I teach several records management workshops a year for our university. These workshops are intended to educate the university community on its record keeping obligations, Ohio’s public records law, and how to manage email and electronic records. I really enjoy teaching workshops, however I often receive feedback along the lines of, “I find your workshops so helpful and am inspired to go back to my office and make changes, but once I get back my busy schedule takes over and 6 months later I find my workshop notes underneath a pile of papers.”
A lot of this is simply reality at a large university. In addition, decentralization makes it unlikely that automated solutions are likely to be implemented across the entire system. That said, I’m thinking of ways I can make my workshops more immediately useful for those who take time out of their busy days to attend.
I received some fantastic feedback following a workshop last year — an attendee mentioned how useful it would have been to walk out with a concrete game plan of what they could do back in their office that week. This semester I’m going to try this idea out, by holding a workshop with just a few participants. We’ll go over what their challenges are, and come up with some actual plans they can implement within a reasonable amount of time.
In addition, I’m now thinking of how to make the workshops more hands-on and interactive. In a previous presentation, I did a group pop quiz titled “Is it a record?” by showing an example of handwritten notes, an email, a Word doc, etc (spoiler alert: the person who reads what’s on the document usually gets the answer right). It’s a small sample size, but I’ve heard the pop quiz was enjoyable to at least one person. Having people articulate out loud to each other why something is a record rather than getting caught up in the format issue is helpful. I have seen examples of “re-organize the file structure” exercises from data management and personal digital archiving workshops that help drive home the importance of file organization structures and naming. I see many issues of very messy shared drives on campus, so this could be a very useful workshop activity.
Have you ever re-thought your workshop or training activities? What hands-on activities did you incorporate?