Hello everyone,

You've probably heard about the online "Wikiacademy" that Nitika announced
around a week ago; we recently conducted that session on Saturday (10 March
2012) on Google+ Hangout.

Six participants signed up  - one informed day before about her absence,
two did not show up at all, one could not log into Google hangout, one was
able to attend the first part of the session but then lost his internet
connection and eventually we had only one participant who attended the
entire session. That's what happened at the online outreach event organised
last Saturday, 10th March.

It wasn't particularly an impressive session in terms of turnout - we were
expecting all six guys to show up and take part. But even if these 2
participants show interest and edit on regular basis I'd call this event a
success - a success rate of 33%.

I'd like to discuss few things that we should definitely keep in mind
before we organize similar events:

1. Request only those people to register who are sure to have a stable
internet connection. Some students were trying to log in for the session
but their hostel/school connections was extremely unstable. Im not sure if
there is a way for making sure that they have stable connections but it is
really important. (I can also see where this might be difficult, because
not many can give any guarantees on the reliability of their net

2. Invariably we'll have few people who'll drop out at the last moment or
are not able to join leaving room for someone else to join in. Hence for
such events we should probable overbook a session. If one drops out,
another one could attend the session instead. This will make sure that
we're utilizing our resources and time to the fullest.

3. Ask the participants to do a test google hangout a day or two before the
actual event. This will make sure that the participants are not facing any
technical issues and can attend the session seamlessly.

4. Maybe at the time of registration we need to ask participants for their
phone numbers. We sent reminders to the participants by way of email but
yet 2 of them did not show up. It could be that the didn't not read the
mails well in time. If we had their phone numbers we could have
messaged/called to send them a gentle reminder.

5. We could also send across some useful links and videos for the
participants to go through before the session. This way participants will
be warmed up and more informed for the session. It will also give the
participants enough time to jot down all their queries and get them
clarified during the session.

>From my personal opinion, online outreach is something that can definitely
work. Sitting in Bangalore I was able to train guys from Nepal & Mangalore.
I'm hoping that they'll become active editors in English and in their
respective native languages. Im really happy to note that at least one of
them has already edited several articles in the medical space - which is
his field of study.

I'd also like to thank Deepon - he'd put in a lot of time and effort for
helping us conduct this session.

Many thanks of course to Nitika, who requested me to conduct the session,
and who was omnipresent throughout the session, and took over from me
whenever my net connection gave way (Another point: we need to somehow make
sure that the instructors themselves have a good net connection).

Hoping to conduct more sessions like these.


Swaroop Rao
(MikeLynch <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:MikeLynch>)
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