Welcome to Mozilla Science Lab's Study Group Orientation!


Communication Channels for Study Groups

You can direct newcomers and regular members to your awesome Study Group website for basic info and a calendar of events, but you’ll want to actively reach out to members and potential members on a regular basis. You have many possible tools and channels for reaching your members: emails and email lists, social media platforms like Twitter or Facebook, your GitHub repo… and, of course face to face conversations! Use the tools that work best for your community of members. You might want to ask your members what communication channels they prefer, and use those favored by most people in your group.

If lots of your members are active on Twitter, setting up an account for your Study Group and Tweeting out event reminders or requests for session ideas, or just Study-Group relevant news (like articles or blog posts about coding or open science) might be the best way to reach members and create buzz. If more of your members are active on Facebook, start a page for your Group there. Email can be a really effective way to reach your members, if they check it regularly and their inboxes aren’t already to crowded. If email works for your Group, maintain a mailing list and send out announcements. A personal email is always a great way to encourage a member who’s missed a session or two. Personal messages and conversations also work really well when you’re requesting help running an event or finding a session facilitator.

Nobody will come to your events if you don't let people know about them! Follow these steps to effectively communicate about each individual event (this list is GitHub-focused, but if your members tend to gravitate towards an other mode of communication, post or send reminders where your members will find them!)

  • As early as possible and at least one week in advance, list your event on your website (detailed instructions are in Section 3 of this training).
  • Focus on the issue tracker. There can be a lot of links and information for an event - location, lesson notes, examples to download - stay organized by putting all the relevant information in an issue for that event, and direct all attention to this issue in subsequent communications.
  • At the start of the week, send a reminder email to all the mailing lists you have access to, pointing out the events happening that week (remember to include links to the issues describing the events, as well as a link to your Code of Conduct, and tell people to bring their friends!).
  • The morning of the event, comment on the issue describing the event - even a simple 'Looking forward to this today!' is enough, since that will send a notification to everyone watching your repo.
  • Consider webcasting your demos, so people can participate remotely. The easiest way to go about this is using Google Hangouts on Air, which directly streams your webcast to YouTube. *Don't forget to ask people to watch your GitHub repo! That way, they'll get updates about everything your Study Group is doing.