Learning patterns/Be flexible and work with the audience you have
What problem does this solve?
Sometimes when running a program, it is important to be flexible enough to go with the natural flow of the group you are working with. AfroCROWD held its first translate-a-thon in June, 2018 after working with the original group led by professors and organizers at LaGuardia Community College who began the initiative months before. We learned a lot from that initiative, and thankfully the organizers furnished us with tips, which were very helpful. Regardless of this, each event has its own nuances. It could be as simple as, in this case, the needs of the professor to have students work on specific topics together and our desire that they engage in the process of learning to be singular editors as well. The space was very packed with both volunteers and students, and resources like the amount of time and the flow of people coming to the event were challenges. We also had the happy surprise of many more volunteers than expected and wanted to be sure to keep them engaged and make the most of their valuable time.
What is the solution?
We learned that going with the flow allowed the event to remain fun and in the end, a very successful event. We also used group work as had been done in the original translate-a-thon, to engage the students in what the professor was hoping would center on projects they were already working on in class. To allow this to conform to our needs, we had each group member research a separate part of the topic the professor required within each group. We also had one member of the group report on their progress at the end. This exercise worked well and kept the students engaged in both what the professor wanted and our hope of their involvement as singular editors. Group work also allowed students to spread out together so that the space was better maximized. We found that engaging the volunteers in singular tasks like double checking attendance, coaching and individually helping students from each group also helped the event go very smoothly and supported the quality of the outcomes. We quickly learned that although a fantastic model existed for this iteration of the translate-a-thons, that we had to be flexible with the flow of the students and the professor rather than stick to any rigid plan we had prepared.