In 2020, we conducted a series of virtual tools trials, to test out platforms and apps that help communities connect and work together online. Together with members of the CSCCE community of practice, we tested eight platforms, and recapped our findings on the CSCCE blog.
This Spring, we are launching “Tools Trials 2.0.” Instead of focusing on a single platform, we’ll devote each monthly trial to discussing, and hopefully solving, a specific use case. We’ll then take what we learned and share it with the broader community.
Since the global pivot to online working and convening, we’ve been working to create resources that help community managers and facilitators make their virtual meetings and events more engaging. The first two parts of our guide to facilitating engaging virtual events, a recipe book of event formats and a curated selection of resources are already helping thousands of people to thrive online.
In the newest section of the guide, selecting and testing online tools, we offer a framework to guide how you decide what online tool(s) to use. You can download this section, as well as the earlier two sections, for free.
In our sixth tools trial we went full circle to the tool that started it all: Wonder. Over the summer, an impromptu group of CSCCE members (inspired and led by Naomi Penfold) tried out what was then called YoTribe, a gathering that inspired our ensuing Tools Trials. Some updates to the platform, a new name, and some new use-cases to experiment with later, and it was time to try Wonder out again.
Our Wonder trial involved seven volunteers from our community of practice, and was co-hosted by community member Cass Gould van Praag. If you have ideas for future trials, whether it’s a tool you want to know more about or one you have experience with that you’d like to share, please reach out to us at email@example.com.
In the third in our ongoing series of virtual tools trials, several members of the CSCCE community of practice (request to join here) met to try out Gather. You can catch up on previous tools trials here and here, and get the details for our next trial, Etherpad +Video, here).
The goal of these tools trials is to get to know virtual events software, figure out what platforms work best for what types of events, and provide an opportunity for members of our community to give their feedback or share previous experiences with the platform. We are trying out a variety of platforms, from virtual conferences and workshops (e.g., Qiqochat), to ideation and brainstorming (e.g., Mural/Jamboard/Padlet), to workplace productivity (watch this space!). Have an idea for a tool you’d like to trial? Contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org.
This month, our content and programming focused on organizing and implementing virtual events. With the global COVID-19 pandemic, virtual meetings, conferences, and other events have become part of everyday life for many people, and the task of planning, executing, and evaluating them in STEM often falls to community managers. So, for our July community call we invited three members of our community of practice to share their knowledge and start a conversation about best practices.
Watch the three presentations from July’s call in their entirety.
“It’s Dangerous To Go Alone, Take This – Non-Player Characters & Prepping For Your Virtual Event” – Tom Quigley, ConservationXLabs (slides)
“It’s All About Access: Planning Meetings for Wider Audiences” – Rebecca Carpenter, Deaf and Hard of Hearing Virtual Academic Community (slides)
“Evaluating Virtual Events” – Emily Lescak, Code for Science and Society (slides)
This is the third of three guest blog posts by Serah Rono, Lilly Winfree, Jo Barratt, Elaine Wong, Jess Hardwicke, John Chodacki, and Jonathan Cain, co-organizers of csv,conf (catch up on part 1 and part 2). In this final post, the authors look to the future (and explain the comma llama!).
It would not be csv,conf if it had not been for the #commallama. The comma llama first joined us for csv,conf,v3 in Portland and joined us again for csv,conf,v4. The experience of being around a llama is both relaxing and energising at the same time, and a good way to get people mixing. Taking the llama online was something we had to do and we were very pleased with how it worked. It was amazing to see how much joy people got out of the experience and also interesting to notice how well people adapted to the online environment. People naturally organised into a virtual queue and took turns coming on to the screen to screengrab a selfie. Thanks to our friends at Mtn Peaks Therapy Llamas & Alpacas for being so accommodating and helping us to make this possible.
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.
This is the first of three guest blog posts by Serah Rono, Lilly Winfree, Jo Barratt, Elaine Wong, Jess Hardwicke, John Chodacki, and Jonathan Cain, co-organizers of csv,conf. Here, the authors share their reflections on the challenges and opportunities of moving an international conference online.
A brief history
csv,conf is a community conference that brings diverse groups together to discuss data topics, and features stories about data sharing and data analysis from science, journalism, government, and open source. Over the years, we have had over a hundred different talks from a huge range of speakers, most of which you can watch on our YouTube Channel.
In this guest blog post, Arielle Bennett-Lovell (a 2019 CSCCE Community Engagement Fellow) reflects on the third Turing Way Book Dash event, which took place 20-21 February 2020 in London, UK.
What is the Turing Way?
Science today is moving at an incredible pace, but preventing people from building on your work by making it impossible to replicate has almost certainly cost us years of progress. The Turing Way book project addresses this reproducibility crisis by collating community resources around how to design and carry out robust analyses that can be reused by other researchers in the future.
Conceived by Kirstie Whitaker at The Alan Turing Institute, and managed by Malvika Sharan, the book itself is currently hosted online and built using Jupyter Books and GitHub. Over 80 contributors across the globe built the book, through remote collaboration, workshops, and in-person events. These Book Dashes bring participants together in person to work on pieces of the book simultaneously for a full day. The third Book Dash for the Turing Way was held on 20-21 February 2020 in London, UK, and I was lucky enough to go.
In this guest blog, CEFP 2019 Fellow Arielle Bennett-Lovell considers how her community organizing efforts outside science help her in her day job as Coordinator for the Institute for Neuroscience at the University of Cambridge.
What do a local campaign to save libraries, shared allotments, extinction rebellion protests, and a society of learned individuals all have in common? All of these are groups of people brought together by a shared goal, often with the intention of using collective discussions and engagement from members to push forward a set of ideas or principles using a variety of different initiatives.
A mature scientific community, which is co-creating its programming and future direction as part of a member-led exercise, or advocating for larger societal change on key issues in broader society, shares a lot of organisational parallels with an active community outside of science. However, as community managers, we sometimes don’t see these connections and miss the opportunity to use a breadth of examples in our own organisations.
We can, and should, examine the experiences of other communities, bringing them back into our own as examples of collective organising. This can enrich planning and programming for our scientists, students, and stakeholders. I’ve been lucky to be a part of a number of different campaigns and communities outside of my day job, and in this piece, I’ve outlined some of the key aspects of collective organising I’ve picked up from outside science.
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