Workshop Planning and Deliverables

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iDigBio coordinates its outreach efforts through the support of workshops, symposia, and other events ("workshops" is a term that is used to refer to any/all of these types of events). Workshops are distinct meeting events, held virtually and/or onsite, that focus on producing clear deliverables and addressing clear objectives. This guide aims to provide an overview of the moving pieces involved in a workshop. Every workshop planner should make themselves familiar with the process outlined here. If you are an iDigBio staff member and need specific details, please look at this Redmine wiki page.

A workshop proposal is required for any workshop, symposia, or other event that will incur any project expenses or significantly utilize project resources.

If you are simply interested in attending a workshop, you can find upcoming workshops, symposia, and other events on the iDigBio Calendar. Information from all of our past workshops is on the iDigBio Workshop Summary page.

It takes a village...

There are many people involved in a workshop at every stage:

  • Lead Workshop Organizer -- person ultimately responsible for planning and organizing the workshop
  • Workshop Organizers -- planning committee assembled to coordinate, plan, execute, and follow through on the Workshop outcomes; workshops are often supported by an iDigBio Working Group
  • Workshop Instructors/Facilitators -- staff or volunteers onsite at a workshop who present content or provide assistance with various aspects
  • Workshop Participants -- people who have come to participate and learn from the workshop
  • iDigBio Staff Support
    • iDigBio Project Manager -- ensures your proposal gets on the agenda for the next Steering Committee meeting; communicates the approval status of your workshop proposal; tracks project-level expenditures and resource allocation
    • iDigBio IT Expert -- provides advice on audio, visual, remote broadcasting, and other technical considerations for your workshop; runs the audio/visual/technical aspects of your workshop
    • iDigBio Project Evaluator -- prepares the pre- and post-workshop surveys to help you gauge the effectiveness of your workshop; coordinates with the UF Institutional Review Board if the workshop results will be used in publications or conference presentations
    • iDigBio Project Assistant/Event Coordinator -- unsung heroes that do "everything else": coordinates hotel contracts, catering contracts, and transportation for your workshop; coordinates travel and reimbursements for workshop participants; coordinates other logistical aspects

Submit your proposal

  1. Conceive of an idea for a workshop in collaboration with colleagues and the biodiversity community. Applicants may contact the iDigBio Project Manager for feedback on workshop ideas.
  2. Review the summaries of previous iDigBio Workshops to ensure your topic has not already been covered. If so, you may provide justification in your proposal as to why the topic should be covered again.
  3. Check the iDigBio Calendar for your proposed dates.
  4. Write your proposal following the instructions provided in the iDigBio Workshop Request Process.
  5. Upload your proposal using iDigBio’s Workshop Proposal Webform for review by the iDigBio Steering Committee.

Plan your workshop

Once your proposal has been approved by the iDigBio Steering Committee, you should use the following list of deliverables to ensure that the workshop planning and execution proceeds without undue stress or missed deadlines for all staff involved.

iDigBio Calendar

  • Create an Outreach Event on the iDigBio Website with known meeting details, including: date, time, Adobe Connect URL, wiki page link, agenda, instructions, etc.
  • You may initially leave the outreach event as unpublished to reserve space on the calendar. Unpublished events are only visible to iDigBio staff when they are logged in to the website.
  • Continue to update this page as more information becomes available.


  • Create a registration form using Drupal, Google, or Qualtrics. Collect at least first name, last name, institution, email address, and badge name.
  • Advertise your workshop using the iDigBio listservs and other sources like NHCOLL-L to inform the community of the workshop. Be sure to include details about the agenda, place and time, and what support (if any) will be available, and what the qualifications are for support. Set a deadline for registration and do not make exceptions.
  • When the registration has been closed, decide who is on the approved list. There may be registrants who do not qualify for support. Follow up with the successful registrants to confirm their status, and give the contact information to the iDigBio Project Assistant. This is important to make sure it is complete and accurate, as it is used by other staff to coordinate travel for the approved registrants, keep project accounting for NSF, and for updating the listservs.
  • Make sure that all approved registrants receive a copy of the iDigBio Travel Policy.

Pre-Workshop Activities

  • Coordinate with the iDigBio Project Assistant to:
    • Select a potential venue and ensure the venue has adequate space for your meeting and breakout groups (if any).
    • Determine the availability and cost of hotels in the area.
    • Determine catering needs.
    • Determine the best local airport.
  • Consult with the iDigBio IT Expert on audio, visual, remote broadcasting, and other technical considerations for your workshop and coordinate regarding availability.
  • Consult with the iDigBio Project Evaluator to develop an evaluation plan. This may include a pre-workshop survey to guide decisions regarding the workshop agenda, topics, organization, participants, etc., but the plan should always include a post-workshop evaluation. If you anticipate that you might ever use the results of either survey or other workshop activities in a publication or conference presentation, university policy requires that your protocol and evaluation instruments be reviewed by an Institutional Review Board. Normally, we use the services of the UF IRB; however, workshop organizers with other institutional affiliations may opt to use their own Institutional Review Boards. At UF, the process can take up to one month; at other institutions, the process can take much longer. If the evaluation results are for internal use only (not research), IRB review is not required.

