Attending an livestream workshop
We are glad you would like to attend an livestream workshop. This page will help you prepare and get the most out of the workshop and take advantage of the diverse ways to attend.
Even though it’s a one-to-many livestream, the course is still interactive. In fact, it’s more interactive, since everyone can Q&A at the same time via HackMD. Since we can record without privacy risk, you are better able to catch up and review. Read on to learn more.
You might register to Zoom breakout rooms, which are interactive.
HackMD allows you to ask questions anonymously - even better than a normal workshop! Once we have a few tens of people in any workshop, people don’t ask voice questions anyway.
In some workshops, you can register for breakout rooms to get interactive assistance during the exercise/breakout sessions.
How it works
You open the livestream in a web browser. This is the “TV”, it is always on (but sometimes silent).
If you are part of an exercise/breakout group, be with them. The stream will tell you when the exercise/collaboration times are, and you go to there.
If you are attending Zoom exercise session, open this at the beginning. Leave it minimized when it’s not active.
If you are with an in-person group, be together. When the stream is quiet, you can interact freely.
The livestream is a portrait screenshare, so that it will only take up half of your screen (and the other half is for you to work). (If you are in a physical meeting room with a projector or second monitor, it can be half the livestream and half the HackMD - this will make sense when you see it).
General prerequisites, software installation, etc.
Check your workshop page for the general setup specific to that workshop.
Often, there is something to install on your own computer. (We usually ask you to set up your own computer, so you can continue working independently later.)
There may be some basic skills, such as the command line shell, to review in advance.
Do the installation and configuration in advance, and double check it. Our instructions are standard enough that someone local should be able to help you, if some central install help isn’t provided. The livestream can’t wait for individual people (but a local group can provide live support).
Take the workshop seriously
It’s easy to think “it’s just online, it’s easy to passively watch”. And that is OK! We’d rather have someone watch in case it might be useful, than exclude people who don’t have time. Our material is available for later. In this case, please don’t register for our Zoom/in-person sessions, since that can take a spot from others.
However, we design the workshops to be interactive, and there is a lot of time scheduled for hands-on work and Q&A. Reading this page and preparing will help you to make the most of it: don’t do multiple meetings, reserve the entire timeslots on your calendar, attend every session, do the preparation.
Get a good, quiet workspace. Make sure it is comfortable enough to stay at for a while.
An extra monitor is useful but not required, since there is a lot of stuff to follow: the stream itself, the lesson webpage, and the window where you are doing the assignment. You could also use a second device to watch the stream. However, we do design things to fit on one computer.
If you have registered to attend breakout rooms, you’ll be expected to talk at some times and take part, not simply be quiet and listen all the time. Try to be in a place where you can speak without disturbing others. By the same token, you’ll be listening for a long time, and your ears may get tired of headphones. If you have good enough external speakers, be somewhere that you can use them (perhaps only sometimes - when it doesn’t interfere with your microphone.)
If you work in a large office, consider attending from home or in a meeting room so that you can speak and listen more freely. If you need and extra monitor or more comfortable seating space and don’t have that at home, consider working at your office. Yes, these are conflicting ideas, you need to find what works best for you.
Paying attention to something requires time, whether it is online or in-person.
Don’t schedule overlapping meetings, reserve the entire timeslots, minimize distractions. It’s easy to think you can do multiple things at once when doing it online, but really it’s a trap.
Plan to join the stream 10 minutes early to get ready - we start with icebreakers and discussion then.
There will be breaks, but even long ones go by very fast, and this gives you limited time to make coffee, eat, etc. We try to limit ourselves to half-days because of this, but consider preparing food, coffee, etc. in advance.
Make sure you take the breaks, walk around some, etc.
We believe that livestream workshops offer a wide variety of tools which are useful to allow everyone to succeed. Consider how you want to attend to make it the best for you:
Our material is provided in writing (lesson websites), by voice, and by demo. You don’t have to strictly follow along at the speed we teach.
We record videos and post the notes so you can review at your own pace later on. Videos don’t include audience voice or video, so you don’t have to be afraid to interact.
HackMD allows anyone to ask questions anonymously and asynchronously, without interrupting others. On the other hand, there are a lot of questions, so don’t watch too closely if it is distracting. We continue answering questions for a little bit after each day ends, so you can ask even if you can’t write the question on time.
Lesson websites/HackMD use standard web technologies, so that browser accessibility plugins can be used (for example making the font more accessible, check browser extensions).
Twitch can be live-captioned using the Google Chrome browser. Our videos on YouTube provide automatic captions immediately, since videos are released immediately they don’t come too late for you. Other standard browser extensions can also provide other video accessibility services without asking us.
You can follow along without providing any personal data (registration, Twitch works with cookies blocked) - though registration helps our reporting.
Most communication goes through HackMD. Make sure that you open it and try it out during the icebreakers - it will become obvious then. There will be an absolute flood of information there, so watch strategically and don’t let yourself get overloaded.
HackMD is much better than chat, since you can ask anonymously, you can ask at the same time as others, and multiple people can answer, and we fix it up and publish it at the end.
Join the stream 10 minutes in advance. There is some advance icebreakers and discussion you can take part in, and you get to breath before we start.
There is usually discussion after the workshop. If you want, stick around and give us immediate feedback and ask more questions.
Sign up on the notify me list to hear about what comes next.
Attend with someone! Register together and try to be in their same group. You could even reserve a room and work together. This will create a network of learning and practice that will last much longer.
If you can attend a group, that is even better. You can bring your own team leader to guide you (if the workshop works this way). Research shows that groups that have multiple adopters have much more uptake of new skills.