So I want to host/request/organize a training event...

Great! We gladly welcome anyone who is interested in helping bootstrap the education of the HEP community. At this point in time, we as a group have accrued a fair bit of experience and offer to work with you to make your event as effective and efficient as possible. We aim to do this in a way that stays coherent with the approach and “philosophy” of the HSF-Training group so as to make the tools and techniques that are developed persistent, re-useable, and broadly accessible.

If you have an inkling that you are keen to do this, you should start by joining the Awesome WS Mattermost workspace and pinging the @TownSquare channel or joining the next HSF Training Weekly Meeting and just speaking up to brainstorm your idea. We don’t bite, reach out and say “Hi!”.

Two (enthusiastic) participants attending the Analysis Preservation Bootcamp at CERN in February 2020. Note the two screens at the front and the “non-auditorium” room configuration.

What is the HSF-Training “philosophy”?

Pedagogy is important to engage and help our community grow - Watch this TED Talk. Having a common approach to education will help ensure that everyone involved in your training is “on the same page” and knows what you and we are aiming to achieve. To a large extent, our approach is inspired by the Software Carpentries organization and we encourage you to educate yourself about that organization if you are not already familiar. But in short, we strive to cultivate education that is :

Please reflect on these points and adopt a mindset that keeps these in mind while transforming your idea into reality. And, if you feel like this philosophy should be modified or extended, don’t hesitate to bring it up to the conveners.

Much of our pedagogical philosophy is borrowed from the Software Carpentries

What type of event are you holding?

Two formats of events have been carried out within the group, and you should give some concerted thought about which is more appropriate for your education goals.

In Person

An in-person event is akin to a standard conference or workshop where everyone gathers in a single place, someone leads the instruction by working through one of the SWC-style modules showing both the webpage and their own terminal, on which they actively do what the participants do. Typically, a module takes ~4 hours to complete and a couple hours of free time following the execution of the module is helpful to let participants work with educators to clarify understanding or being applying the tools to their own work.

Three mentors (standing and kneeling) actively helping a participant (sitting, center). The three other participants at the table are now active mentors in the community.
The Instructor (center) driving the training session by actively working through the same material the students are learning. This helps keep a good pace and demonstrates that challenges affect participants and experts.

Virtual

An virtual event takes place entirely online. It commences with a “kickoff” where the facilitator describes how the event will function and proceeds in one of two ways.

  1. The instructor works through the webpage/terminal module while sharing their screen with live question/answer as if you were in the same room.
  2. The participants watch pre-recorded lectures at their own pace and use Mattermost to communicate and ask questions. Some time later, everyone gathers for group “hands-on” work to discuss confusions or challenging aspects of the lessons.
    • Broader reach and more equitable. Individuals can participate from around the globe on a schedule that is potentially more flexible.
    • Easier logistically (e.g. no rooms to book, use of pre-recorded lessons)
    • Low level of commitment needed by educators (e.g. no need to travel “just” to teach) means you will likely have broader support from our community of educators - Cons
    • Participants may “flake out” and not attend if they get busy near to the event
    • Participants may be trying to multi-task and get distracted throughout training
    • Non-personal - Only get to meet educators/participants in the virtual world. Reduces the chance to have an ad-hoc but meaningful interaction
Virtual events can be preserved and archived on YouTube and by sharing the webpage and terminal, the participant experience is largely recreated online. Note the inclusion of captioning to ensure these resources are broadly accessible.
When an event is virtual, participants will come from around the world.

What will you be teaching?

Give some thought as to what you want to teach and why, particularly in the context of the philosophy of this group. If you want to cultivate a generic skill among a portion of the HEP community (perhaps only those in your local research group) then its probably should be an “HSF event” and we can offer support. If you want to teach a few of your students “how to do HEP analysis on LHCb with machine learning for track reconstruction” then its probably outside of the scope of this group.

Does the material already exist?

STOP!

Before you go ahead and begin making a new set of slides or designing your module, see if there is something that already exists in the HSF-Training archives. Here you will find a number of resources that may pertain to your goal. And if it doesn’t exactly pertain to your training goal, then it can provide a starting point in the form of a HSF-SWC module like this (which generates a website like this) that you can fork and develop for your specific training. You can extend it by adding on a couple of pages at the end which contain experiment specific lessons and/or you can simply modify the setup page of a lesson to give participants guidance on how to use specific resources that you are providing to them.

I can’t find an HSF module for the training I want to organize …

In some cases, however, there may be a hole in our coverage of training material and that should be evident on the training archive. In that case, you have a unique opportunity to contribute something truly original by creating a training from the ground up! Doing so requires a larger investment of time, and likely a longer lead time in planning your event and we have found it typically takes approximately one month to produce a first draft that can be reviewed by mentors who will eventually be helping teach it. However, we are prepared to support and give guidance on the development of this material, and to the extent that we can, offer technical expertise to produce a quality product that adheres to the HSF-Training philosophy. If you find yourself in this scenario, consider reflecting on whether your training goal will cover one of the items on the “wishlist of HSF modules” from the February 2020 Blueprint Meeting. If it will, then we are very keen to help in developing this.

Who will do the educating?

Once determing what you will teach, it is important to build a team that can execute a quality event while not over-burdening any single individual (Remember, everyone is doing this out of a desire to educate and learn, rarely is anyone getting paid to expressly contribute their time or energy to HSF training). We have found that there are three broad “Educator” roles that are necessary to fill and defining these from the start is critical. More details can be found on the page about educators, but briefly:

In principle, if you are the person reading this page and wanting to organise an event, you will slot in as the Facilitator. It is then your responsibility to find the Instructors and Mentors and while this may be you or individuals from your institution, there is a growing community of educators within HSF training that you can draw upon and recruit to help with your event. Furthermore, we have a number of private Mattermost channels that serve as a communication point for educators and once discussing with the conveners, they can add you there to find further individuals to serve as Instructors and/or Mentors.

