Writers Workshop Guidelines
This document explains how writer workshops should work at PLoP '98. The process is basically the same as previous conferences, but there are a few differences. One difference is the manifestation of the Strong Moderator role. The workshops need to balance the exchange of ideas with the ability to fit all the parts of the workshop process into a workshop session, and the ability to fit all the workshop sessions into a conference. In the description of the workshop process below time limits are assigned to each section. The limits are only recommendations, but past experience has demonstrated that sessions which vary to much from these limits tend not to fit everything in, and the author typically gets cheated out of their chance to ask for clarification. Workshop groups are free to continue the workshoping of a paper during some of the free sessions.
For more information on writers' workshops also see these
notes on conducting a writers workshop.
- Lead Moderator. The Lead moderator will be chosen by the program chair, in advance, from among the participants in a workshop group. This person will be someone who has experience with the writers workshop format. The Lead moderator will run the logistics session, and moderate the first paper. The role of session moderator can rotate among the persons in the group. The Lead moderator is responsible for reminding the session moderator to keep a session on track.
- Session Moderator. The Session Moderator runs the workshop accoording to the Workshop Process. The moderator is responsible for making sure that participants adhere to the format (ie, no criticism during the "positive feedback" session), to make sure that the discussion remains focused (ie, limiting the number of times and ways the various participants restate essentially the same point), and also making sure that the workshop stays on schedule so that the author has enough time to request feedback.
- Author. The author's role is to listen to the other workshop participants.
- Workshop Participants Fellow Authors follow the Workshop Process, providing constructive feedback to the author.
- Visitors Non-Authors observe, and at the discretion of the author group participant in the Workshop Process. The reason for this participation being discretionary is to create an environment where the authors are subject to feedback, in addition to providing feedback.
Each workshop session will be slightly more than 1 hour in length. There will be a special 30 minute session at the beginning of the conference so that each workshop group can be introduced, and work out logistics, such as how much they want non authors to participate and in which order the papers will be presented.
The Workshop Process
Each workshop session will be 1 hour long. The writers workshop format has proven to be useful in past PLoP conferences, and should be followed by each group.
- Introduction/Reading: Moderator introduces the Author and the Author reads a selection from the paper. This is the last we hear of the author til the end. (allow 5 minutes)
- SummaryOne of the workshop participants summarizes the paper.(5 minutes)
- Positive Feedback: Moderator asks for things people liked about the patterns. The comments can be about presentation or content, and at the discretion of the moderator comments about presentation and content can be intermingled, or done seperately. (Allow 15 minutes)
- Constructive Criticism:Moderator asks for ways in which the paper can be improved, both in content and presentation. (Allow 20-25 minutes)
- Author Feedback:The author asks for clarification on comments made during the session. The Author should pick a few of the most important points. (or ones which were made by the most people.) Further clarification can be had during off line discussions. (Allow 10 minutes)
- Closing: The workshop participants thank the author.
Remember that while the writers workshop format may seem unfamiliar, it has been shown to be useful for developing an environment where patterns authors can share their ideas.
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