Set a timetable

Timetable at Pauls Valley, Oklahoma ... June 1974

THATCamp timetable (PDF)

Two to six months beforehand

One month beforehand

  • Approve all eligible registrations and create user accounts for all participants.
  • Create a Participants page such as (add a new page, then set its Page Template to “Campers”).
  • Publish a blank schedule grid with time slots and rooms to the website, perhaps by embedding a Google Docs spreadsheet (such as our sample)
  • Add descriptions of any workshops with the instructor’s name, the difficulty level or any pre-requisite skills, and any required accounts or software
  • If necessary, arrange transportation for people from their hotels to the THATCamp venue
  • Order swag (t-shirts, tote bags, etc.) if you are providing it

Two weeks beforehand

  • Email all participants and call for session proposals.
  • Remind participants to bring a laptop (not an iPad or other tablet), to update their profiles, and tell them any other information they need to know, including how to log in to the THATCamp website
  • Make reservations at a nearby pub or restaurant for post-unconference gatherings (for day 1, expect 50% of attendees, for day 2, expect 10%-25% of attendees)
  • Devise a method for letting people know how to connect to the wi-fi, either by posting the info prominently in a common area or by including it on the back of each participant’s badge
  • Decide whether you will ask for donations from participants, and if so, figure out a method for collecting them (PayPal, pass the hat afterward, optional registration fee when people pick up their badges, etc.)
  • Plan for what to do with any uneaten food, such as donating it to a local food bank
  • Run through the checklist to make sure you haven’t forgotten anything
  • Print badges (you can also wait until the day before) or make sure you have blank name tags and pens

The night before

  • Review the space to make sure that chairs, tables, power strips, projectors, and signs are all present and in order
  • Set up a check-in table with badges, swag, and any office supplies participants will need for the scheduling
  • Make sure you have everything you need for voting on sessions and scheduling them
  • Consider printing the session proposals (you can use Anthologize for this) and taping them up on walls near the check-in area so participants can read them offline

At the beginning of the day

  • Give everyone a chance to learn about the proposed sessions — print them and post them on the wall and/or ask the proposers to talk about them
  • Collect votes on sessions by stickers, a show of hands, or any other method you like
  • Make introductory remarks and begin the scheduling
  • Go over the THATCamp Ground Rules (THATCamp is fun, productive, and collegial)
  • Mention the “Law of Two Feet” (if a session isn’t useful, use your two feet to go to another one)
  • Create a draft schedule
  • Ask the participants for suggested revisions to the schedule
  • When the schedule is set, consider printing copies of the schedule and posting one outside each room and/or making copies for everyone

At the end of the day

  • Ask for donations, if you have planned to
  • Ask participants to fill out a brief evaluation (only two fields required!)
RCHN Mellon Mellon