Diversity Matters : When recruiting instructors, please bear in mind that particularly in training events, there is a self-evident differential of authority where educators are often “looked-up to” by participants. As such, make a concerted effort to create a diverse team of educators. If you feel like “you just can’t find {X,Y,Z}” then please reach out to us. This is an important tenet of the group of which you are (now) aware well in advance.

In all of this, please bear in mind, everyone is doing this out of a desire to educate and learn, rarely is anyone getting paid to expressly contribute their time or energy to HSF training.

HSF Educators enjoy their work (as evidenced by the smiles) and serve as role-models for participants.

What do I need to do to organize this thing?

If you have organized a workshop/conference yourself, some of this may already be intuitive to you. Likewise, some of it may not. Please take a second to read through this as it is a recipe at which we have arrived through iteration. If you have an alternative approach, we are eager to learn from your experience.

Indico Page (Agenda/Registration)

We use the HSF Training Indico Space to house training event pages. The conveners have rights to modify this category and once the event is confirmed to go ahead, we will create a “Conference” and give you master edit rights. If you do not have a CERN account, you will need to create a lightweight account for this purpose.

Registration Form

One of the primary reasons to use Indico for the primary point of organization and distribution of information is due to its ability to handle registration organization. Since registration will be one of the primary points of contact for knowing who your audience is, you should carefully consider the questions you include here. They are particularly necessary/helpful if you will be doing a pre-registration stage. Some important questions include :

Mattermost

Mattermost is an open source messaging platform (similar to Slack). We use the CERN Mattermost server. For each training event, we use a new “workspace” with a number of public channels which are used for communication with the participants and private channels that function for internal communication between the educators who are involved in the event.

Teleconferencing - Zoom

We prefer to host virtual events using the Zoom platform and if you cannot host it through your home institute, the necessary logistics can be sorted out using the cern.zoom.us instance. Keeping a consistent platform choice that is more broadly used than others (e.g. Vidyo) means that educators and participants will more likely be familiar with its features.

Planning Document

It is important to have a common and shared point of documenting the development of material, todo lists, emailing drafts, etc. that will need to be developed throughout the planning of your event. This can be in the form of a Google doc like the one from the LBNL training event or using another application such as codi.md. Given that this document is not for broad public consumption and really for sharing information between the education team, what you use is really up to you.

Depending on your desired participant recruitment, we can help advertise your event by publicizing it on the hsf-training-wg google group, our list of training events and other HSF fora. Beyond this, we have compiled a suite of communication pathways that can broadly reach large communities within various experimental collaborations. As these are event-specific, once you are ready to advertise the event, just ask the conveners for this list of emails.

Code of Conduct

Your participation in HSF and subsequently the participation of educators and participants in your event are contingent on your and their agreement to behave according to a code of conduct. By default, HSF-Training follows the CERN Code of Conduct and you should make it abundantly aware to anyone participating in the event that they are agreeing to follow this code. And you, as the facilitator are responsible for enforcing this code of conduct. Do not hesitate to ask the conveners if you are unsure of what this entails.

We have found that in addition to protecting participants from harm, an addition to the code of conduct that facilitates education is to stress the concept that “There is no such thing as a stupid question.”.

A successful training requires mutual respect among all participants. This should be established beginning from the initial stages of planning and educators and participants should be made aware of it throughout.

Do I need to consider aspects of Accessibility and Diversity/Inclusion/Equity?

YES!

The HSF-Training group believes that it is important to reduce the barriers to entry into the field of HEP. Our activities implicitly do this by working to ease the learning curve for the essential aspects of computing in HEP. However, there are barriers that exist beyond the intellectual ones and it is important that you consider these throughout planning and execution. A summary of how to do this for a generic workshop is provided here from the US-ATLAS Diversity and Inclusion committee. To highlight a couple important things that are often overlooked, but which we would ask you to consider from the beginning are :

What does the event look like when we gather?

Organizing the event carefully is very important to ensure that it is effective. The general motif to keep in mind is that you want to make sure that everyone attending can digest the material as easily as possible and get personalized attention when necessary. How this happens is different for in person and virtual events and we highlight the most important things to keep in mind in each.

General Considerations

In Person Event

Virtual Event

The primary instructor (standing in front) driving the lesson with the lesson webpage and terminal while a mentor (bottom, long blond hair) helps debug a specific issue with a partcipant (bottom right, long black hair)

Do I care about gathering information on the event? (Surveys)

YES!

Surveys

We care about documenting our successes as well as where we can improve using self-reported feedback (i.e. surveys). For this, we request that you use Google forms/surveys and create a survey to send to participants (but not educators) both (1) at the start of the workshop, the “Pre-workshop Survey” and (2) at the end of the workshop, the “Post-workshop Survey”. What this should include has a set of baseline questions, but is also up to you.

Pre-Survey

Post-Survey

The HSF-Training approach makes a difference in the self-reported understanding of participants.

Debriefs

Following the event, it is customary for you to find a time to gather with the educators to have a time to discuss and debrief about what was successful and what was not. This typically occurs after you have the results of the post-(and pre-) workshop surveys to help give some focus to the discussion. This feedback should be documented on your planning document.

After all of this, we would ask that you make a short presentation of your experience with the event at the HSF-Training weekly meeting.

Example Timeline

To give you an example of an event organization that follows this paradigm, let’s pretend you want to hold your event at time T and examine an approximate timeline.

And don’t forget …

There are a few logistical items that the facilitator (i.e. you) should bear in mind when the actual event is going on. We have found that these are the type of things that often “slip one’s mind” but are mission critical to the longevity of the HSF Training effort.

Further reads