4 Academic Workshop Basics and Planning Tips

Are you planning to host an academic workshop? Then you already know it can be overwhelming to think of all the things that have to get done in order for the event to run smoothly.

Here, we have put together some of the most important tasks and items that you will need to check off of your list before the workshop begins. Read on for four tips to plan the best academic workshop this year.

1) IT Support Is A Must

Your focus might be on getting a venue and preparing the workshop’s content, but don’t forget about tech needs. You will need to have IT people ready and on hand to help with all the technological requirements of hosting a workshop.

Most workshops and conferences make use of PowerPoint for presentations, which require a staff of IT professionals there to help you set up and solve problems in case problems occur, especially if videos and sound are involved.

How do you find the best team for the event? IS&T Houston’s answer to IT staffing is to bring on more than just one professional. Always consult with IT staff the day before the workshop so that everyone is clear on your needs.

2) Choose a Focus and Stick to It

When you plan your academic workshop, remember that your attendees want to gain knowledge and, most times, a certificate that proves them to be capable in the subject area that you are teaching. With this in mind, you should plan carefully to maximize the time you have with those in attendance at your workshop or conference.

When you are deciding what to cover in your presentation at the workshop, make sure that you hit all the topics that are the most central to the attendee’s understanding of the subject in question.

Try not to stray too far off of these topics. Sidetracking or adding in unnecessary information can derail your schedule and cause setbacks that lead to an unsatisfying experience. Most workshops are only a day or two at the maximum, and people will be reluctant to attend an extra day if you run out of time on the first day.

3) Incorporate Breaks

Psychological studies have shown that taking breaks when studying or learning new things improves the ability to recall information. This means that when you are scheduling the day of your workshop, you should make sure that the participants have break times frequently throughout the workshop.

Even just 10 minutes between topics, or presentations for downtime will help the participants be able to recall all of the information presented more effectively.

4) Give Time For Participants to Collaborate

Using group discussions and encouraging conversations among groups of attendees will foster a better academic and learning environment. Letting the participants interact with one another is also a great way for them to meet colleagues and dicsuss their own opinions on the topic.

You can do this by posing a relevant question to the attendees and saying “among yourselves, discuss and find an answer.” After a few minutes of conversing, you can ask a few individuals what answers they came up with.

In addition to a better learning environment, you will have an opportunity to check in with attendees and receive feedback. You can see what topics need to be reviewed or clarified before moving on to the next topic.

Final Thoughts

Running an academic workshop is a difficult task to do, but it is beneficial for the individuals who are attending your workshop to gain educational credits, certifications, or a new skill for their resume.

Making the day or weekend run smoothly requires a few additional steps beforehand in the planning process to help everything go according to plan. Remember to keep the content focused on niche topics and to plan tech needs ahead of time to avoid delays.