Plan a Virtual Teach-In

A “teach-in” is defined as a series of lectures and discussions on a subject of public interest focused on taking action. Consider educating the public by planning virtual teach-ins about the importance and everyday applications of chemistry for NCW!


Organizing a Successful Virtual Teach-In

1. Form an organizing committee
Contact local ACS members, chemistry faculty,  schools, community organizations, and businesses who share your interest in communicating chemistry with the public. See what resources they have available for your virtual teach-in event. Distribute the customizable NCW Fact Sheet (docx) to potential committee members, speakers, moderators, and partnering organizations.

2. Pre-event logistics
Think about the needs of your intended audience and event. The most important decision you will make is deciding which platform you will use to broadcast your event. Some platforms require registration, others do not. Some platforms allow your broadcast to be recorded, others do not. Make sure to choose a platform that can accommodate the size of your intended audience. Seek out volunteers who are savvy in technology to help make informed decisions about virtual platforms. Some ideas include Zoom, WebEx GoToWebinar, YouTube Live, Facebook Live, and Instagram Stories Live.

3. Recruit program speakers
Professors, industry members, lab technicians, elected officials, advocates, local community leaders, and chemistry students make great teach-in speakers. Make sure your community is well represented in your speaker choices.

4. Select a moderator
Your moderator should keep the program on track, help foster discussion between speakers and audience, and help keep your audience engaged.

5. Create an agenda
Introduce your virtual event with the big picture of why the issue is important. Plan enough time for your speakers, Q&A, and group discussion. End with a “call to action” for the audience to take. Share your agenda with local chemistry departments to see if they are interested in creating lesson plans and tuning in to your broadcast.

6. Test drive your technology
Since your presenters will be tuning in from different locations, schedule a dry-run to ensure that all cameras and microphones work well, picture and sound are clear, and that volunteers handling the technology are comfortable with what they need to do (e.g., switching between presenters, monitoring questions from the audience, etc.).

7. Community outreach
Reach out to your local news outlets with resources from the ACS Public Relations Guidebook (PDF). Create digital flyers and email them to local schools, teachers, and community groups who may be interested in attending the event online. Partner with local businesses and leaders who can promote with you.

8. Advertise via social media
Publicize your event on the main NCW Facebook page. Request ACS and NCW as a cohost of your event to add your event to the NCW Facebook and website calendar. Use artwork from the Design Toolkit for your social media events and posts.

Share live updates from your event on social media using the #NCW#StickyChemistry, and #Chemistry hashtags. Afterward, share the success of your event through local section newsletters, print, and other communications channels.

10. Follow up with volunteers
Don’t forget to thank speakers, committee members, and other volunteers for pitching in their time and resources to ensure that your virtual teach-in is a success. Customize and (e)mail your volunteers a Volunteer Thank You Letter (docx) and Certificate of Participation (docx).

11. Show collective action
Take screenshots of your speakers during their discussions or lectures. Share your screenshots and any other photos on the NCW Facebook page using the Event Photos Submission Form. Obtain signed Photo Release and Consent Forms (docx) from anyone pictured in photos, screenshots, or videos.

Open laptop with a webinar featuring CCEW art  on the screen
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Contact the ACS Office of Science Outreach
outreach@acs.org