The COVID-19 pandemic transformed virtual events. Connecting online suddenly became the only way to convene groups large and small, for short meetings or multi-day conferences, and community managers often found themselves developing new meeting formats or learning to use new platforms and tools.
Fast forward to June 2023, and a lot has changed. Platforms have evolved (and sometimes dissolved), event organizers have mastered their own suites of engagement tools, and, as participants, we’re more seasoned (although “you’re on mute!” remains a frequent refrain in Zoom meetings!).
We’ve also gained a much deeper appreciation for what it means to host a truly accessible online event. While online events opened up spaces to many people who’d previously been excluded (e.g., through reduced registration, travel, or childcare costs), for others, it made it even harder to participate.
In a new resource we’ve been working on with community members Rebecca Carpenter, Sara Kobillka, Casey Wright, Yanina Bellini Saibene, and Hao Ye, we offer 12 guiding questions to help you think about the ways that you could improve the accessibility of your community events. And in this blog post, we share our three top tips.
Over the past few months, we’ve been delighted to work with Yani Bellini Saibene at rOpenSci as she’s designed and built a brand new champions program. One of the ways we’ve been supporting that work is by delivering an online training for the new champions in how to design and host successful meetings. This month we used our “making a PACT” framework for more engaging meetings and events – and after reaching out to the participants to ask about their accessibility requirements, we were prompted to make some adjustments to how we facilitated the workshop and shared materials.
Community managers are always learning about new tools and making improvements to how we support community members – and this approach is no different for CSCCE staff! So in the spirit of “working out loud”, this blog post includes more information about the PACT framework and how we updated our existing workshop to make it more accessible.
In the second of our Summer 2022 community tools trials, CSCCE staff members Adrienne and Katie and several members of our community of practice met to “Escape the Island” in Gather. We actually ended up trying to escape a dungeon labyrinth (read on to find out why!) and explored how best to use these tools at virtual networking events.
CSCCE tools trials resumed for a short run of three sessions on Wednesday, 13 July 2022. A combination of CSCCE staff and community of practice members spent 60 minutes trying out the facilitation platform Butter, and in this blog post we share some of the features we tried and what we thought.
Two years after the pandemic pushed the majority of events online, we invited community members to discuss when virtual and hybrid formats work well, when they work poorly, and the tools that lead to success.
We also hosted a co-working session, during which we worked on a virtual events glossary and an updated version of our guidebook of curated virtual events resources – two items we’ll release soon. In this blog post, we offer some of the key takeaways from this month’s community call, in the hopes that it helps you plan engaging and inclusive events.
Join us on 18 May at 3pm UTC / 11am EDT for a conversation about virtual events: what we’ve learned after two years of online gatherings. We’ll make space for discussion, considering what the future of hybrid events look like, and host writing sprints to co-create new resources.
Believe it or not, a quarter of 2022 is already behind us. So, we’re looking ahead to what’s coming up in our monthly community calls over the next three months.
If you’ve never been to a CSCCE community call, these are monthly virtual gatherings (kind of like a webinar, but more interactive!) for anyone interested in building communities in STEM. Most participants on the calls are members of our community of practice, and we regularly invite members to present or lead discussions. Calls are scheduled for 90 minutes to allow conversations to blossom and diverge, but we also appreciate 60 minutes is typical for virtual meetings and so if you have to leave at the top of the hour there’s no need to apologize.
We do not routinely record calls, however if there are formal presentations we make those available after the fact on our YouTube channel. Our rationale is that by not recording the calls we afford more opportunity for participants to speak candidly in a protected space, and, to ensure people who are unable to attend benefit from shared learnings, we publish blog post recaps within a week after the call.
The Japan SciCom Forum took place online 26-27 October 2021. The event was hosted by the Earth-Life Science Institute (ELSI) in Tokyo, and focused on giving participants practical tools for communicating about science in English.
CSCCE’s Lou Woodley and Camille Santistevan facilitated a workshop at the forum, sharing our PACT framework for virtual event planning, and staying up way past their bedtime to participate on Tokyo time! In this post, we share a little bit more about the event, our workshop, and how you can request a similar workshop for your organization or event.
The COVID-19 pandemic has underlined the importance of intentionality and good planning in making the most of virtual gatherings. Whether engaging in ideation sessions, report outs, networking, project planning or seminars, we’ve seen how careful choices ahead of the event and thoughtful facilitation during and afterwards can lead to more enjoyable and inclusive experiences for everyone in the virtual room.
To support this transition online, over the course of the last year CSCCE has published a series of resources to help community managers and event organizers – including tip sheets, guidebooks and write-ups of different tools. Today we’re pleased to share a new guidebookand a new series of mini-workshops to continue that support.
Starting this July, we’re piloting a new 90-minute mini-workshop format as part of our expanding professional development curriculum to support community managers in STEM. Our first series will focus on planning and facilitating virtual events, with five standalone mini-workshops for you to choose from. Take one or take them all!
In this blog post, we answer any questions you might have about the virtual events series, but if we’ve missed something, please email us at: email@example.com.
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