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IGF Workshop Session Formats

Proposers have seven (7) different workshop formats to choose from. Alternatively, they can propose a new format. The format must be clearly described in the workshop proposal. MAG members will evaluate workshop proposals against the basic criteria:

The six major criteria in the evaluation process will centre around:

  • Content and description 
  • Response to policy question(s)
  • Relevance to IG and to focus area
  • Format 
  • Diversity
  • Approach to encouraging participation

Below is a description of each format and criteria. Please read this information while developing your workshop proposal.

*Please also note: rooms may have fixed furniture with no possibility of re-configuration. The Secretariat will do everything possible to make appropriate room assignments, but organizers must exercise flexibility in their planning and should be ready to work with the room they are assigned.

IGF Workshop Session Formats

 

Break-out group discussions involve several separate, smaller conversations that take place during the same time. The discussion topic is introduced at the beginning of the session to all participants in the room, usually by a moderator or subject matter expert. The participants then break out into small groups and discuss this topic or aspects of this topic. Experts or moderators can be “assigned” to each group to clarify specific issues if needed or to keep the conversation flowing. At the end of the session, the groups come back together and can summarize their discussions for everyone, or moderators/experts can share results and conclude with suggestions for possible next steps.

Time:

· 90 mins; or
· 60 mins

Optimal Layout:

· Room with enough chairs and space for splitting out into several groups (6-10 max per group);
· Several roaming microphones for group reporters;
· Printouts/collaborative online platforms (e.g. a wiki) for notetaking;

Note on Diversity Criteria: The speakers and discussion leaders who are involved in both the organization and the running of the session should be diverse.

Example: WS 37 Internet Fragmentation – Getting next 4billion online [Description; Video, Transcript & Report]

 

 

 

A roundtable discussion puts speakers in conversation with one another on a particular theme or issue. A moderator will introduce subject matter experts (if any) at the table and explain the discussion topic before engaging all discussants in the room in a roundtable conversation.  Everyone ‘at the table’ is given equal weight and equal opportunity to intervene. Workshop proposals for the roundtable format should identify the subject matter experts and describe how  walk-in participants will  be encouraged to participate in the discussion.

Time:

· 90 mins; or
· 60 mins

Optimal Layout:

· Hollow-square or room with large round/rectangular table; additional seats outside of the circular/rectangular configuration for additional participants;
· Table microphones;
· If speakers are participating remotely, the use of video/audio conferencing;
· Online participation station.

Note on Diversity Criteria: The subject matter experts and moderator identified in the proposal should be diverse.

Example: WS 28 The Right to Be Forgotten and Privatized Adjudication [Description; Video, Transcript & Report]

 

 

 

A debate is a productive way to weigh opposing views on an issue and to assess the logical arguments supporting each view. Two sides to an issue are presented – one side argues in favour of a proposition, and one side argues against. Each side can be represented by one person, or alternatively, a team The highest quality debates usually result from comparing two extreme positions.  Debates can take several formats. One popular format is the Oxford-style debate: http://www.ox.ac.uk/oxford_debates/. Debates usually have strict rules and timing and are judged by one or two moderators. Audience participation and/or scoring of the debate should be built into the session agenda and the debate teams must work together before the session to prepare their arguments.

Time:

· 90 mins; or
· 60 mins

Optimal Layout:

· Two podiums; with a table next to each podiums for the debater(s) to sit;
· Rows of chairs for the audience;
· Roaming microphones to capture questions/comments from the audience (depending on the debate format         used);
· If speakers are participating remotely, the use of video/audio conferencing;
· Printouts and/or a shared online space for collaborative drafting/notetaking;
· Online participation station.

Note on Diversity Criteria: Debates naturally require two speakers, or speaker teams, with opposing views. The debaters and judge panel (if applicable) should reflect diversity. 

Example: WS 196 On cybersecurity, who has got our back?: A debate [Description; Video, Transcript & Report]

 

 

 

The BoF session format is suggested for when a group of attendees come together based on a shared interest on an Internet policy issue, and carry out discussions without any pre-planned agenda. The call for participation can be announced at the plenary, online, or on a bulletin board at the IGF event.

Time:

· 30 mins;
· 60mins; or
· 90 mins

Optimal Layout:

· Several circular tables or a circle of chairs to enable group work/discussion;
· Online participation where possible;

Note on Diversity Criteria: For this format, organizers are encouraged to run the session in an inclusive way, in order to ensure that a diversity of views from diverse participants are incorporated into the discussion.

Example: WS 19 Enhancing linguistic and cultural diversity in cyberspace [Description; Video,  Transcript & Report]

 

 

 

In the tutorial format, an individual/organization can inform the community about the work they have done on an Internet policy issue, or project, or propose a project and invite collaboration with the community. Tutorials are shorter in duration than other formats (30 minutes). The use of audio/visual materials is strongly encouraged. This format is not suggested for discussion, but for presentation.

Time:

· 30 mins

Optimal Layout:

· A podium/table for the presenter;
· Chairs for attendees;
· Online participation station (for remote viewing).

Note on Diversity Criteria: The diversity requirement does not apply to tutorials on an individual basis, because they are presentations. However, the MAG will work to ensure that there is diversity amongst the proposers.
 
Example: WS 169 Regional Participation in Brazil: Growing Initiatives [Description; Video, Transcript & Report]

 

 

The panel format is suggested for sessions where a diversity of experts explore an emerging Internet policy issue, including the technical or legal features of an issue. Panels are also an effective way to compare and contrast the various positions of several main actors. In the panel format, several speakers or subject matter experts provide opening remarks on a question and then address questions from the moderator. Small panels (a maximum of 5 speakers) are preferred to increase audience participation. Time should be allowed for questions/comments from the audience. . 

Time:

· 60 mins; or
· 90 mins

Optimal Layout:

· Panel table with speakers;
· If speakers are participating remotely, the use of video/audio conferencing;
· Several roaming microphones to capture audience questions/comments;
· Online participation station.

Note on Diversity Criteria: Panels should adhere to the diversity requirement to the fullest extent possible in light of the discussion topic. For example, if the panel is exploring perspectives on a regional basis, geographical diversity should focus on including different speakers from different countries within the region. Gender, stakeholder group, age, and policy perspective should also apply.

Example: WS 6 Can law enforcement catch bad actors online anymore? [Description; Video, Transcript & Report]

 

 

If you wish to propose a format different to those listed above, please describe your format in detail and include your plan for in-person and online participation. Any new proposed format should fully reflect all of the 4 criteria.

Time:

· 30 mins
· 60 mins; or
· 90 mins

 

 

Contact Information

United Nations
Secretariat of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF)

Villa Le Bocage
Palais des Nations,
CH-1211 Geneva 10
Switzerland

igf [at] un [dot] org
+41 (0) 229 173 411