Build the Workshop Site

Jump down to: Workshop Website Structure | CMS Documentation

The SERC "Look and Feel"

You may have noticed that all the pages within the SERC system have a similar aesthetic and flow. This is intentional and helps create cohesion among the various components of the website. We encourage all web authors to follow this look and feel when creating their own pages. A handy advantage to this is that it simplifies the design and creation of your own web materials because you can follow the format of other pages. There are many examples of Cutting Edge workshop web pages to use as guidance. So, when you are deciding on how to organize your pages or what the content should include, turn to other workshop sites for examples.

Cutting Edge Site Structure

Each Cutting Edge website is broken into two parts, the topical site and the workshop site. Each is its own module with the workshop site being a sub-module of the topics site. Before you begin making pages, it's important to understand the structure of the two sites so that you put the pages in the correct place.

The workshop site houses pages that are only needed for the workshop (application, participant list, program), while the topical site holds everything else. Materials created for or at the workshop that will be of general interest should go into the topical site.

Adding a New Workshop into an Existing Topic

For any of the "encore" On the Cutting Edge workshops (such as those held at GSA Sectional Meetings, pre- or post- GSA or AGU National Meetings, NAGT Regional meetings, satellite meetings or other professional society meetings) there is already a wealth of web-based resources to support the new generation workshops. Make sure that you realize the breadth of resources that are currently available to you, and consider how can these resources best be used and how can we continue to build these resources during this workshop?

In general, you will want to

  1. Create a new sub-module for the workshop that will contain specific information for the new event. That sub-module will contain all of the materials that a typical workshop module contains.
  2. Make plans to use and expand the existing resources, either through the existing submission forms, or by creating entirely new types of collections and resources.

As you begin to develop your workshop, you will most likely work on the workshop site first. Here is a description of the pages you will need.

Workshop Website Structure

Jump down to:
Overview Page | Workshop Program | Logistics Page | Participant List | Application Form | Registration & Travel Form(s) | Contribute Forms | Workspace Pages | Legal Considerations

Workshop "index page"

(Example from Affective Domain workshop)

This page contains the following elements:

  • Title of the workshop, dates and location
  • Application deadline with a link to the application
  • An overview paragraph that speaks to the need for and purpose of the workshop
  • An image
  • A list of the conveners and their institutions
  • Attribution to the funding source


(Example from New Tools workshop)

The easiest way to begin this page is to copy the overview page from another recent workshop and change the relevant material.


  • Introductory paragraph – What will this workshop be about? What is the general format?
  • Goals – Four or five carefully-crafted goals statements. Each of these will be used for the workshop evaluation.
  • Paragraph describing the workshop format
  • Dates
  • Expectations – what should workshop participants submit before or during the workshop? In addition to that there are three standard bullets which can be copied from another workshop page.
  • Cost – with link to stipends page
  • Application and selection criteria – with link to application
  • Facilities
  • Contact info

Workshop Program

This page can start out being general and get more fleshed out as the details are developed. Consult the Design your Workshop page for tips and advice for how to structure the program. By the time the workshop is near, this page should include:

  • Beginning and ending times for each session
  • Specific title of each talk
  • Name and institution of each presenter
  • Location of each session, including room numbers

Each presentation should be linked with the PowerPoint file. This can be done before, during or after the workshop. Links to materials related to the presentations can also be placed on the Workshop Program. Sessions that result in written outcomes should also have links from the program page. This might include discussion questions used to direct small group discussion sessions, or summaries of whole-group discussions from plenary session. You can also use the program to link to Workspace pages or workshop evaluation instruments, thus creating a 'one-stop-shop' for participants to find the resources they need during and after the workshop.


Information should be provided about travel, including:

  • airport and shuttle info
  • driving directions and maps to the venue
  • information about meals, including what is included in the workshop and what participants are responsible for
  • lodging options or lodging info (if lodging is provided, it is also useful to include information about the facilities - are linens provided? will there be internet connectivity? will there be a micro/fridge?)
  • expected weather
  • what to wear
  • emergency contact information (where to call if travelers get stranded)
  • communications (will email/internet be available)
  • maps of the local area; this can include info about local restaurants and recommendations for sightseeing in participants' free time, if applicable.
The easiest way to create this page is to find a recent workshop and copy the logistics page into your module, then change the relevant information.

