In this article, we'll guide you through the main steps of setting up your very own online workshops.

  1. Create a new workshop
  2. Define the steps
  3. Define the rooms
  4. Configure the roomsteps
  5. Test it out & rework
  6. Share the link with participants
  7. Export the data
  8. Troubleshooting video/audio problems

1. Create a new workshop

To access your workshops, first log into your platform as an administrator or project moderator. In your admin panel, there is now a "Workshops" tab where you can go to access your workshop interface.

In the workshop interface, you will see the option to add a new workshop. Clicking on this button will prompt you to pick a name and date for your workshop.

The slug defines the url where participants will find your workshop. E.g. if your slug is 'climatepolicy', the link to the workshop will be 'yourplatform.citizenlab.co/workshops/climatepolicy'.

The workshop is only visible to participants up until the end date/time that you specify here. After the workshop date/time has lapsed, only platform administrators and moderators are able to view it in the workshop page.

2. Define the steps

You can manage the different steps and activities of your workshop through the "Manage" button on the top right of the workshop screen. Once you've entered the admin panel, click on +Add step to specify the different steps that you would like to have in your workshop. Commonly, this includes a "Welcome" step at the beginning, a "Conclusion" step at the end, and a few steps in between for discussion and break-out rooms.

3. Add "rooms"

You can add as many rooms as you would like for your workshop by clicking on the +Add room button in the admin panel and giving the room a name.

There are two types of rooms: a main plenary room, where all of the participants are together, and smaller break-out rooms, which the participants will sort themselves into for more interactive discussion. As a rule of thumb, one break-out room for every 5-8 participants seems to work well.

Each time you add a new room, you will be asked to configure the video chat settings.

  • Start with microphone / Start with camera: Do you want participants' webcams and microphones to be enabled as soon as they join the workshop? (We recommend not enabling this setting for larger workshops, as having a lot of video and microphones on at the same time can create lag and noise)
  • Microphone toggle / camera toggle: Do you want participants to be able to turn their webcam and microphone off/on along the way?
  • Screensharing enabled: Do you want participants to be able to share their screens?
  • Raise hand button: Do you want participants to be able to (virtually) raise their hand so that the moderators can see who is waiting to speak?

You cannot disable these settings for platform administrators and project managers. They will always have access to all of these (and more) options, regardless of the room configuration.

4. Configure the "roomsteps"

During this step, you need to define what needs to happen in each room during each step - we call this a "roomstep." You can do this by hovering at the intersection between the step and the room that you want to configure and clicking +Add roomstep.

When you add a roomstep, you have a number of participation methods to choose from:

  1. Info
  2. Q&A
  3. Room picker
  4. Input conclusions
  5. Share conclusions

Below, we discuss what each of these participation methods entails:

Info

This method is good for information-oriented steps. You can share written information using the "Info text" text box. The info text box here (and in other steps) can be configured with basic text formatting options, including bulletpoints. You can also add an image in the text box by inputting a URL where the image is hosted. The image needs to be hosted by a provider such as https://imgbb.com/.

Q&A

With this method, you can ask your participants one or more questions. You can then give participants the option to "post" (i.e., write their responses onto a digital post-it note) and/or "vote" (i.e., upvote posts). The maximum length of written answers is 255 characters, and you can choose for the posts to either be configured as square cards or as rectangular cards that are displayed in a list format.

You could also break this into two separate steps: in one step, you could ask participants to post their responses, and in the next step, ask participants to vote on the responses they agree with most.

Note: you cannot save this step until you've added at least one question!

You can choose to 'inherit inputs from a previous step' if you want participants' answers of the previous step to remain visible in the current step as well.

Room picker

Want to have smaller group discussions? No problem. Use the "Room picker" participation method to create a lobby - it will prompt all of the participants to join a smaller break out room (these are the additional rooms that you added in Step 3: Define your rooms).

Don't forget! You will need to configure each of the smaller break out rooms with their own participation method.

Do you have several break-out rooms that require the same configuration in a given step? Create the first room with the settings and questions that you'd like, and for the other rooms, check the box to 'Share the configuration' of the first room - it will automatically copy that configuration. When you make changes to the configuration of one room, it will update all other rooms sharing the same configuration. This can be a real time saver.

Input conclusion & Share conclusion

These 2 methods are parts of the same conclusion flow. Use the 'Input conclusion' method in the last step where people are in smaller break-out rooms. This generates a text box that allows participants to collaboratively draft a group conclusion (Note: any of the participants can type in and edit the text in this box. We recommend designating one person in the room as the 'scribe' to capture and jot down people's inputs).

If you want to share these smaller break-out room conclusions with all of the participants, you can use the 'Share conclusion' method in the next step, combined with bringing people back to the main plenary room.

This would be similar to bringing everyone back together from small groups to share what they had discussed in an "in-person" workshop. In the 'Share conclusion' step, the group conclusion from all of the prior 'Input conclusion' steps are automatically shown for everyone to see.

5. Test it out & rework

You can now easily run through your workshop, test things out and check if everything is set up the way you envisioned.

If you want to go back and check one of the steps, open the 'Manage' interface, and click 'Activate' on the step that you want to go to.

Decided that you want to change the order of the steps? No problem. You can move steps between each another in the Admin Panel using the Reorder Steps button. Click on the icon, change the order of the steps, and click on the icon again to save the new order.

Note: When testing, don't add written input yourself. We currently don't have an easy way of erasing that test input later on. So you would need to completely redo that roomstep configuration in order to get rid of it!

6. Share the link with participants

The URL where people can access your workshops will be the URL of your platform with /workshops added at the end. For instance, cityname.citizenlab.co/workshops. This will bring people to the main workshops page where they select which workshop to enter.

Note: in order to ensure that the language of the platform is the right one, add the following to the end of your platform URL:

French: workshops/sign-in?locale=fr-FR

Dutch: workshops/sign-in?locale=nl-NL

Spanish: workshops/sign-in?locale=es-ES

If the language you need isn't listed above, contact your GovSuccess manager for more information. We are working to automate the language selection of the workshop and will update this support article once that is complete.

When communicating this link, always add the following crucial information:

  • The workshop is only accessible on desktop devices, so not with a tablet or a smartphone.
  • The workshop is only accessible with Google Chrome as browser.
  • For people using company laptops and networks: check upfront if your Citrix/VPN/and other security settings allows you access to this link. Sometimes, there is an issue with how the networks are configured. If you are having issues accessing the workshop, contact your IT department to see if they can modify the settings, or in a pinch, try using your personal laptop or personal internet network.

We're looking into tackling each of these limitations in the nearby future.

7. Export the data

When you're done with the workshop, you can export all of the text that was provided through the Q&A cards and through the input conclusions step. In the admin panel, you'll find an icon at the top labeled "Export Data." It will automatically download an Excel spreadsheet with this information - one tab for each step in your workshop.

8. Troubleshooting video/audio problems

If you or your participants are having difficulty getting your audio or video to work, below are a few basic troubleshooting options:

  • Make sure to turn off any other video chatting application while doing a workshop, as other tools might be using and blocking your camera
  • Ensure that the camera and microphone are enabled in the Chrome browser. You can access these settings by clicking the padlock icon next to the URL in the address bar.
  • You can also try deleting the cookies on the site and sometimes, a good refresh of the browser can also do the trick!

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