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 web team support person.

Jump Down To: Tools to Support Best-Practices | Other Resources | On-Site Logistics | Deadlines | SERC Support Staff

Morning Workshop Leader Webinar

Click to view or download the webinar screencast (MP4 Video 128.1MB Mar28 24)

2024 EER Morning Leader Webinar Slides (PowerPoint 2007 (.pptx) 8.5MB Mar28 24)

Related Resource

EER 2023 Workshop Planning: What we’ve learned from 2022 workshop evaluations (Acrobat (PDF) 49kB Apr5 23)

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.

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 by July 5.


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 (by July 5) 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 or wish to add additional questions to your Roadcheck, communicate with your web team support person by July 5.

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:



Each workshop room has Wi-Fi access and a projector. Please bring your own laptop to use for presentations (including adapters). Also, plan to bring any supplies you might need.


  • April 19: Have a clear program that can be published on the website; communicate with SERC support on features that are needed.
  • June 7: Have finalized program with details, including but not limited to, details down to the half hour on the live page; communicate with SERC support on features that are needed (pre-surveys, workspace, roadchecks).
  • July 5: Finalize details of workshop support with SERC support staff (sooner is better this is the absolute last date to make requests). Requests made after this date may not be honored.

SERC Support Staff

Note: these assignments are for pre-Rendezvous support only. You may have a different support person during the Rendezvous.

SERC Implementation Team Support Staff

Monday-Wednesday workshop staff assignments:

  • Preparing for an Academic Career in the Geosciences - Holly
  • Innovative Tools for Project Management in Academia - Mitchell
  • Improving the Sustainability of Data-rich Activities through the Community Contribution Tool - Monica
  • Teaching with Investigation and Design in the Undergrad Science Classroom - Rory
  • Designing Activities to Engage Students and Enhance Learning in Mathematically-Intensive Geoscience Courses - Mitchell
  • Wrapping your Head around Environmental Problems by Leveraging Feedback Loop Thinking - John

Thursday-Friday workshop staff assignments:

  • Getting the Most Out of your TA Experience - Holly
  • Games in Education - Holly
  • Using Online Quizzes to Promote Effective Student Learning Strategies - Mitchell
  • Using Storylines to Resolve Misconceptions about Climate Change - Rory
  • Developing Collaborative Operations Manuals for Research Groups - Monica
  • Understanding Signals in the Soil: Data-centered learning in critical zone science - John
  • Create Engaging and Immersive Earth Science Field Explorations for your Classroom - Monica

« Previous Page