This page provides checklists, recommendations and resources to help Carpentries community members plan for virtual (online) local and regional events.

Global occurrences, political decrees in different regions, or community preferences may necessitate virtually organised and run CarpentryConnect events. This section provides checklists, resources and a set of best practices to help guide your virtual event planning. The information contained herein is constantly evolving to include perspectives from different community members, and your input is highly appreciated.

Start Here!

This two-part checklist suggests preparatory tasks you can embark on before diving in to use the rest of the CarpentryConnect Planning Kit to organise your online CarpentryConnect event. The checklist includes guidelines on brainstorming about your idea for an online event early on, selecting dates, and getting a planning committee together before continuing on to other sections of the Virtual CarpentryConnect Planning Kit.

I just had an idea to bring people together in a CarpentryConnect!

A note to everyone with ideas for virtual Carpentry Connect events: This first stage sometimes takes a while, so do not be discouraged with the process. Sometimes the outcome of your first discussion is a decision to organise a smaller meetup first, or plan for an in-person CarpentryConnect event, rather than a virtual one. You can find our In-person CarpentryConnect Planning Kit here.

I am in the early stages of planning for a CarpentryConnect!

This section assumes that you have an idea about these three things for your event: city/region, date range and community members to help you put together a CarpentryConnect event. If not, start here.

Let The Core Carpentries Team know that you have an idea for or are planning a CarpentryConnect by emailing with as many details as possible.

Keep Accessibility in Mind

Accessibility is to equity as a foundation is to a house. A well-rounded and intentional approach to making your community spaces and resources accessible levels the playing field for all in your community, and benefits everyone in the long-run.

December 3, 2020 was last year’s International Day for People with Disabilities. Under the theme, ‘Not all Disabilities are Visible,’ the day’s focus was on spreading awareness and understanding of disabilities that are not immediately apparent, such as mental illness, chronic pain or fatigue, sight or hearing impairments, diabetes, brain injuries, neurological disorders, learning differences and cognitive dysfunctions, among others.

This is an important reminder for us all as community conveners - assumptions and observational insight are not enough in helping us put together accessible events. We have a responsibility to educate ourselves on matters of accessibility continually. We can do this by:

  1. asking well-crafted questions that invite the perspectives of the communities we are hoping to bring together,
  2. paying attention to the accessibility needs and requests for accommodation that our community members make of us,
  3. enlisting the services of subject experts,
  4. committing to apply what we learn, no matter how hard we perceive the work to be, and
  5. communicating clearly and consistently about the approaches we are taking, the challenges we are faced with, and how we hope to overcome these.

To audit your processes and decisions and ensure you are centering accessibility in your event planning, a good question to keep in mind as an event organiser would be: Can people with disabilities get the same information, perform the same interactions, and function as others with comparable ease?

“At the heart of accessibility is the notion of designing a diversity of ways for people to participate in an experience so that everyone has a sense of belonging.” (Susan Goltsman, Play for All Guidelines and The Inclusive City).

Here are ways you can prioritise accessibility as you plan virtual events:

Here is a PDF version of the checklist that you can download and use as you plan your virtual events.

Designing Online Sessions

This section assumes that community members are looking to translate session formats and experiences from an in-person event in planning for a virtual CarpentryConnect event.

In-person events are great avenues for relationship building, skillsharing, collaborative work and holding dedicated discussions. While it may not be possible to replicate all of the experiences from an in-person event in a virtual one, here are suggested formats you can adopt for your sessions in a virtual CarpentryConnect event to help your attendees engage with and benefit from one another in the sessions they sign up for: Talk Sessions We recommend running your virtual keynote, panel and other regular talk sessions in the same way that Themed Discussion sessions work in The Carpentries. Here’s a guide from The Carpentries’ Handbook that you can tweak to suit your needs.

Breakout Sessions

Birds-of-a-Feather sessions are a good example of breakout sessions in a conference setup. In a virtual event, breakout sessions present a good opportunity for event attendees to self-organise. As the event organiser:

Virtual poster session

In addition to the official conference hashtag, consider using an additional hashtag on your socials - Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram to invite virtual event attendees to share their posters.

On asynchronous short-message tools like Slack, you can set up a dedicated channel for people to add their posters, and have other attendees comment on them.

Virtual lightning talks session

Virtual breaks

Defining Volunteer Roles

Across this resource, we refer to volunteers in virtual events as community facilitators. The role of community facilitators in virtual spaces is important, and each community facilitator can take on one or more roles depending on how big the pool of community facilitators is.

Here are some community facilitator roles, and checklists for responsibilities to take on

Call Hosts

Code of Conduct Facilitators

Code of Conduct Facilitators serve as an added layer of support to report incidents to the Code of Conduct Committee (CoCc). Code of Conduct Facilitators actively monitor online spaces during the event and are the in-person point of contact to provide support and guidance to report potential breach of the Code of Conduct to the CoCc. To efficiently serve as a bridge with the CoCc, Code of Conduct facilitators:

Recommended resources

Communications Facilitators

Time Keepers

Technical Supporters

Session Transcribers

Break Facilitators

Deciding Which Tools to Use

There are lots of tools to choose from, and different ways to use them. Here is a set of prompts to help guide you as you decide what tools to employ as part of your virtual event:

Here are some tools for you to consider using:

Preparing Your Session Facilitators

The term session facilitators is used here to refer to panelists, keynote speakers, breakout session leads, lightning talk participants, and anyone else in charge of leading discussions on a specific topic in your online event.

Here’s a checklist to help you prepare session facilitators for your virtual event:

Guidelines for Effective Community Facilitation

Creating a Website for Your CarpentryConnect Event

Website Templates to Use

To help you get started, The Carpentries will soon be adding two website templates for you to choose from. You can find both templates in the CarpentryConnect repository on GitHub.

Just like this resource and The Carpentries website, both website templates will employ use of Jekyll, a static website generator, and display all information about your event summarily in a single page.

In the meantime, we recommend using these as a template:

Domain for your CarpentryConnect Website

We highly recommend cloning either of the templates to the same repository to make it easier for The Carpentries Core Team to register a subdomain for your event. Please reach out to if you would like for one of our team to work with you in this step of the process.

Call for Session Proposals

Because most conferences have established ways of asking community members to share proposals for sessions ahead of an event, with modalities for sending these online, we recommend following your most preferred approach. We recommend including this information and prompts in the sessions proposal form for your virtual event so as to know what accommodations you will need to make for your session speakers and session attendees:

Planning for Post-Event Wrap Up

Towards the end of an event, your virtual attendees may be inspired and challenged, and full of ideas, suggestions and interest to continue with conversations beyond your virtual event. It is important for virtual event organisers to think about how to conclude an online event definitively, and with calls to action to help keep attendees engaged and supported, as well as to manage their expectations, up until the next virtual event.

Here’s a checklist to help virtual event organisers plan for post-event wrap up ahead of time:

Other Helpful Resources