Weeknotes for April 10th, 2020

The top three pieces of advice I’d give anyone looking to run a large online meeting. Test, test, test and then do an additional test.

The focus of the week was prep for an online digital volunteer gathering for the Red Cross Red Crescent Societies and co-hosting with Shaun Hazeldine & Heather Leson for The Solferino Academy. We knew the number of participants would be in the hundreds, and it would need to be multi-lingual. So we tested Zoom’s Language interpretation Module, where you can run separate audio channels for each language. We also tested moving all the Spanish language speakers to a separate zoom room to run small group breakouts. We eventually figured out that to move smoothly from one zoom room to another, people need to copy the URL for the meeting, then hit the ‘leave meeting’ button before they paste the URL of the new zoom room in a browser.

Then on Wednesday, we ran the meeting for the volunteers. We had close to 700 participants. Jagan Chapagain, the Secretary-General, spoke, and we simultaneously translated him to Spanish. He took questions and answers and then we managed the feat of getting the 300 Spanish speakers to move to another Zoom room to do small group breakouts. In the English room, as I broke the remaining 400 people into 50 breakout groups, suddenly everything came to a halt, and my system became unresponsive. I realised that it was likely because I had selected the setting that forced everyone to remain on mute. I still needed to restart my zoom client, but did so without loosing the meeting, and managed to get the 50 breakout groups running.

Debriefed with Allison and Ignacio at CESR, on their relatively smooth Final Strategy Workshop on how critical their process of engaging the staff in creating the strategy over a previous couple of months. Realised after we spoke how valuable it would be to get them to reflect on their strategy co-creation process and perhaps do a case-study.

Also, Debriefed with Pablo on an online Cartoonathon held the previous week for The Solferino Academy. We talked about how the session could have more elements of ’learn by doing’: getting people into small groups to discuss images, rather than showing the image in presentation mode. Looking forward to supporting Pablo in running the session again on April 24th

Got the new [SessionDesign] list up and running, subscribing participants from the lab we held on March 26th and will continue to build the list with participants from The (Virtual) Session Design Lab on April 23rd.

Managed to get some downtime on Good Friday, but took 15 minutes to listen to Kate Wing’s, a Data Literacy Consortium participant, Intertidal Agency podcast on fish and data. I’m glad I did, thoroughly enjoyable.