'Working Open' Project Guide


Facilitator Tips & Tricks

created by Zannah, MSL Instructional Designer based on a guide by Katie & remixed by Bobby

The success of any event lies with the facilitator — it’s all in your hands! Here are some tips to help you run the best Open Science event possible, whether it’s a coding workshop, sprint, hacky hour, etc.

In the run-up to the event

  1. Know your audience! If possible, communicate with participants in advance to get a sense of their backgrounds, skill levels, and interests.
  2. Make sure you prepare thorougly in advance — organization is key!
  3. Define clear objectives-- concrete things you want to accomplish, that you could test at the end of the session-- these will help you select your materials and activities. Examples: Know how to make a pull request in GitHub, defend against challenges to Open Science.
  4. Don’t overload your session; give participants enough time to process materials/activities.
  5. If possible, send out an agenda so participants know what to expect.
  6. Aim to get a good gender balance in the room so everyone feels comfortable speaking. One male for every two females is a good guideline.
  7. Build in some free time (breaks) for participants to talk and connect with each other

On-site, before the event

  1. Schedule a bit of extra time up front for people to arrive, say hello, and get settled.
  2. Welcome newcomers, or have someone assigned to do so.
  3. Orient people to the space (washrooms, etc)
  4. Engage with the participants as they arrive — chat with them informally!
  5. Encourage participants to speak up and offer their ideas/insights and questions to the group.

During the event

  1. Set ground rules — state how the session will be run, timing for the session, what is expected of participants.
  2. Speak clearly, especially if some participants are not interacting in their native language.
  3. Make sure your body language is open and positive.
  4. Have participants introduce themselves, or introduce themselves to others nearby.
  5. Listen to the participants! Appreciate their input.
  6. Know your content — again, prepare!
  7. When delivering, be confident — you’re the expert!
  8. Make time for questions, and encourage people to stop you if they get lost or need clarification.
  9. Keep an eye on the time.
  10. Where there is more than one leader/facilitator, be sure each has an active role.
  11. Create small-group activities that allow learners to try out new skills, talk, and connect with each other.
  12. Get learners teaching: mini-skill shares, code reviews, pair programming are good tactics.

After the event

  1. Invite general feedback, and ask for specific feedback on what you hope to improve
  2. Provide extra resources and offer next steps for further engagement/learning (could be links to materials, info on email lists, details on upcoming events, projects etc)