community members, community champions, or community team on the same page by making visible the who, what, why, when, where, and how of your shared work together.

On this month’s call, we’ll give a brief overview of what a community playbook is, why you should have one, and what playbooks look like in a range of STEM contexts. Our invited speakers all recently took our training course, Creating Community Playbooks (PBK), and will be sharing the playbook they created as well as how it’s making a difference in their communities. 

This call may be of particular interest to you if: 

  • You’re not sure what a playbook is, or if making one is really necessary in your specific situation
  • You’re considering joining the next cohort of PBK (which starts in July!)
  • You’d like to see some examples of playbooks in action in a range of contexts – including online collaborations, open-source software projects, and national laboratories/core facilities
  • You’re a member of the CSCCE community of practice (CoP) and would like to meet other members
  • You aren’t yet a member of the CSCCE CoP, but are considering joining
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Need a new way to talk about community management? The second CSCCE concept booklet describes “the garden metaphor”

Back in November, we shared our first “concept booklet” – a collection of essays and reflection questions that used the metaphor of a house party to discuss challenges and opportunities in STEM community management. This month, we’ve been sharing another metaphor – the garden! 

Each metaphor lends itself to exploring different concepts – the house party was great for thinking about scaffolding, and the garden is particularly “fruitful” when considering who your members are and how they interact with each other. And, as we discussed on our March community call, these two metaphors may resonate differently with you and how you think about your work. 

We’ve compiled all of our horticultural posts into our second “CSCCE concept booklet” which you can download for free, refer to as needed, and easily cite! 

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April’s Community Call: Evaluating the impact of short-form training in the STEM ecosystem

On our April Community Call, we’ll be focusing on how to evaluate the impact of professional development trainings on individual participants, their organizations, and the STEM ecosystem as a whole.

Evaluation is something that we’ve been doing more and more at CSCCE in our client work – capturing the value created in various community programs and proposing improvements for future interactions. We’re especially interested in programs that support group-based learning in some way such as those that provide training and/or mentorship for community champions. 

Over the last few months, thanks to funding from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, we’ve been turning the spotlight back on one of our own learning activities, by researching the impact of our foundational training course in community management, Scientific Community Engagement Fundamentals (CEF). At the same time, Open Life Science (OLS) have been conducting an evaluation of their Open Seeds cohort-based training and mentorship program. These evaluations have taken place on the backdrop of an ongoing conversation about how to measure the impact of short-form trainings in the life sciences in general, thanks to the work of Jason Williams and Rochelle Trachtenberg. 

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The garden metaphor for community management: Companion planting and pollination – helping your members help each other

This post is part of an ongoing series exploring a number of metaphors about community management that can support conversations about specific concepts and common challenges in a creative and free-flowing manner.

You can read more about the series – and the accompanying community calls in our overview post. For each metaphor, there will be a blog post describing the metaphor and several additional posts applying it to specific scenarios. This post is the third in a series of four posts dissecting the garden metaphor. Previously, we described the house party metaphor and we subsequently published that series as a free-to-download booklet.

A drawing of corn, beans, and pumpkins all growing together, intertwined.
In a technique known as companion planting the three crops (corn, beans, pumpkin) are planted close together. Image credit: Anna Juchnowicz via Wikimedia Commons
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The garden metaphor for community management: Tending to the many different plants in your garden

This post is part of an ongoing series exploring a number of metaphors about community management that can support conversations about specific concepts and common challenges in a creative and free-flowing manner.

You can read more about the series – and the accompanying community calls in our overview post. For each metaphor, there will be a blog post describing the metaphor and several additional posts applying it to specific scenarios. This post is the third in a series of four posts dissecting the garden metaphor. Previously, we described the house party metaphor and we subsequently published that series as a free-to-download booklet.

It’s rare for a garden to only contain one type of plant – in fact, if it did, we probably wouldn’t call it a garden, it would be an orchard, a rose bed, or even a field! And the same is true of communities. People with varied backgrounds and skill sets come together in a community over a shared purpose, but they don’t all have the exact same interests or availability. Some of their skill sets might overlap, and they might share similar schedules (e.g., members in a community of teachers might all share the same holidays), but it’s important as community managers that we appreciate our members’ differences and offer programming and activities to meet them where they are. After all – some people enjoy visiting a garden as a secluded space for a picnic, others appreciate marking the change of seasons with a box of veggies every couple of weeks, and you can tailor your programming to match. 

A illustration of a collection of varied house plants, each with it's own unique appearance and planted in a range of different pots.
Image by pch.vector on Freepik
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The garden metaphor for community management: Planting your garden – who is welcome in your community?

This post is part of an ongoing series exploring a number of metaphors about community management that can support conversations about specific concepts and common challenges in a creative and free-flowing manner.

You can read more about the series – and the accompanying community calls in our overview post. For each metaphor, there will be a blog post describing the metaphor and several additional posts applying it to specific scenarios. This post is the second in a series of four posts dissecting the garden metaphor. Previously, we described the house party metaphor and you can download all of those posts in a concept booklet

An illustration of a spring meadow, where plants with various leaf shapes, colors, and flowers flourish side by side.
Image by Freepik

When you imagine a garden, do you see a large lawn with a single bed of roses? Or do you see a space filled with variety – plants with big leaves and small leaves; vibrant red flowers and tiny yellow blooms; trees, shrubs, perennials, and annuals? 

Chances are, it’s the latter. But, it’s often much easier to plant and mow a lawn than tend a garden for a multitude of plants, each of which has its own requirements to flourish. Such vibrancy takes intentional planting, careful irrigation and fertilization, and ongoing maintenance to make sure all of your plants flourish, not just a select few. In this post we are going to focus on using  the garden metaphor to think through establishing community spaces that are welcoming and inclusive. In our next post, we’ll be talking about ongoing maintenance (aka programming) that supports multiple types of members.

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Introducing the garden metaphor for exploring community management 

This post is part of an ongoing series exploring a number of metaphors about community management that can support conversations about specific concepts and common challenges in a creative and free-flowing manner.

You can read more about the series – and the accompanying community calls – in our overview post. For each metaphor, there will be a blog post describing the metaphor and several additional posts applying it to specific scenarios. This post is the first in a series of four posts dissecting the garden metaphor. Previously, we described the house party metaphor, and we subsequently published that series as a free-to-download booklet.

Imagine yourself in a garden. Maybe you see a rose climbing a trellis, pink flowers blooming and scented. A long border filled with flowers of all different colors, bushes of different sizes, and in a couple of places large trees offer shade. A vegetable plot in one corner is filled with carrots, onions, and tomatoes, and in pots here and there lavender and mint grow tall and fragrant. All around, bees and butterflies buzz and flutter, stopping now and then to take a sip of nectar while unknowingly hauling pollen from flower to flower. 

Just like a garden, a community is made up of different member types, who bloom and flourish at different times, and who prefer different environments. And just as a gardener works to nurture and maintain the plants in their garden, so a community manager scaffolds activities and provides key resources to support community members in their activities. 

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