Prioritizing Accessibility in Organizing Online Events

In this guest blog post, Serah Rono and Emily Lescak summarize Serah’s presentation and discussions from her Code for Science and Society community talk on accessibility in virtual events, and share an accessibility checklist to guide you as you plan virtual events.

Accessibility is to equity as a foundation is to a house. A well-rounded and intentional approach to making your community spaces and resources accessible levels the playing field for all in your community, and benefits everyone in the long-run.

December 3, 2020 was last year’s International Day for People with Disabilities. Under the theme “Not all Disabilities are Visible,” the day’s focus was on spreading awareness and understanding of disabilities that are not immediately apparent, such as mental illness, chronic pain or fatigue, sight or hearing impairments, diabetes, brain injuries, neurological disorders, learning differences and cognitive dysfunctions, among others.

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CSCCE Tools Trials 2.0

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. 

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New CSCCE resource helps you find the right tool for your next virtual meeting or event

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. 

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November’s community call: Shaping the future of CSCCE programming

This month we spent our community call brainstorming ideas for CSCCE programming that meets the needs of scientific community managers who are facilitating online meetings, events, and conferences. We used Padlet boards to collect ideas, and these boards will remain open for a couple more weeks for any community members who were unable to join the call (read on for more information).

The November 2020 CSCCE Community Call. Image credit: CSCCE
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CSCCE Community Tools Trials Recap: Remo

For our fifth virtual tools trial, CSCCE community of practice member Mate Palfy shared his knowledge of the online conferencing platform Remo. In this blog post we offer a brief recap of the trial, and share our collaborative notes. 

What’s a CSCCE tools trial? It’s an opportunity to try out an online platform with a group of your fellow scientific community managers and see whether it might be useful for your community. We have summarized all of our previous trials on the blog so you can catch up: Qiqochat, Mural/Padlet/Jamboard, Gather, and Etherpad+Video. And, join us next week at noon US EDT for the next trial in the series, which will be networking tool Wonder (previously YoTribe). 

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CSCCE Community Tools Trial Recap: Etherpad+Video

Tools trial number four in our ongoing series took place on Thursday, 24 September. About a dozen members of our community of practice (request to join here) met to try out the new video chat integration on Etherpad, an open-source collaborative note-taking platform.

A big thank you to community member Malika Ihle, who co-hosted this trial and kindly shared her expertise and experience with Etherpad. 

Our previous trials covered Qiqochat, Mural/Jamboard/Padlet, and Gather. If you have any ideas or requests for future trials, or would like to co-host with us, let us know by emailing us: info@cscce.org.

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CSCCE Community Tools Trial Recap: Gather

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: info@cscce.org.

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CSCCE Community Tools Trial Recap: Mural/Padlet/Jamboard

On Thursday, 10 September 2020, several members of the CSCCE community of practice met to try out and compare three virtual ideation tools; Mural, Padlet, and Jamboard – which broadly try to create the collaborative experience of using sticky notes and/or flipcharts online).

This was the second in a series of tools trials to help scientific community managers source platforms that meet their needs as meetings and conferences transition online (check out the recap of our Qiqochat trial here). In this post, we recap our shared pros and cons of the three platforms, give you access to our notes from the call, and tell you what’s next for CSCCE tools trials. 

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Going Online: How we organized the first ever virtual csv,conf (part 2)

This is the second 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 (check out part 1 and part 3). In this post, the authors share their process for planning an online conference.

Planning an online conference

Despite the obvious differences, much about organising a conference remains the same whether virtual or not. Indeed, by the time we made the shift to an online conference, much of this work had been done. 

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Building Trust in Online Communities

In the second of our series of posts by the 2019 Community Engagement Fellows, Julianna Mullen walks us through her experiences building trust in an online community and sparking conversations in an authentic way. It had been the first bullet point in the job description: “Increase community engagement.”….The Community Manager for The Ocean Acidification Information … Continue reading “Building Trust in Online Communities”

In the second of our series of posts by the 2019 Community Engagement Fellows, Julianna Mullen walks us through her experiences building trust in an online community and sparking conversations in an authentic way.

It had been the first bullet point in the job description: “Increase community engagement.”….The Community Manager for The Ocean Acidification Information Exchange would be in charge of getting its member scientists, policymakers, and educators talking to one another about preparing and adapting to ocean acidification.

I’d been a scientist and communicator for some time, but I’d never been a Community Manager; when I accepted the post, I knew the learning curve would be steep, but I was excited! Fast-forward into Month Two of my employment, when I’d made a series of important discoveries:

  1. The OA Information Exchange was so quiet I could almost hear the crickets when I logged on.
  2. Using the phrase “increasing engagement” to describe the breadth, scope, and complicatedness of my work was like calling the Encyclopedia Britannica “some books.”
  3. I couldn’t rely on researching myself out of the hole because there simply wasn’t much material that spoke to what I was trying to do.
  4. I’d failed to understand that an online community, even one comprised of scientists and policymakers working on something as technical as ocean acidification, needs the same kind of emotional tending as in-person communities.

In a blind panic, I reached out to some members I knew personally and asked what was going on. What was the holdup?

“I don’t want to waste anyone’s time with my stupid questions.”

“I don’t think I have anything to contribute.”

“I’m worried people will think I’m unintelligent.”

Sound familiar?

Julianna Mullen, Communications and Community Manager, NERACOOS
Julianna Mullen, Communications and Community Manager, NERACOOS

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