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.
In this post by CEFP2019 Fellow Camille Santistevan, Associate Director of Public Relations at the Advanced Science Research Center at The Graduate Center, CUNY, she explores how an organization’s anniversary can be an opportunity to nurture community. Camille shares 5 tips for success and 3 potential challenges to anticipate.
Community-first event planning
Is your scientific organization celebrating an anniversary sometime
soon? If so, how will you be celebrating?
In the higher education and non-profit sectors,
anniversaries are often used to launch major fundraising campaigns. Central
leadership, in concert with the development office, tend to spend a lot of
time, energy, and resources to organize a big bash for external stakeholders,
with the internal community often left as an afterthought.
How can we re-engineer some of this content and programming to supercharge our scientific communities? Below are some ideas both big and small for how community managers can leverage anniversary activities to nurture community.
We’re now mid-way through the first year of the AAAS Community Engagement Fellows Program (CEFP), funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The first cohort of Fellows is made up of 17 scientific community managers working with a diverse range of scientific communities. As they continue to develop their community engagement skills and apply some of the ideas and strategies from their training, the Fellows will report back on the blog, sharing their challenges, discoveries, and insights. Today, Fellow Stefanie Butland follows up on her earlier pieces about welcoming community members and running an unconference with more specific advice.
Posted by Stefanie Butland, Community Manager at rOpenSci, – Open Tools for Open Research
I’ve raved about the value of extending a personalized welcome to new community members and I recently shared six tips for running a successful hackathon-flavoured unconference. Building on these, I’d like to share the specific approach and (free!) tools I used to help prepare new rOpenSci community members to be productive at our unconference. My approach was inspired directly by our AAAS CEFP training in community engagement. Specifically, 1) one mentor said that the most successful conference they ever ran involved having one-to-one meetings with all participants prior to the event, and 2) prior to our in-person AAAS-CEFP training, we completed an intake questionnaire that forced us to consider things like “what do you hope to get out of this” and “what do you hope to contribute”.
We’re now mid-way through the first year of the AAAS Community Engagement Fellows Program (CEFP), funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The first cohort of Fellows is made up of 17 scientific community managers working with a diverse range of scientific communities. As they continue to develop their community engagement skills and apply some of the ideas and strategies from their training, the Fellows will report back on the blog, sharing their challenges, discoveries, and insights. Today, Fellow Stefanie Butland shares tips for fostering in-person relationships in an online community with an annual “unconference”.
Posted by Stefanie Butland, Community Manager at rOpenSci, – Open Tools for Open Research
In May 2017, I helped run a wildly successful “unconference” that had a huge positive impact on the community I serve. rOpenSci is a non-profit initiative enabling open and reproducible research by creating technical infrastructure in the form of staff- and community-contributed software tools in the R programming language that lower barriers to working with scientific data sources on the web, and creating social infrastructure through a welcoming and diverse community of software users and developers. Our 4th annual unconference brought together 70 people to hack on projects they dreamed up and to give them opportunities to meet and work together in person. One third of the participants had attended before, and two thirds were first-timers, selected from an open call for applications. We paid all costs up front for anyone who requested this in order to lower barriers to participation.
It’s called an “unconference” because there is no schedule set before the event – participants discuss project ideas online in advance and projects are selected by participant-voting at the start. I’m sharing some tips here on how to do this well for this particular flavour of unconference.
We’re now mid-way through the first year of the AAAS Community Engagement Fellows Program (CEFP), funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The first cohort of Fellows is made up of 17 scientific community managers working with a diverse range of scientific communities. As they continue to develop their community engagement skills and apply some of the ideas and strategies from their training, the Fellows will report back on the Trellis blog, sharing their challenges, discoveries, and insights. Today, in the last of a three part series of reflections on the Science of Team Science 2017 conference, Fellow Jennifer Davison explores several intensive retreat models for scientific collaboration.
Posted by Jennifer Davison, Program Manager at Urban@UW
The art and practice of providing specific conditions designed to spark novel projects is not new. Business incubators, science parks, and innovation districts are each designed to bring a diverse array of bright people into the same space and to facilitate their interaction, in order to trigger and support new collaborations. At Science of Team Science, many conversations explored how to cultivate research collaborations in a specific, similar way: through themed, time-constrained, highly curated, retreat-like events. I love these events when I’ve joined them, even though they may feel a bit scripted, because the potential of the partnerships and ideas is felt so strongly. And as program manager for Urban@UW, one of my roles is to encourage such collaborations, through as efficient means as possible. So I was interested in both the best practices for setting up such events, and the evidence for their effectiveness.
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