Initial Publication Date: February 8, 2021

Information for Workshop Conveners

It is our goal to support all workshop conveners in designing, planning, and executing workshops that follow best-practices. To that end, this page provides information about those best practices and the Serckit tools that can be used before, during, and after your workshop. If you have any questions about how to implement these features, contact your SERC support person.

Jump Down To: Building online communities | Using Zoom to support engaged pedagogies | SERC Tools to Support Best-Practices | Other Resources | Virtual Logistics | SERC Support and Deadlines

Morning Workshop Leader Webinar

Click to view or download the morning workshop webinar recording (MP4 Video 138.3MB Apr1 21)

Webinar Slides (Acrobat (PDF) 666kB Apr1 21)

Workshop Best-Practices

Planning an effective workshop is much like planning an effective learning experience for students in the classroom and lab. What goals do you have for the participants? How will the workshop effectively engage participants and ensure that the goals for participants are met? How will you assess whether participants have benefited from the workshop? Here are some best practices that have been gleaned over more than a decade of running workshops in On the Cutting Edge and InTeGrate.

Building Online Communities

We've gotten questions from many of you about how to build a sense of community among workshop participants at online events. See what Carol Ormand wrote on this topic, based on the 4-year history of online professional development for the SAGE 2YC project: SAGE Musings: Building Online Academic Communities.

Using Zoom to support engaged pedagogies

See the notes and links from Carol Ormand's June 9th interactive demonstration on using Zoom to support engaged pedagogies. In addition, don't hesitate to contact your SERC support person as you are developing your plans. We want your workshop to be engaging and successful, and we will do what we can to support your efforts.

SERC Tools to Support Best-Practices

Serckit (formerly the SERC CMS) was designed with support for these best-practices in mind. Through Serckit, you have access to a variety of tools to facilitate the run up to, execution of, and follow-up to your workshop at the Rendezvous.

Participant Email List

Each workshop has a private email list that includes the participants and convener(s). This email list can be used to broadcast information to all of your participants and can also be configured to allow discussion between participants if you wish. This can be a good way of generating participant interaction around particular topics ahead of your workshop. Contact your web team support person for the unique email address of your list.

Pre-Workshop Survey

You can use Serckit's survey tools to gather information about your participants to aid in customizing your program for them. We recommend posting such surveys far enough in advance of the Rendezvous that you will be able to get a good response rate and also have time to digest the information that you receive. If you want to run such a survey, contact your web team support person before June 28, 2021.


Each workshop comes with a private workspace for use by the workshop participants. Participants can easily record discussion notes, synthesize community consensus, draft teaching or outreach materials, develop action plans and many other activities. You can see examples of how Workspaces can be used in the context of a workshop in this Example Workspace from On the Cutting Edge. Your web team support person can help you configure the workspace to support the kind of interaction that you want to facilitate so please have a conversation with them far enough in advance to set things up.

Action Plans

If you wish, you can have participants complete and upload an Action Plan for what they will do with what they learned in your workshop. We have a generic Action Plan Template (Microsoft Word 26kB Jun15 15) that you can use directly or customize for your workshop. If you want to make use of the Action Plan in your workshop, let your web team support person know so they can build the necessary upload form in your workshop site.

Workshop Roadchecks

Those leading multi-day workshops have the option of conducting evaluations mid-workshop. These short, online forms can provide formative feedback on the structure and focus of the workshop as a way of improving subsequent sessions. Conveners will have access to the data from these forms and make use of the feedback as they see fit. Note that the data will not be anonymous. If you are interested in using Roadchecks for your workshop, select two or three questions from the question bank and communicate with your web team support person by June 28, 2021.

End of Workshop Evaluations

All workshops are required to have an End of Workshop Evaluation and you will be provided with a form to use. This exit survey will be tied to your workshop goals and is designed to get formative feedback on the workshop format and how it serves participants' overall meeting goals, as well as feedback for you. Your web team support person will build a form in your workshop site with standard questions.

Other Resources

You can read more about the lessons learned over the years of Cutting Edge and InTeGrate workshops on those project websites:

Virtual Logistics

Each workshop will be provided with a Zoom meeting hosted by a SERC staffperson. More information regarding technical logistics is forthcoming.

SERC Support & Deadlines