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:

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Webinars and mini-workshops

CSCCE webinars and mini-workshops are an opportunity to dive deeper into some of our core frameworks and models. They are a great way to get a taste of our more in-depth online training modules, or acquire a broad understanding of the importance of STEM communities and the role of the community manager in STEM.

Each 90-minute mini-workshop includes presentations and interactive activities designed to inspire and empower you to reassess your own work through a community-centric lens. You will come away from each mini-workshop with actionable insights, new language and frameworks to discuss collaborative work and community-building roles, and new professional connections with others in similar roles and organizations. 

Our 60-minute webinars are intended for senior managers, funders, and evaluators, as well as practicing community managers, who would like an introduction to core topics about community-building in a shorter, information-rich format. 

Wonderful experience! It would be nice to have more! 

Online workshop participant, May 2020

Series details

Virtual events mini-workshops

This series of five mini-workshops, running initially in July and August of 2021, will explore topics related to planning and facilitating engaging online events, as well as a forward-looking exploration of hybrid in-person/virtual events.

Participants can pick and choose which mini-workshops in the series to take, or sign up for the entire series. While the sessions build thematically upon one another, each stands alone in terms of content.

Mini-workshops offered in this series are: 

  • Event planning: Making a PACT for engaging virtual meetings and events
  • Event planning: Selecting tools to supplement your online meetings and events
  • Event facilitation: Making decisions during your virtual meetings
  • Event facilitation: Supporting conversations before, during and after virtual meetings and events
  • Hybrid events: Making hybrid events the best of both worlds 


Do the webinars or mini-workshops duplicate materials from CSCCE courses?

No. Our webinars and mini-workshops either go deeper on concepts and frameworks mentioned in our online modular trainings, or they cover entirely new topics. We use similar pedagogical techniques, however, so by taking a CSCCE webinar or mini-workshop you will get a taste of what it feels like to take a longer course.

Do you offer a discount if multiple members of my organization want to attend?

Yes. Others from your organization can claim a 10% discount on subsequent bookings for the same webinar or mini-workshop (on the same date and at the same time). This discount does not apply to other webinars, mini-workshops, dates, or times. Please email to discuss bulk reservations and obtain a discount code.

My job title isn’t community manager – are these intended for me?

If you are working with scientific communities or research collaborations in an academic, industry, or professional association setting, then yes. Additionally, program officers or funders who oversee community-centric initiatives, or professionals involved in running mentoring or alumni networks, might be particularly interested in some of our webinars. 

If you are uncertain if a particular session or series is right for you, please contact us by emailing

Will you be offering additional dates in the future?

Probably, yes. These initial offerings are part of a pilot phase in which we are exploring the topics and formats that resonate. Sign up for our monthly newsletter to be among the first to hear about future dates, or check our website again around September for updated information. 

Thank you for this fantastic webinar…I have loved this meeting today. I feel very energized. 

Online meeting participant, May 2020

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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CSCCE Tools Trial 2.0: Preparing for, and reacting to, Zoom bombing

After a year of working online and meeting virtually for many, we’ve grown accustomed to Zoom norms and etiquette. We all know to mute our microphones when we’re not talking, use the “raise hand” function to ask a question, and use the chat to easily share links and resources. 

Unfortunately, we’ve also grown accustomed to the threat of “Zoom bombing,” that awful situation when an outsider breaks into your virtual space, disrupts your meeting, and causes distress to your participants. While always a risk, there are steps you can take to protect yourself from such an eventuality. And, with practice, you can quickly kick a troublemaker out of your meeting, prevent them rejoining, and carry on with your event. 

Interested in finding out more? Join us on 25 March 2021 at 10am US EDT for our next CSCCE Community Tools Trial, and read on for more details. 

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CSCCE Community Tools Trial 2.0 Recap: Virtual networking events

In late February, we relaunched our Community Tools Trials. This time around we’ve adjusted the format to provide the time and space to solve a specific challenge related to hosting online events each month, by pooling the diverse experiences and knowledge of the members of our community of practice. 

Our earlier tools trials, “Tools Trials 1.0,” took a methodical approach to testing a variety of events platforms, with a primary focus on how the tool worked and what kinds of events it would be suited to (you can read our recap blog posts here). This series, however, “Tools Trials 2.0,” is putting the specific use case first, and then figuring out a solution (or choice of solutions!) that is engaging, inclusive, and accessible. 

The first of the 2.0 series took place on 25 February 2021, and focused on virtual networking events. Community member Rachael Ainsworth of the Software Sustainability Institute wanted to test out an icebreaker idea with a sizable group, as well as have a larger discussion about what icebreakers work online, what platforms are out there, and how different users might experience the event. 

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March’s community call – Virtual and hybrid meetings

For this month’s community call we’re going to try something a little different, and instead of hosting speakers, we will create space to brainstorm ideas and share experiences of running virtual and hybrid meetings. In the spirit of “working out loud,” we invite you to join the call to connect with your fellow community managers and meeting organizers to pool your knowledge. At the end of the call, we’ll synthesize what we all learn and share it on the CSCCE blog. 

How will this work? 

We will set up four themed breakout rooms with expert moderators from the CSCCE community to guide you through a series of prompts. CSCCE staff will support the rooms by taking notes and collecting resources, leaving you free to vent, brainstorm, and problem solve with others who are working to make virtual and hybrid events more accessible and inclusive. 

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