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How to run an online workshop

Advice for facilitating an online workshop, including best practice for safeguarding and privacy

Running an online workshop may sound daunting, but they can be a great way to reach new audiences and extend your offer.

Online workshops can enhance aspects of your work. For example:

It's important to remember that online workshops aren't a one-stop way to increasing inclusion; lots of people don't have access to the internet or won't be able to engage with an online workshop for other reasons.

Choose your platform

There are many video conferencing services you can use, and lots offer free (although often limited) accounts. The choice can be overwhelming, so we’d recommend checking out three options: Zoom, Skype, and Cisco Webex. You’ll want to think about the following things:

This guide is written for Zoom, but where possible we’ve mentioned if the features below are available for the other two platforms. You can watch Zoom video tutorials online(this link will open in a new window).

Keep your meeting secure

Zoom offers a comprehensive set of security features for your online workshop. They include:

Be sure to review these features in Zoom’s settings and read up on how to keep your event secure(this link will open in a new window).

Make sure everyone can take part safely

It’s advisable to think about the following steps before a workshop:

GDPR compliance

You shouldn’t need to collect a lot of additional data for an online workshop. The normal rules apply; make sure you let people know what data you’re collecting, why you need it, where you’re keeping it, how it’s protected, how long you’re keeping it for and when and how you’ll delete it.

The following tips can help make sure you are protecting people’s data:

Working with children and young people

You should apply the same professional knowledge that you normally bring to face-to-face workshops with young people.

However, one thing to be aware of for online workshops is that whoever hosts the workshop is responsible for child protection. It’s always good practice to have another adult in the workshop, and if you’re working with a school or other organisation, make sure a teacher is invited to participate. If parents can come along, that can make for a nice opportunity for them to spend some time with their child.

Make sure you do everything you can to ensure a safe workshop by enabling the security features described above, and as always when working with young people, be prepared to report anything you see that concerns you.

Some useful tools to keep things flowing

After a couple of practice meetings and a bit of time looking at the settings for your platform, you’ll find yourself getting the hang of things. Online workshops can be a great thing, especially from an inclusion point of view, and there are a lot of tutorials available on YouTube, so we’d encourage you to give it a try!