Teaching basic lab skills
for research computing

Host Checklist

A workshop host is a person (or group of people) who would like to arrange a workshop at their university, research lab, company, conference, or other venue. Hosts are responsible for finding funding for the workshop, booking a room and catering, recruiting local helpers, and finding supplies like extension cords and sticky notes.

You may find it useful to look at this pitch, which explains to faculty, administrators, and others what a workshop is and why they should host one.

Getting Started

If you're considering hosting a workshop, think about:

  • Where it will be: Is a good venue available? Will it cost anything to book?

  • When it will be: Lots of factors will affect when you can hold your workshop; think about what makes sense for you and your audience. Be flexible, because instructor availability at our end will be a factor too.

  • How you will fund it: The cost of running a workshop includes instructors' travel and lodging, the cost of booking the room, catering, and any donation you would like to make to help keep Software Carpentry going.

  • Who the audience will be: Will the workshop be open to people in your lab, in your department, at your university or company, attending a conference, or anyone nearby? How many learners can you accommodate?

The answers to those questions will determine:

After you've thought about all that, fill out a Workshop Request Form or email us and let us know:

  • your location and institution;

  • your potential dates;

  • the likely audience (research field, previous computing experience); and

  • how many learners you're expecting.

Finalize Details

Together with the Software Carpentry administrator:

  • Find two or three instructors per room.

  • If there is someone at your institution who handles travel arrangements, connect instructors with them as soon as possible. If not, make sure instructors know how to submit receipts.

  • Set a date.

  • Set up registration (if you are handling it yourself) or give Software Carpentry admin the information needed to set up an Eventbrite registration page.

Local Coordination

  • Book a room, keeping in mind the ideal room characteristics.

  • Recruit helpers.

  • Discuss the workshop content and audience with instructors. (Software Carpentry admin will set up a mailing list for you, your instructors, and the helpers.)

  • If you are restricting registration to a particular audience, monitor registration. (Software Carpentry admin will give you access to the Eventbrite event.)

  • Book catering (if you are supplying coffee and snacks) or find out where the nearest coffee shop is.

  • Obtain or locate all necessary gear.

  • Check our accessibility checklist.

  • Confirm that instructors have booked their travel and that they know how to submit receipts for reimbursement.

  • If you are using something other than first-come–first-served registration, select the attendees you want to attend and let them know they have a seat.

  • Advertise your workshop.

A Week Before

  • Email workshop registrants and tell them:

    • to visit the workshop web page for setup information, workshop location, etc. Emphasize the importance of setting up their computers well in advance.

    • to let us know if they can't come to the workshop. (They can't cancel their own registration on Eventbrite—they have to email you or Software Carpentry admin.)

    • anything else they need to know about the location, parking, etc.

  • If there are cancellations, offer those spaces to people on the waiting list. (Eventbrite doesn't do this automatically.)

  • If possible, plan dinner or drinks with the helpers and instructors the evening before the workshop. (Planning to go out for drinks or dinner after the first day is not a terrible idea, either.)

  • Find out where the bathrooms are, how to work the air conditioning, and who to call if something goes wrong with the facility or network.

  • Make sure security will be expecting you and the doors will be unlocked.

  • Print out sign-in sheets.

  • Consider organizing a gathering for dinner or drinks for the participants and instructors to mingle. This is a great opportunity for people to network and for participants to give feedback in a casual setting.

  • Get emergency contact information for instructors and helpers in case of last-minute changes.

The Day Before

  • Help instructors with travel from the airport to their lodging, if necessary.

  • Check that the network is working and that any required guest accounts have been set up.

  • Check arrangements with catering (if appropriate).

The Morning of the Workshop

  • Put up signs directing learners to the room.

  • Give instructors and helpers ID badges or stickers.

  • Post network connection instructions and the Twitter hashtag you're using for the workshop (usually #swcsomething).

  • Consider including a bowl of breathmints for helpers and off-duty instructors to use.

First-day Welcome

  • Introduce the instructors and helpers by name and explain their roles.

At the End of the Last Day

  • Collect the attendance sheet and photo release forms.

  • Remind attendees of any follow-up sessions you have planned.

  • Send Software Carpentry the contact information of anyone who is interested in joining our team, or have them contact us.

After the Workshop

  • Send the names and email addresses of those who actually attended—not just registered—to Software Carpentry admin. An easy way to do this is by sending us the sign-in sheets.

  • Let us know how the workshop went.

  • Send one last email to attendees to remind them of any follow-up you have planned, direct them to other places they can find help, and remind them to contact us if they are interested in joining our team.

  • Confirm that a contribution to support Software Carpentry development has been sent, or will be.

Dialogue & Discussion

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