Participant List

An alphabetical listing of the leaders, staff, and participants and their institutions. In some cases, this page can serve as an index to materials submissions from each participant, contributed before the workshop.
Example from Teaching Oceanography | Example from Metacognition).

Application Form

Most of this form is standardized throughout the Cutting Edge program. However there is a set of questions that will be unique to each workshop. These questions may include the applicant's interests and experience, what they hope to learn at the workshop, what they could contribute, and willingness to lead sessions or help lead follow-on activities. This information can be used in the selection process and also in developing the workshop program and selecting speakers.

Making forms can be tricky, so unless you have experience with this or you enjoy playing with new tools on your computer, the easiest thing to do is compose the question set and send them to your webteam person.

Registration Form & Travel Form

Once the participants have been selected, they must also register for the workshop. This can be confusing, and many participants think they have already registered because they filled out an application form. Nonetheless, all accepted participants, conveners, and other leaders will need to register. On the Cutting Edge uses this information to report to NSF an accurate accounting of who actually attended the workshops, including demographic data.

Like the application form, the registration form is standardized. Including short answer questions such as 'what topics do you want to learn about at this workshop' or 'what expertise do you bring to the workshop' can help you as you plan the workshop program. You may also wish to add specific information such as if the participants will be presenting a poster, attending a field trip, or taking part in other optional activities. It may also be helpful to include space where participants can indicate if they have mobility issues or concerns, special dietary needs or restrictions, or other concerns that may impact their workshop experience.

You will also want to collect information about the participants' travel plans, including their arrival and departure times, travel method, airline and flight numbers (if applicable), their contact information (when traveling), emergency contact information, and whether or not they need lodging (if the workshop is providing lodging). This may be done within the registration form or through a separate form. Which option you choose may depend on factors such as form length and when you need information on the travel form vs the registration form (and if those dates are different).

If there is a registration fee or optional lodging for a fee associated with the workshop, you can include a section that allows participants to select which registration and/or lodging option applies to them and that connects them with a place to submit payment, if available.

The registration form also typically includes are some release forms that allow participants to opt out of particular aspects of the workshop and evaluation. By registering for the workshop, participants agree to allow their image to be used (still photos, video) for programmatic needs, unless they state otherwise.

Contribute Forms

Your webteam member will create a form that can be used by participants to upload materials like activities, courses, essays, presentations, talks, action plans, or session notes.


Workspaces are powerful tools that can be used during the workshop to guide discussions, facilitate note-taking in real time, and to record thoughts, ideas, and resources, and to create materials collaboratively. This information can then be disseminated during whole group discussions, used to synthesize sessions, and lend themselves to be made into workshop products (e.g. content for topical web pages) after the workshop. Careful structuring, scaffolding, and planning are required to create workspaces that provide sufficient instruction and guidance to best utilize these sessions. In addition, be cognizant of the amount of time scheduled within the program for participants to fully utilize these sessions. Learn more about workspaces and how they can be used.

Legal Considerations

Workshop participants should be made aware of the following on the web page:
  • All products of the workshop will be posted on the website, and will be freely available to the public for use, with attribution, under the terms of a Creative Commons License.
  • These products can be used by the project for future advertising purposes, and in follow-on documentation of the event, scholarly articles, etc.
  • A medical emergency form should be made available for all participants to fill out and submit to the conveners upon arriving at the workshop. This includes basic information about emergency contact information, insurance coverage, pre-existing medical conditions, medications...just in case the participant becomes incapacitated and is in need of emergency treatment. Here is the form (Acrobat (PDF) 5kB Jul20 06) to put the form into a page use the code "file 7247" in square brackets.

CMS Instructions

Step-by-step instructions for everything you do to create and edit your web page are included here in the CMS documentation.
This section is also accessible from the editing interface, so it's always just one click away.