Code of Conduct Facilitation Scenarios
OverviewTeaching: 10 min
Exercises: 30 minQuestions
What are example situations that may require Code of Conduct facilitation in The Carpentries?Objectives
Discuss, practice and learn firsthand about approaches for alleviating tension and facilitating Code of Conduct issues as they arise in various community spaces
First Set of Examples
Below are scenarios that can cause discomfort or Code of Conduct (CoC) violation at a workshop and recommended approaches on how to try and address them. These are summarised from a discussion with community members at UKZN Durban, South Africa. This discussion was conducted on the topic of designating CoC facilitators at The Carpentries spaces to address CoC related incidents. Participants in small groups discussed the challenging scenarios that they had to deal with in past events or any possible scenario that may occur in the future. These scenarios can be commonly faced by our community members, and the recommendations will help the organisers, CoC facilitators, and Participants to address them.
A participant faced an uncomfortable situation during the event/workshop. Who can they contact to report bias incidents?
- Organisers: The organiser will designate a trained Code of Conduct facilitator to help in reporting of these incidents and what resources they will have to support them
- CoC facilitators: The CoC facilitators will already have guidance on how to take reports or respond in case of potential CoC violations from their onboarding and training. They should agree with the organisers about the mechanisms to ask questions, get clarifications regarding CoC, addressing incidents, timeframe, etc particularly in situations where institutions have a separate CoC process from that of The Carpentries.
- Participants: Participants should take note of the precise contact information of the person(s) who can be contacted in case of an emergency that they or their colleagues may face at the event. These contacts should be listed on the website, shared by email and mentioned at the beginning of each day at the workshop for the event participants.
A participant is constantly interrupting the instructor or helper at a workshop What should be done to stop such behaviors?
- Instructor/helpers: They can call for a 5 minutes break. During this time, the instructor can personally talk to the participant letting them know that their interruption may be bothering other participants. They can take this chance to designate a helper to address their concerns without disturbing the rest of the attendees.
- CoC facilitators: A CoC facilitator is also in a position to act as an ally for instructors and helpers who can personally talk to the participant to point out that their interruption may be bothering other participants, and offer them help to ask their questions individually to a helper. If these interruptions are intentional and a potential breach of CoC, the CoC facilitator must report this to the CoCc.
Some participants who may have experienced bullying in the past may be unsure if they want to attend this course in an unfamiliar location.
By listing contact of CoC facilitators, the organisers make clear that they take their CoC seriously and won’t tolerate unacceptable behavior. Participants would feel more secure by knowing the contact details of the people that they can reach out to for help when needed. It is important for CoC Facilitators to assure participants that keeping their information confidential is of paramount importance and that it will only be shared with the Code of Conduct Committee
A participant wants to suggest some improvement in the existing CoC. Who can they talk to at an event?
They can directly contact the CoCc however if there is a CoC facilitator, they can be encouraged to be open about making such suggestions to the CoC facilitators who take notes and submit to the CoC committee. CoC facilitators can better channel these issues and feedback by emailing the CoCc, checking with other Code of Conduct facilitators in Slack or mailing list, or opening an issue in GitHub to start a publicly visible discussion about this.
The instructor is rude or offensive and is violating the CoC. What is in place to object such behaviors?
When the CoC facilitator is different from the Instructor, other instructors or participants can immediately contact them to address the issue by talking to the involved parties as in Scenario 2, or escalating the issue and facilitating reporting to the CoCc as soon as possible.
The trainer is new and nervous teaching the class. How can they take care of any possible disruption that can occur in the class?
By assigning a CoC facilitator, the Instructor can completely focus on their teaching and make sure that there is someone to address any disruption. Moreover, if someone from the classroom has to be individually addressed, CoC facilitators can do that without disturbing the Instructor who can focus on the rest of the class. These individual interactions may often mean reminding a participant that they are disrupting the class and instead, inviting them to direct further questions to a helper or supporting instructor in the workshop.
Participants with more knowledge can speak a lot and unknowingly discourage the rest of the students. How can one avoid such a demotivating situation from occurring?
- The CoC facilitators should privately point out that the objective of the workshop is to make sure that everyone is learning and politely ask them to allow others to talk.
- The Instructors should make sure that they don’t completely focus on how some participants with advanced knowledge are progressing, but focus on people who are new to the topic.
- If these students create any sort of discomfort in the class, Instructors or helpers can individually approach them to explain that their behaviors might disturb others.
- They can encourage advanced participants to help other students in the class.
- Sometimes assigning one helper to such participants allows the instructor to focus on the rest of the class more fairly.
- Since these days people like to interact on social media such as Slack or Whatsapp groups, Instructors can suggest students help each other using these channels after the class if they can’t address all the questions in the workshop due to the time limit.
Someone noticed a violation of CoC but they don’t feel authorised to address the situation.
By designating a CoC facilitator we can empower individuals to speak for others and authorise CoC facilitators to become the contact person to receive reports and to an extent address minor incidents as discussed in previous scenarios.
Second Set of Examples
Some scenarios that can be considered before the event to ensure that the Code of Conduct is fairly implemented:
A person with a disability is unsure if they can attend a course.
- Mention on the website that the workshop organisers want to make sure that everyone feels welcome to attend the workshop and are available to address any personal request to accommodate the needs of participants with special requirements.
- Try to always choose a location that is wheelchair accessible, if this is not possible, then mention that on the website and list any possible workshop in future that can be organised at an accessible location.
- Send a pre-event survey with questions concerning accessibility and individual’s needs (food, equipment, mobility, etc.).
People cannot concentrate for very long sessions.
Indicate on the website that the schedule will include several breaks and also list if refreshments will be provided
When trainers are teaching in different countries where English is not the first language, it’s important that a local person who understands the local language is listed as one of the organisers who can be contacted for questions related to venue, accessibility, schedule or other concerns.
Issues related to the Internet, electricity (load shedding in some countries), limited equipment at the venue, participants’ computers and possible incompatibility with the software required in the class.
- On the course page and personal communication by email, indicate the system requirement along with the exception that the workshop participants might face.
- Make sure that the course is to a higher degree independent of internet usage.
- Create some exercises that don’t require electricity by including group activities and discussions.
- Encourage students to work in pairs or groups so not everyone needs to have a computer, but get to learn together by sharing resources.
- If possible, keep a laptop with the required configuration for backup. Also, have USB sticks with all the materials so that participants can access data or materials even in the absence of high-speed internet.
Oversubscription of the workshop.
- Keep a list of interested participants who can be contacted regarding future events.
- Make sure that registered participants have confirmed to come. If they don’t confirm their place should be given to the next person on the waiting list.
- Ask for motivation statements (1-2 sentences) to make sure that the participants are serious about attending the course.
- In some cases, a small amount of registration fee can be charged that ensures participants are interested and are willing to attend the course.
- Since it is not always possible to charge a fee in the university, a no-show fee can be listed for participants who don’t show up without any warning.
First key point. Brief Answer to questions. (FIXME)