Openmod workshop met-a-thon

do-a-thon
zurich-2018

#1

There have been discussions at past workshops about the workshop format, usually at the very end of a workshop in the feedback session. Recurring topics included that people find the workshops generally very useful, but see much room for improvement in the format, for example, more focus and on and better organisation of the interactive elements.

As the openmod community continues growing, it may be useful to start a more focused discussion on how to continue running workshops such that they are as useful as possible for the community.

Goal of this met-a-thon:: Discuss current workshop organisation and ideas for changes (if deemed necessary and usefull); summarise discussion in a one-pager to present on day two and circulate

Examples of topics to include:

  • Focus on interactivity or focus on talks? (interactive workshop or traditional academic conference?)
  • Different schedule?
  • How to balance usefulness for newcomers and old hands?
  • Should we actively try to reach a wider part of the energy modelling landscape – e.g. beyond Europe?
  • Benefits and drawbacks of a small, non-refundable registration fee (see Software and Data Carpentries for lessons learned on why this may be a good idea)

Call for hosting the next workshop after Zürich 2018
#2

I really like to discuss improvements - but today I will join a different group - therefor only some statements:

  • Focus on interactivity or focus on talks? (interactive workshop or traditional academic conference?) => I think that the special impact for our work that the meeting has is due to the interactivity and the impressive short talks instead of giving big slots to only some people (as in common conferences).
  • Different schedule? => I prefer the short talks in the first day because then I have the following days to talk to the people about the presented tools/projects/approaches
  • Should we actively try to reach a wider part of the energy modelling landscape – e.g. beyond Europe? => I prefer to first reach out actively to include a wider community of Europe; more eastern countries and Portugal, Spain, France (that is why I also support the idea of the COST network - that could help to fund people from that countries to participate)
    (additionally there is at least a small possibility that people don’t have to fly…)
  • Benefits and drawbacks of a small, non-refundable registration fee (see Software and Data Carpentries for lessons learned on why this may be a good idea) => I don’t have a strong opinion on that; I don’t want to increase the barrier for the above mentioned countries; on the other hand the biggest hurdle might be the travel and accomodation costs… what would the fee be used for (=> coffee, small food?)

#3

P.S.: and I really like the suggestions of Ludwig about the arrangements of the groups.

And I would like to improve the continuation on subjects we already discussed (in the following meeting and also between the meetings


#4

#5

Here is a summary of the key points that came up during the discussion:

Four main issues

Diversity:

  • registration process
  • better communication (nice 1-pager) and a “counselling process”

Dissemination: spread it broader

Useful interactivity: more preparation time before workshop needed

Aim (old hands work together vs advocacy and teaching new people): separate tutorial day before the main workshop, permit people to make “requests for teach-a-thons”

*Possible main suggestion

Next workshop in spring 2019, address these issues beforehand. In particular, an advance registration with a community-based decision/voting system that gives the community control over (1) who attends and (2) the schedule. E.g. a marketplace for suggestions that permits voting and discussion on both request and suggestions.


#6

Participant selection

The question of a participant selection process other than first come first served was discussed in the final session. Another strategy is what might be described as structured queue jumping. Attached is some pseudocode that describes one approach based on this latter strategy. TIC is “target inclusiveness country”. The PDF (release 02) contains more details.

I received feedback that a willingness to contribute should also be also incorporated. Personally I am a bit reluctant to encode this feature because it may have the unintended consequence of downranking new people and the issue might well be better handled socially.

workshop-selection-algorithm.02.pdf (40.8 KB)


#7

Zürich workshop viewpoint

The Zürich workshop (6–8 June 2018) follow-up questionnaire asked “What application process for the workshop would you prefer (multiple selections possible)?”. The result is plotted below. The “one” and “more than one” refer to the number of workshops attended. More details.

There is clearly some bias away from first come first served and more so for newcomers. And also significant support for quotas (see above too). But making a contribution suggestion is the preferred method (whatever that exactly means).


#8

Hi Robbie – many thanks for the algorithm!!

How about the following two-step approach:
Step 1: until day [X], everyone may suggest workshop sessions in the forum; and everyone interested to join a session can express this by “liking” the post;
Step 2: the people who’s suggestions received sufficient likes (e.g. >3, since smaller groups could also convene outside the conference?) have their workshop-place secured;
the places for remaining participants are allocated according to your algorithm, but taking into account the group affiliation of the registered speakers

I don’t feel this would be unfair towards “newbies” as

  • without speakers, there would be no conference (like it or not, we need the speakers)
  • there should always be more places than speaking slots available;
  • if most speakers are from one group… then there would be no attendant places for that group left… only places for (presumably new?) people from the other groups

What do you think?
(Sorry I didn’t encode it in the algorithm, as I am still not familiar with your syntax…)