Collaborations Workshop 2020

From 31 March 2020 until 2 April 2020, the Software Sustainability Institute hosted the first online edition of Collaborations Workshop due COVIN-19 pandemic. They were planning to have the workshop in Belfast, UK but, due the pandemic, they decided to move it online with only two weeks before the event.

I’m not a big fan of online events because I don’t believe that you get the same human interaction that a in-person event provide. When I saw the announcement that Collaborations Workshop would be online, I knew it was something that I want to be part of because the Software Sustainability Institute moved successfully their Fellow selection from in-person to online in 2017 and they had experience to make the online Collaborations Workshop a big success.

The Software Sustainability Institute used Zoom for video and Slack for text. I imagine the use of Zoom is because of their breakout rooms and the use of Slack is because of many people are using it already. Zoom worked very well and some attendees used virtual background. Unfortunately, were impossible to see all the ~100 attendees in one screen at the same time (and your 8k resolution monitor doesn’t solve this problem, yet). Messages on Slack were friendly and the most popular channel was pets-at-cw where attendees shared photos of their cats, dogs and other pets.

Keynote, Mini-workshops and demos, and Lightning Talks were good and I recommend you to watch them when they release the recording on YouTube. Given the Institute experience with the online Fellows selection, the Discussion groups and speed blogging and Collaborative Ideas/Hack Day Ideas Session went incredible well with the help of Zoom’s breakout rooms. The transition to the breakout rooms and the return to the main room were one click away from all attendees. In the next few weeks, I believe the Software Sustainability Institute will start publishing the speed blogs in their website and you can subscribe to their week news to be notified of the posts.

The Hack Day wasn’t engaged for me, maybe because many ideas were related with online events and I was four hours behind all other attendees (time zone speaking). From the presentations, I noticed that many attendees had a fun working in a project not related with their day to day work. And some learnt that you should not use your personal Twitter account to be the bot of your Hack Day project.

Big congratulations to Rachael Ainsworth and all the Software Sustainability Institute team to run successfully their first ever Collaborations Workshop, and, lets hope, their last online one because they have the best conference social programme with board games and walks in addition to lunches and dinners.

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