Roles overview

CodeRefinery has been able to scale online workshops while maintaining an interactive feeling. This page describes the roles that we use in our workshops.

Despite the many different roles documented here, in practice many of them are occupied by the same people. Best practices below tells more about what tends to happen. One of the advantages of our large workshops is that we have many more staff on hand (often 10-15), thus allowing much more specialization than small workshop can have (thus, the large number of roles below). Many of our instructors give feedback such as “this is so much easier: we only show up and teach!”

A common pathway goes (Learner/team leader) → (Expert helper/Instructor) → (More specialized roles). Note that thanks to our team teaching or “co-teaching”, it is really easy to join as an instructor!

You can also find the common tasks in checklist-format under each roles section in the Workshop playbook.

Workshop roles


Comes and learns.

  • Does necessary preparation and attends the workshop

  • More info: Learners section

Team leader

Team leaders are only a small step above learners. They aren’t expected to know everything, but mainly keep their breakout rooms on track - they could even be a slightly more confident learner.

  • Leads a breakout room

    • keeps on track

    • makes welcoming community

    • answers some questions

    • ask for more help when needed

  • Attends a one-hour team leader preparation / onboarding session.

  • More info: Team leaders / Helpers / Exercise leaders


Obviously, instructors teach. Uniquely in our system, they have a lot of support and generally can focus on the teaching part.

  • Prepares lesson and “just teaches” without worrying about other workshop matters

  • Team teaching, you are not alone

  • Attend instructor preparation calls

  • Usually receives one-on-one mentoring in advance

  • Other times during the workshop, usually serves as an expert helper

  • More info: Instructors

Expert helper

Expert helpers are generalists who don’t have other assigned roles. Thanks to HackMD and breakout rooms, they have plenty to do.

  • All-around generalist who assists wherever is needed

  • Answers questions in HackMD

  • Supports team leaders in breakout rooms: rotates between breakout rooms and checks how things are going

  • Identifies important issues and raises them to the instructors, “voice of the audience”

  • More info: Expert helpers

Behind the scenes

HackMD manager

The HackMD manager closely watches HackMD to keep it organized and by reading it in detail, can serve as the “voice of the audience” to the instructors.

  • Ensures everything gets some answer quickly

    • Even if it is “will be answered later”

    • Can raise issues to instructors immediately if needed.

    • In general serves as the instructors’ “ear on the ground”

  • Maintenance during the workshop

    • Copies old information to archive HackMD if too much traffic

    • Organizes sections and questions

    • Notes break and exercise times

  • Processes and archives HackMD after the course.

  • More info: HackMD manager


The Host serves as the manager of learners during the course.

  • Learner Zoom meeting host (often). Often the registration coordinator.

  • Helps learners with organizational issues during the course

    • Ensures that everyone is welcomed and knows what is going on

    • Assign learners to breakout rooms

    • Answers technical questions about the course itself

  • Often the same person as the registration coordinator.

  • More info: Host


The director manages the flow of the course: preparing and cueing instructors, switching the livestream scenes, announcing schedule, adjusting schedule as needed.

  • Instructor Zoom meeting host (often). Often the instructor coordinator.

  • Cues the sessions, makes sure they flow together well.

  • Adjusts the flow when things do not go according to schedule.

  • Has sufficient knowledge of the tech setup to do the scene switching.

  • More info: Director

Broadcaster (livestream)

The broadcaster is responsible for the livestreaming tech.

  • Only needed in livestream courses

  • Installs and manages OBS control for livestreams

    • Ideally is not teaching in the first session

    • Is around in case of problems, otherwise the director does most of the scene switching.

  • Makes sure videos get processed and to Youtube in a timely manner, or at least saves them where someone else can do it.

  • More info: Broadcaster

Registration coordinator

Oversees registration and generally everything on the participant side.

  • Communicate with participants

  • Organize installation help session

  • Contact person for learners

  • Collect feedback

  • Provide participation certificates

  • More info: Registration coordinator)

Instructor coordinator

Outreach and marketing coordinator

  • Makes sure workshop gets advertised in different places

  • You can find a list of commonly advertised places in the bottom of the Workshop checklist template.

Team leader / Exercise coordinator

  • Communicate with all team leaders, contact person for them

  • Makes sure all exercises are ready and commicated before and during the workshop

  • Organize the team leader onboarding session

  • Usually attends as an expert helper to generally be available and support all leaders.

  • Collect feedback from team leaders

  • More info: Exercise coordinator

Video editor

  • Watches videos and prepares for YouTube upload

  • Uses ffmpeg-editlist to process videos after the Broadcaster has made them available.

  • Work should be done the day/evening of of the course

Best practices

Roles that are often combined:

  • Registration coordinator and Host

  • Instructor coordinator and Director

  • Expert helper and anything

  • Instructor and any other role (but not Host)

Roles that should not be combined:

  • Registration coordinator and Instructor coordinator (these two together tend to form the “core team”)

  • Broadcaster/Director and Instructor on the first sessions of each day.

  • HackMD manager and other roles (so delegate HackMD while you do something else! this is OK.)

  • Host and any active teaching (in big workshops at least - learner management keeps you busy)

Other notes:

  • HackMD manager can rotate between different people.

  • Expert helpers can replace team leaders if they cannot join the full workshop

  • Coordinators delegate