May’s community call recap: Creating virtual events that meet people where they are

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. 

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May’s community call: Revisiting virtual 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. 

You can join the call on Zoom, and add it to your calendar: iCal | Google

On our May call, we’re consolidating community learnings around convening virtual events. Image credit: CSCCE
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Community calls coming up in Q2 of 2022

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. 

You can find a record of our past community calls, including recaps and recordings, here

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CSCCE in Japan (virtually!): Making a PACT for more engaging virtual meetings and events

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. 

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New guidebook completes CSCCE’s core resource on using virtual events to facilitate community building in STEM

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 guidebook and a new series of mini-workshops to continue that support. 

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New CSCCE mini-workshop series on virtual events launches 20 July 2021

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: info@cscce.org

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May’s community call recap – Personalized networking

For our May community call we piloted a curated networking forum with the intention of helping our members connect and find others with similar interests or overlapping community characteristics. More than 40 community members attended the event which was a resounding success. Thanks to everyone for playing along and being adaptable as we worked together to enjoy a joyful, energetic 90 minutes!

In this blog post, we share our rationale for hosting a community networking event, as well as a high-level overview of our forum structure. If you weren’t able to attend this call, but like the sound of spending 60-90 minutes getting to know your community better, we will be offering another opportunity to network before the end of 2021. 

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Using virtual tools to enhance your meeting or event

On 21 April 2021, Lou Woodley and Jenny East of the Center for Scientific Collaboration and Community Engagement (CSCCE) hosted an interactive session on virtual events as part of the Code for Science & Society (CS&S) grantee workshop series. They focused on how to select and test online tools to help facilitate your meeting activities, and shared a guidebook to help you decide what tool to choose. This post, authored by Jenny and CSCCE’s communications director, Katie Pratt, gives an overview of the workshop and the motivation behind creating the guidebook. 

This post also appears on the CS&S Event Fund blog.

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New resource addresses virtual event security and dealing with “Zoom bombing”

For our March 2021 Tools Trial, we hosted a safety drill to refine how virtual event hosts can respond to “Zoom bombing.” As a result of the trial, this week we published a CSCCE tech tip sheet, which contains a series of checklists to help you and your team configure your meeting settings, plan out how you might respond in the event of a bad actor disrupting your event, and recover from the intrusion after the fact. 

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March’s community call recap – Sharing our collective learnings from a year of running and attending virtual events

For our March call we flipped the script, and instead of hosting presentations we made space for discussion on the broad topic of “virtual and hybrid events.” With so many members of our community of practice involved in convening events large and small over the last year, we had a hunch that by bringing us all together and carving out 90 minutes to talk, we could all learn a lot. And we weren’t disappointed! 

In this blog post, we summarize the key takeaways from the four parallel discussions that took place in breakout groups. The conversations included a valuable mix of lessons learned, ideas for supporting virtual and hybrid events in the future, and suggested resources. A big thank you to everyone who contributed, and especially our discussion moderators: Amber Budden, Emily Lescak, Chiara Bertipaglia, and Megan Carter. 

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