Workshop Contents

  • Coordinate with workshop instructors to make sure they are in sync with the overall desired intent of the workshop.
  • Coordinate with workshop facilitators to make sure they know what their responsibilities are.

Workshop Planning Timeline

Use this general timeline to make sure you have all necessary elements of the workshop complete for all parties involved in the in-house planning. The following outlines the typical support processes required by iDigBio Staff to administer a workshop.

90 Days Before Event

  • Create a Wiki page for your workshop using the Workshop Wiki Template. Update the Workshop Summaries page accordingly. Continue to update your Wiki page as more information becomes available. Your Wiki page will contain links to your agenda, presentations, recordings, and workshop report.
  • Make sure you know your total budget as presented in your workshop proposal.
  • The iDigBio Project Assistant works with the workshop organizer to determine workshop dates, number of participants, number of facilitators/instructors, location, venue, preferred hotel, etc.
    • Start getting estimates for lodging, meeting space, audio/visual, transportation, food (breakfast, lunch, coffee, snacks), etc.
    • Determine meeting space requirements for your main meeting, break-out sessions, etc.
  • The iDigBio Project Assistant creates a workshop spreadsheet for participant and expense tracking.
  • The iDigBio Project Assistant secures the hotel room block and begins work on a contract or rooming agreement from the hotel.

60 Days Before Event

  • Make sure the workshop is Published on the iDigBio Calendar.
  • The iDigBio Project Assistant gets a catering estimate and/or Banquet Event Orders (BEOs) for social event buffets, receptions, etc. The estimate should include cost, seating arrangements, tables needed, cash bar, etc.
  • The iDigBio Project Assistant gathers travel information for each participant for the Travel Authorization Request (TAR).
  • The iDigBio Project Assistant completes a TAR for each participant who will require any reimbursement. UF and FSU employees who are participants will not have a TAR. See the iDigBio Travel Policy for additional details.

30 Days Before Event

  • Finalize your evaluation plan with the iDigBio Project Evaluator. If you anticipate that you may use the results from the evaluation or other workshop activities in a publication or conference presentation, university policy requires that your protocol and evaluation instruments are reviewed by an Institutional Review Board. Normally, we use the services of the UF IRB; however, workshop organizers with other institutional affiliations may opt to use their own Institutional Review Boards. At UF, the process can take up to 30 days; at other institutions, the process can take much longer.
  • The iDigBio Project Assistant turns in the final rooming list to hotel and gives a copy to FLMNH Accounts Payable.
  • The iDigBio Project Assistant submits the Purchase Order Request for the hotel.
  • The iDigBio Project Assistant finds airfare, best schedule and rate, and then emails each participant for their final approval. Once participant approves itinerary, the iDigBio Project Assistant books the airfare and records the airfare amount on the workshop budget tracking spreadsheet.

1 Week Before Event

  • The iDigBio Project Assistant creates name tags.
  • The iDigBio Project Assistant creates meeting folders if desired:
    • Use FLMNH folders if possible.
    • Include maps, local tourism info, an iDigBio brochure, an FLMNH brochure (if held in Gainesville), meeting info/agenda, and an iDigBio business card.
  • Ask the workshop organizer if they want to have the iDigBio trade show display and/or the iDigBio table top display set up. Check availability in Redmine.
  • Plan for coffee and snack breaks.
  • Contact the hotel to discuss any last minute details.
    • If possible, request early access to the meeting space so that the iDigBio IT Expert can setup and test audio/visual/technical equipment.

Day of Event and During Event

  • Workshop facilitators are present during participant check-in on the first workshop day to welcome attendees and handout workshop folders and name badges.
  • Workshop facilitators work with the organizer to provide logistics and support as necessary.
  • The iDigBio Project Evaluator disseminates the post-workshop evaluation to assess the effectiveness of the workshop. It is best that the survey be delivered to the participants via email on the last day of the workshop.

Day After Event

  • The iDigBio Project Assistant follows-up with participants regarding reimbursement procedures and haves them submit their original receipts.
  • The iDigBio Project Assistant turns in an agenda and meal plan to FLMNH Accounts Payable so it is clear which meals participants get reimbursed for (i.e., those meals that were not included as part of the workshop functions).
  • Update the Sponsored Workshop Tracking list with the workshop name, dates, and names/affiliations of all participants. Names should be put into the list in alphabetic order (by first name), and separate facilitators from participants and remotes.

Post-Workshop Activities

  • Work with the iDigBio Project Evaluator to evaluate the survey results. Share with the team any interesting findings and/or items for improvement.
  • Write a workshop report for posting on the iDigBio website.
  • Update your Wiki page with links to the workshop presentations, recordings, photos, report, and evaluation.
  • Update the Workshop Summaries page.
  • Ensure that you use proper tags/categories/keywords in your report, wiki, and biblio entries to enable discoverability.
  • Ensure that any resulting publications acknowledge the National Science Foundation along with our grant number DBI-1547229.