Venue and Facilities
This Facilitators Guide to Learning4Content Workshops is a work in progress.
Venue & facilities
Contact the host organisation well in advance and make sure the issues described on this page are taken care of.
- Flip chart and pens
- Whiteboard and pens
- PC speakers (if not available, see if you can bring some with you)
- Flash drive loaded with all the workshop resources (see below)
- Digital camera (if you do not have one, ask if one might be made available at the workshop)
The host organisation will be responsible for providing lunch and refreshments. It's important to provide some breathing space and break the sessions for refreshment.
Information Technology issues
The venue must have facilities suitable for up to 20 participants, including a computer for each participant with Internet connection. In practice this means a broadband connection.
Any computers with an Internet browser will be sufficient. In many countries, UPS devices for each computer are strongly recommended to avoid losing the results of hard work when an unexpected power outage occurs. OpenOffice 2.3+ and Adobe Acrobat Reader will be useful, but can be installed when you arrive, just before the workshop if need be.
Think the unexpected
In one L4C workshop, the host organisation provided 20 brand new thin client computer terminals, that connected to the IT department's application server. It was not possible to install additional software without doing so through the IT department. Luckily, the standard applications proved sufficient.
The 20 computers plus the facilitator's own computer will all require Internet access. However, a shared 256kbps connection is more than sufficient; with care it can even be workable with a 128kbps connection.
If no Internet access is available, it is still possible to train people using a Wiki installed on a local server. However, the quality of the workshop will be very much reduced if it is not possible to share the experience of exploring the range of Wikis and open resources available online.
- The WikiEducator will work fine on all common browsers and operating systems.
- Java should be enabled in the browser to allow the rich text editor to be used.
- If possible, install OpenOffice 2.3+ on each computer in advance.
IT department access policies
Your venue may be a government department or an organisation with an access policy that is enforced through the use of user accounts and firewalls. It is important to contact the COL Focal Point or representative of the host organisation in advance to identify anything that needs to be configured by the IT department in advance.
If there is such an IT policy enforced, liaise with the IT department to make sure the following are configured:
- All participants have a current user account with Internet access privileges
- You have an account as facilitator of the workshop
- What the IT department's proxy and SMTP settings are, if any, so that you can configure your own computer on arrival without delay.
- The list of sites that you will be visiting during the workshop are not blocked by the firewall (see list below)
- If the participants are using webmail accounts, can the firewall policy be configured to temporarily allow these sites for the workshop.
You may plan to use your own laptop in the workshop, or to use one provided.
If you are using your own laptop, you can pre-configure it before the workshop.
It will help if you have everything easily at hand when you run the workshop.
- Have a folder, maybe on the desktop, with all your slide shows and resources in one place, arranged in sub-folders. This makes it easy to produce copies for people, or to transfer to another computer if needed, using a flash drive. If you are not bringing your own computer to the workshop, have all the resources on a flash drive or CD.
- Download both pdf and odt formats of resource documents (listed below)
- Run through your presentations for each session and lesson of the workshop, and bookmark all the websites you plan to use. This includes important pages of the WikiEducator, so that you don't have to search or type in URLs but can jump quickly to the desired page. This is easily done using Firefox's Bookmark menu. Create a bookmark folder for your workshop and save all the important sites in it. You can start with the suggestions in the "Web Resources" below.
- If you are not using your own computer - and even if you are, it is a good idea in case you have to transfer to another machine - you can quickly copy all the bookmarks to another computer using the MozBackup utility. Regardless of whether you are bringing your own computer, run MozBackup and backup your default Firefox profile and save it with your resource files.
- Install Open Office version 2.3 or higher (2.2. does not include the wiki export feature). If you are not using your computer, make sure you bring the install file on a flash drive or CD.
- You will have noted in the above, that Firefox is the most convenient browser to use. For this reason, download the latest version of the Firefox install file in case you have to switch computers.
Here is a list of WikiEducator pages and other web sites that you will use in the workshop and should bookmark in your browser for easy reference. You can add to this list - feel free to edit this page.