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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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: Wonder

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. 

Since our first tangle with YoTribe/Wonder we have tried out virtual conference spaces Qiqochat, Remo, and Gather; ideation tools Mural, Padlet, and Jamboard; and collaborative workspace Etherpad+Video. You can catch up on what we thought in our series of blog posts. 

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 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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Online communities and communication tools

Many communities rely on online platforms and communication tools to stay connected and to host events. On this page we have highlighted several blog posts about building and sustaining communities online. We have also produced a guidebook, accompanying appendix, and other resources for how to get started building an engaging and inclusive community on Slack. We are working on additional resources about hosting successful virtual events.

Blog posts

Community manager experiences

From theory to practice

Guidebooks

Slack

Creating an engaging community on Slack

by Lou Woodley and Katie Pratt

May 6, 2020

This guidebook is intended for community managers, but may also serve others who are looking to build an inclusive and engaging online community in Slack.

Creating an engaging community on Slack – Appendix

by Lou Woodley and Katie Pratt

May 6, 2020

This appendix contains several resources to accompany our guidebook. It includes a Slack intentions worksheet, information about the "Invite bot," an example of a new member survey, an example of a weekly newsletter, and a pre-launch checklist.

Slack quick start guide

by Lou Woodley and Katie Pratt

April 23, 2020

This quick start guide is a brief technical orientation for Slack group members to help them to set up their profile and configure Slack notifications in a way that works for them.