Content Design (CODE)

Content Design (CODE) is a six-week course that introduces a strategic approach to designing and creating community-engaged content that energizes and inspires your community members. Using new CSCCE frameworks, we’ll help you identify how to clearly share information, as well as explore the many ways content can work to empower members, highlight shared interests, and reinforce norms and expectations so that your members are confident that they belong in the community. 

During the course, we cover the fundamentals of writing clear and actionable prose. However, this course should not be thought of as a “writing 101” course – instead, it’s a design approach that can impact how you create a range of different content types for your community. 

Registration is now open for our spring 2024 cohort of CODE, which will run on Tuesdays and Fridays beginning Tuesday, 9 April until Friday, 17 May 2024.

Who is this course for?

This course is for anyone working a community-facing role that requires them to regularly generate content – think blog posts, member resources, newsletters, and more. Your job title might be: 

  • Community Manager
  • Program Manager 
  • Communications Manager/Director
  • Content Lead
  • Something else!!

Creating content might not be the only thing you do, but if it’s a core part of your work in building communities in STEM, this course is for you. 

Prerequisites 

All learners must first complete Scientific Community Engagement Fundamentals and be actively managing a community, collaboration, or team.

Where CODE fits in CSCCE’s community manager training catalog

CODE is a required course in the CSCCE Community Manager Certification Program. Priority access to CODE is given to certification candidates, however any additional places in the course are available for general registration. See below for pricing and registration details.

Course structure

CODE is a six week course, with two live, 90-minute sessions each week; one lesson, then a related Co-Lab. You can expect some preparatory reading each week, as well as homework to finish assignments, which should take between 30 and 90 minutes to complete. Your total time commitment for the course is approximately four hours per week. 

This course will involve a mix of short lectures, group discussions, individual and collaborative activities including writing activities, and group workshops (aka “crits”), in which you will practice their writing and editing skills. 

We expect learners to attend all live sessions. If for any reason you cannot attend, please contact your instructors as early as possible. We carefully design our live sessions to ensure that you have the optimal experience, especially in breakout rooms, and unexpected absences can disrupt this experience for the whole group. 

Learners who would appreciate more guidance from the instructors can sign up for additional office hours below.

The digital badge for Content Design.

Course syllabus

PART 1 (WEEKS 1-3): VOICE, TONE, AND AN INTRODUCTION TO THE INFORMATIONAL AND SOCIAL ROLES OF COMMUNITY-ENGAGED CONTENT

We begin CODE by defining community-engaged content and why content design matters. We discuss the various informational and social roles of community-engaged content that work to inform, engage, and empower your members as they participate in community activities. And we explore the voice and tone of your communications to engage different member types in your community as well as external audiences.Threaded through the first three weeks of the course is an appreciation for how you present your content, including techniques to support accessibility and style. 

PART 2 (WEEK 4): WRITING WEEK

Writing week is a chance to put into practice what you’ve learned so far, and receive feedback from your peers. We provide you with a rubric for creating and evaluating content which supports you in a series of pair and small group crits. We also briefly discuss how editorial workflows might enable you to enact a version of the rubric in your own community.

PART 3 (WEEK 5-6): CREATING CONTENT CAMPAIGNS USING CAMPAIGN ARCHETYPES

In the final section of the course, we build upon everything you’ve covered so far to discuss content campaign archetypes. These are templates that enable you to plan how to amplify engagement with a key piece of content – a content pillar – by thinking through how you promote, engage with, and summarize the pillar. This can be useful in a wide range of scenarios from hosting community calls to publishing new resources or workflows. You’ll use the archetype you create to complete a communications plan using a CSCCE template that you can reuse and modify even after the course ends. 

Instructors

This course is led by: 

  • Lou Woodley, CSCCE Founder and Director
  • Katie Pratt, CSCCE Communications Director and Content Archivist

Pricing

Our pricing structure for CODE reflects the different organizations that community managers work for and the range of available budgets.

  • Early bird discount: $995 (Register between now and 23 February 2024 using code CODE24early)
  • General rate: $1275 (for non-profits)
  • Supporting rate: $1575 (aimed at for profits and those who would like to support the participation of others. Find out more about our accessibility fund.)
  • Discounted rate: Depending on participants paying the supporting rate, we may be able offer a limited number of discounted tickets for this cohort. If you would like to participate but your organization is unable to cover the whole cost, please complete this course discount request form.

Please email training@cscce.org with any questions.

Included in the course fee

The benefits of taking CODE include: 

  • Access to worksheets and templates to use in your day-to-day community communications work
  • Dedicated time for improving your writing and editing skills through instructor and peer feedback and discussion
  • Tangible strategies for improving your community’s written outputs
  • Access to one Quarterly Skills Share Session (normally only accessible to Certification Program participants and learning members)
  • A dedicated cohort channel in CSCCE’s Slack community of practice where you can share ideas and resources with your classmates and facilitators

Participants in the CSCCE Community Manager Certification Program will also receive:

  • Assessment of select course assignments by instructors 
  • digital badge to confirm your graduation from the course (dependent on completion of all course requirements)

Office hours

For an additional fee, we can also provide individualized office hours during the course. These four, hour-long one-to-one sessions with a member of the CSCCE training team include:

  • Review of your homework / worksheets. 
  • An opportunity to explore your questions about the course materials and your answers to the activities. 
  • A weekly tip-sheet for your supervisor to help to bridge the gap between what you’re learning during the course and implementation within your organization. This includes a short summary of the topics covered and suggested questions for discussion together. 

Places for office hours are limited so please contact us early if you’d like to add this to your course participation: training@cscce.org

Testimonials

I learned so much and it was all actionable.

CODE23F participant

…[the course] helps [you] to see content creation as a structured process and demystifies it.

CODE23F participant

I really appreciated how you packaged all this relevant information together so that I didn’t have to go out and find it myself, which will enable me to use it in my work.

CODE23F participant

The breakout room assignments were thoughtfully chosen so my work overlapped with that of my breakout room partners. That was great for networking, community building, and seeing relevant examples.

CODE23F participant

Upcoming session

Our spring offering of Content Design (CODE24Sp) will run on Tuesdays and Fridays beginning Tuesday, 9 April and running until Friday, 17 May 2024.

The key dates are:

  • Tuesday lessons: 9, 16, 23, 30 April; 7, 14 May from 12:00pm – 1:30pm EDT / 4:00pm – 5:30pm UTC
  • Friday Co-Labs: 12, 19, 26 April; 3, 10, 17 May from 12:00pm – 1:30pm EDT / 4:00pm – 5:30pm UTC

Registration deadline: 15 March 2024

Past sessions

CODE23F

Our Fall pilot of Content Design (#CODE23F) ran on Mondays and Thursdays at 12pm Eastern from 9 October to 16 November 2023.

Related consultancy offerings

CSCCE staff have extensive experience in delivering communications campaigns around key items of content (such as landscape reports or new guidebooks). We can help you to think through your organization’s current content and communications approach and how you might make it more engaging for community members. We can also support you in planning and creating a specific campaign e.g., for a milestone event or publication.

If you’d like to learn more about our consulting services on this topic, please email training@cscce.org to schedule a conversation.