Early-career researchers and students looking for practical training in how to write and publish a journal article have been served by the UK EQUATOR Centre’s Publication School since 2015. Our March 2020 course ran barely a week before the UK was sent into its first COVID-19 lockdown, and we were disappointed to let down our participants with a cancelled July course. However, our team used the time to get trained and experienced in online teaching, and in November 2020, UK PubSchool was back!
Our first online UK PubSchool looked different to the in-person course we’ve delivered so often. It took place over four afternoons, not two days, to (somewhat successfully) combat screen fatigue. Our usual long conversations over lunch and tea were now open conversations across Zoom. But many of the elements that make UK PubSchool so successful were still possible: lively lectures, loads of Q&A, sharing experiences, and in-depth discussions of scenarios and papers.
Going online had some unexpected benefits. No need for travel allowed a truly international group to join us. We found that online meant even more questions and discussion, as the ability to write contributions, rather than needing to raise a hand and contribute out loud, gave participants more time to formulate their thoughts and encouraged even wider participation from the group. The participants’ positive, constructive feedback has shown us that taking our training online was the right decision and has given us some great ideas on how to improve the course further. We’re excited to follow-up with this group in the years to come to see how they put their knowledge into practice.