Cohort call facilitator guide

Chris Montgomery (CC-BY)

We are very excited to create this role in OLS for the returning members from the previous cohorts of OLS.

We want to invite support from our community members in making the cohorts successful.

At the same time, our hope is to share our practices for training and planning so you can take them into your projects and community.

Our cohort call facilitators share some of the cohort call-related management roles with the OLS team.

Please identify which week you have signed up for and who is the cohort call lead.

Our cohort calls vary in time from week to week. Please, see schedules from our website.

For any questions or concerns, please contact Community Coordinator, Paz Bernaldo via Slack.

You can also reach out to other OLS team members via Slack or email at any time.

Cohort Facilitator Roles

We have two facilitator roles per call. In some cases, it’s possible that the same person has signed up for both roles.

  1. Call Facilitator reviews the cohort call notes and attends the cohort call to help the cohort call lead in making sure that a cohort call in a smooth, kind, and timely manner
  2. Video Facilitator reviews the recording from the cohort call by checking the transcription for accuracy and sharing the video via Youtube

Please ask for the signup sheet where you can indicate your availability for 1 or multiple of these roles

As of August 2023, both facilitator roles are compensated with $ 50 USD per hour, with a maximum of 1.5 hours per cohort call or 3 hours for transcription.

We invite you to take the lead on the following responsibilities for one or two cohort calls, depending on your availability and interests. Please note that we set a maximum of two calls per person in order to distribute opportunities as much as possible. For the same reason, also note that if you currently have a confirmed mentor role in the cohort, we would prefer you sign up for only one cohort call facilitation slot.

Responsibilities of OLS facilitators

Call Facilitator

These facilitators hold responsibilities before and during the cohort calls

  • What you need: Etherpad link for the cohort call notes

Before the call: Please do this 3 weeks in advance.

Time commitment: 10-20 minutes per call

  1. Coordinate with the community coordinator and Call Lead/host via Slack which speakers have been invited
  2. Discuss via Slack who is responsible for chairing which speaker or breakout discussion during the cohort call.
  3. Review the cohort call notes (on etherpads). In many cases, we copy the notes document from the last cohort, so it is always good to check and correct:
    1. All links for the current cohort, ask the cohort coordinator if something is not clear.
    2. Correct any typos or formatting errors like headers, dates, timing, host names speakers’ names etc.
    3. We don’t expect you to have the correct slide links - please let the Call Lead (tag them directly) about these in the facilitator’s channel or via direct message if you prefer.

During the call: Please join 5 minutes before time

Time commitment: 90 minutes per call, please arrive 5-10 minutes early so we can assign you as a co-host.

  1. Ask the call lead for co-host rights and check if the call will be recorded on the cloud (if applicable, because some calls are not recorded, or parts of them are not recorded, like in week 13 for the skills-up call on self-help).
  2. Test if you can create breakout rooms (for discussion parts).
  3. Help manage participants by letting them in (if the waiting room is enabled) and mute them if their mic is on when they are not speaking to avoid background noise.
  4. Keep an eye on the chat and respond to questions. You can also privately coordinate with the participants or cohort call lead as needed, for example, if someone needs help with addressing any confusion or interruptions for attendees.
  5. Remind newcomers via the chat to add an_ S or a _W in front of their Zoom name (S for spoken; W for written), for the breakout rooms. Privately coordinate with them if they have not indicated ‘W’ for written and ‘S’ for speaking to allow the creation of breakout rooms.
  6. Share the Etherpad link in the chat for the participants who arrive late and remind them to add their names in the roll call section of the Etherpad.
  7. Please also help take some notes about the talks when you are not chairing.
  8. During the call, share the Etherpad’s line number where the participants should respond to a written reflection, questions or comments for speakers, prompts for the breakout discussion or notes section from breakout sessions.
  9. Create the breakout rooms if needed, considering people’s choice for spoken or written rooms.
  10. Chair the session that you have agreed to (you would have coordinated this in advance with the call leads or community coordinator)

Chairing notes:

  • If you are chairing a speaker session, make sure to pay attention to time, and ask the speaker to wrap up if they look like they’re going to over-run their talk time.
  • Always think of questions for the speakers. Often no-one wants to be the first person to ask, so a call host can “break the ice” by asking one themselves.

Video Facilitator

These facilitators hold the post-call responsibility mainly.

What you will need:

  • Please ask the organising team for credentials to, YouTube and Zoom. We share this information via Keybase - please create a Keybase account if you don’t have one already.
  • You can publish the video for OLS also using your own account. Please create a YouTube account if you don’t have one and ask the Community Coordinator to give you appropriate access to the OLS YouTube account
  • Access to OLS’ shared drive with the slide template for the video thumbnail that you can edit with the cohort call details.
  • When the video is published, please share it with the cohort directly via Slack.

Main post-cohort responsibilities: Please try doing this during the week when the cohort call has occurred.

Time commitment: 120-150 minutes per call. Please complete this task latest by 9 pm UK Time on the Monday after the call,so that we can send the weekly cohort emails with the link to the recording!

Below we provide a checklist. For a detailed tutorial, please refer to the detailed tutorial.

  1. Download from Zoom cloud recordings
  2. Upload to (will need a few minutes to process)
  3. Upload to the OLS YouTube account
  4. Create a front page slide for the video - templates are available in Google Drive
  5. Make sure the YouTube video is added to the current cohort playlist
  6. Correct transcripts (make sure to use the uploaded video, not the original transcript, as the timings won’t match the video)
  7. Download the corrected transcript as a .srt file from Otter
  8. Upload it to the YouTube video
  9. Post a link to the recording in the OLS Slack! 🙌

Other helpful references

A few references that can help us expand on these roles are: