There are numerous ways to facilitate interaction in an online event. The examples below are not a list of options that you have to choose from, but are intended to help you think of ways to maximise the impact of your contribution to Europeana 2021.
The main criteria for choosing a format is the impact you want to make with your contribution. Do you want participants to learn something from you? Do you want to learn from them? Do you want to raise the profile of a certain topic by encouraging discussions? Do you want participants to experience a thought process? Etc.
Workshops can be held in:
Large groups, where participants are asked to do assignments individually, or
Smaller groups, where participants are asked to do assignments together. The best way to support smaller groups is to have a facilitator for each group to guide them through the exercise(s).
The main questions for discussions are how many people will be talking (or might want to talk) and how big the audience is. A moderated panel discussion is best suited for situations where only a small number of people will be talking most of the time and a large audience is listening. The audience can raise their hand to ask a question live or questions can be asked through Q&A and/or chat functionality. The moderator is then also responsible for bringing these questions to the table.
Roundtable discussions are better suited if you want to give everyone the option to speak up. These can take place by dividing the participants into smaller groups. A moderator for each group is advisable during online events, as just putting people into a breakout room will not necessarily spark a conversation. Ensure that participants know what they should discuss, for example by sending them a link to a slidedeck, document, or survey. Make sure that you’ve thought about the way the results of the discussions are captured before you ask people to go into break out rooms. Presenting outcomes of each group might sound like a good idea, but online events allow for much better, faster and more insightful ways of giving feedback. For example: a survey within each group and/or a survey when everyone is back from their discussion.
Roundtables can have many variations. ‘Magic roundtables’ are where people determine the topics first and divide how much time they’ll spend on each topic before actually starting the discussion. This variation needs a (self appointed) time keeper.
Presentations might not sound like a very interactive format, but when done in a different way, they can encourage participation.. We have had good experiences based on “flipping the classroom”, where a presentation is pre-recorded and the time (that would normally be used for the presentation) is used for interaction. Other options are to stream your recording and interact live with your audience through a chat functionality. The chat can also be used for the audience to interact with each other.
Tools for interaction
Below is a list of tools that can be used for interaction with participants. Do you have your own favorite tool? Let us know. We love to get to know new tools. We will also need to evaluate whether it will be practical and possible to use the tool for Europeana 2021.
Polling and quizzes: Mentimeter and Kahoot
Polling and quizzes are ideal ways of interacting with larger audiences. The questions can quickly be answered and answers can be shared instantly. Examples of polling and quiz tools that we have good experiences with are Mentimeter and Kahoot.
Collaborative note taking (Google Docs/EtherPad)
Google Docs and EtherPads are ideal for collaboratively note taking during sessions. You can prepare the documents/pads for the session by adding headers and/or essential questions that need to be discussed and/or answered during the session. Make sure to prepare a separate document for each group/break out room. This way participants do not need to scroll through several pages or run the risk to be working in the wrong location. The documents can be left open to the public after the event, though we suggest restricting editing rights to “make suggestions” of “commenting” to preserve the information that has been collected.
Surveys (Google Forms)
Surveys can offer a structured way of gathering input from your participants. Each participant can use a survey individually or, in smaller groups, a notetaker is appointed. The notetaker can be a facilitator or one of the participants.
Brainstorming with a group can easily be done online. Tools like Jamboard and Trello make it possible to quickly get people to add their thoughts on a canvas. Want a more structured approach? Then look into online mindmapping tools, like Miro and MindMeister.