Have you run an OFM workshop? Share your experience

Hi all,

There have been so many cool workshops using the OFM, in many different parts of the world… I was wondering if you’d like to share how you design and implement them, so we can all learn?

If you have conducted a workshop in any setting in the past (or if you’re planning one), it would be great to know:

  • Audience of your workshop?
  • Workflow: which activities have you planned, which “exercises”?
  • Materials: which OFM versions do you use? Which samples?
  • Schedule: how long did it take?
  • How many people were facilitating?
  • Any other useful info

Maybe we can put up a guide and help others run workshops?


I’ve actually not run one myself for ages (years), so most of my experience is quite out of date. However, it’s worth mentioning a few things I’ve picked up:

  • I reckon on about and hour to build a microscope if you have all the bits and know what you’re doing. Allowing 2-3 hours is much safer, and leaves some time to play with it at the end.
  • I’ve previously tried to print out the instructions as a PDF. I am not sure that works so well with the current GitBuilding ones; you’d want to make sure each group had a laptop/tablet to view them.
  • Once you’ve built some microscopes, there’s very little on the OpenFlexure site about what to do with them. I’d really love to expand that, and/or link to some resources elsewhere.
  • Usually 2-3 people running a workshop for 10-20 people works quite well. @JohemianKnapsody has had to run demos with far bigger participant-presenter ratios, I suspect he would confirm this is quite tricky!
  • I’ve done this with secondary school pupils, and with PhD students/postdocs. The latter were much more highly skilled, but much less good at following the instructions! That meant they completed in roughly the same length of time…
  • I’ve not done this since v6.1.5. The most fun workshop was definitely where we built motorised ones, and I tried to get the participants to code their own autofocus routine.
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