4 Getting Organized


Author: Celia Popovic


Paul was thrilled to be hosting his first workshop. He had carefully researched the topic, ensured it was what the participants required, and had his materials ready. As the participants began to arrive, he was pleased to see them talking to each other. However, as he started the session, one of the participants interrupted to ask his colleagues what they thought about a controversial topic dominating conversation at the university at that time. Before he knew it, ten minutes of the workshop had been lost and the audience were focussed on the controversial topic instead of the workshop content. Fortunately, Paul was resourceful, confident and calm. He soon managed to gain the attention of the participants and got back on track with his original plan.


Workshops and webinars (online workshops) are a key staple in Educational Development. Isolated events may not be as effective as sustained programs, but here we will focus on ways to ensure a workshop or webinar is well designed and fit for purpose.

Workshops are particularly useful when there is a new policy to be launched or a pertinent issue to address. For example, in the Spring of 2020 we had a huge uptake in attendance at webinars on online teaching. The need was acute, the mode of delivery was appropriate and the interest was high. Such success is less likely if the topic is not of wide interest, the timing makes it difficult for most to attend (or those most likely to be interested to attend) or the location is inaccessible.


4.1 Planning a workshop or webinar

4.2 Dealing with disruptive participants

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Comment on “4 Getting Organized

  1. Interesting example. Maybe Paul did not 'lose' 10 minutes of his workshop if he managed to deal with the controversial topic which his participants felt was important. I have seen educational developers (and lecturers) shoot themselves in foot by ignoring their audience's agendas and being inflexible about what they had to cover. Maybe Paul enhanced his relationships with the group by showing he could respond?

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