Blog Post

FSDW participation

I appreciated the thoughtful comments from Karen Cook, Liz Constable, and Rachael Sullivan from my group. Reading people’s comments about the number of people engaged in their groups and noting the low number of people who did blog introductions, I wonder if some sort of additional steps in the workshop process would help. Groups could be formed after people did introductions and/or people could be put into groups after they commented on introductory blog posts and submitted their texts. It might also make sense for people who participated in previous years to be placed in groups with other people who contributed. Perhaps individuals who did not respond to group emails or engage in the process could contribute before being placed in groups in subsequent years.



I like Michele's suggestions about encouraging people to have something to bring to the table and do their introduction, asking dropouts to prove themselves in the future and also about the possibility of forming groups through the introductory process. Maybe when we sign up for the conference we submit both an introduction and a proposal of what we intend to contribute. This raises the level of accountability like a seminar. We ended up with three members and a beneficial session, but the fourth member who just disappeared and would not answer emails through a wrench in the schedule and made me feel that more could have been done.

I will also say that because of dropouts that the groups were very uneven in terms of numbers.

Thanks for a really good forum, however!



Thanks Alice! I appreciate the reply and additional suggestions.

Your research project sounds fascinating.


Hi Michele,

Thank you for your suggestions! We ask people to confirm participation about 2 weeks before the start of the workshop to increase accountability, but of course there are always folks who don't come through. We also have a drop-out policy, which is noted in the confirmation form. 

I love the idea of forming groups based off of intros! We actually did that our first year when we only had 30 participants. However, it's almost impossible to do with upwards of 170+ participants. (Although if you can think of a way to manage that, please let us know!) 

Thank you again for your suggestions. We appreciate your feedback and will continue to try and find creative ways to make the workshop a positive experience for everyone.

Lori Beth 


Hi Lori Beth,


Thanks for the message. Given the drop off in participation, forming slightly larger groups might make sense. Most group blog and forum software, which requires registration, also outputs names of those who participated and their last date of participation, if the HASTAC software provides this information, you could constitute the workshop groups from this list. Another option (or a step to combine with the first option) would be for workshop members to send their materials to the assigned leader and for final participation to be only approved when materials were received. Other participants could apply to leaders with a later start date or participation could just be canceled if people are not ready by an assigned date. A longer date between introductions and the start of workshops might also facilitate parts of this process.




I should have remembered not to click on something else; here goes round two with this comment!

I totally agree with Michele--larger groups, longer time in the application process, applying to the group leader with the intros. The wind really went out of our sails when the fourth member just dropped without any follow up. Our plans for blogging fizzled and by Friday, we had barely any discussion going, since our papers were all read and thoroughly critiqued.

One of the things the intros to the group leaders would do would allow us to is to strategize better before the session started.

Another thing I just thought of is that giving participants an idea of what kind and quality of time commitment they should expect will help weed out some who just want to observe.

Michele--thanks for your comments and for your interest. And I would love to compare notes on the body sometime!



Hi Michele and Alice,

Thank you both for your suggestions. We will be sure to discuss them during our next FSDW staff meeting. 

By the way, let me know if either of you are interested in volunteering next year. We’d love to have you on board!

Best wishes,

Lori Beth