DrupalCon Global Mega Update: How the first Virtual DrupalCon will Look and Feel

Posted June 5, 2020

In light of last week's challenging events(the social justice protests across the United States, amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic), we are reflecting on the importance that Drupal is global in scale and has the capability to promote hope through access. With the launch of Drupal 9, we're witnessing an increased interest in the Drupal project from around the world. This year, we have a unique opportunity with our virtual conference to reach a broader audience than ever before. Join us to learn and meet others online everywhere at DrupalCon Global from July 14-17th, 2020 (registration is open now). 

We know many active DrupalCon attendees have been waiting to hear how we would transform DrupalCon from an in-person event to a virtual one. We appreciate your patience! While this transformation has not been easy, and  there is still much work left to do in the coming weeks, we're very excited to share how the event is coming together.

Firstly, we'd like to say thank you to our DrupalCon Global sponsors, the majority of which pledged to keep their DrupalCon Minneapolis sponsorships in place regardless of the outcome of the event. Those pledges helped secure our short-term financial outlook and allowed us to focus on the important work of translating the in-person event to virtual.  

Our goal

For us, that collaboration and togetherness is more important than ever, both given the global events, and given our desire to celebrate the release of Drupal 9 and all the contributors who made it happen. 


Our platform

DrupalCon Global will be hosted using the Hopin platform, a newcomer in the online event space, that has a strong focus on creating opportunities for meaningful interaction that are so valuable to us. 

Hopin provides attendees with the ability to chat with each other during sessions and to also participate in a global conversation throughout the event. In addition, it allows us the flexibility to facilitate BoFs with breakout sessions, create meaningful engagement at virtual sponsor booths, and provide the chance to gather together virtually for social events. 

From talking to various DrupalCamp organizers who have recently conducted virtual events in place of an in-person, speaking with other open source project representatives like the WordCamp organizers, and attending a variety of recent virtual events, we decided Hopin.to to be the right choice for DrupalCon Global. 

In addition, we've established a good rapport with the Hopin.to engineering team and have already worked with them to update the accessibility features of their platform. 


How you will participate as an attendee

DrupalCon Global allows attendees to “choose their own adventure”. With the online platform, it’s easy for attendees to navigate between the various live events. The program will feature six keynotes, nearly 100 sessions, several industry and topical mini summits, sponsor presentations, birds of a feather discussion groups, 1:1 networking opportunities, and other fun, interactive community content to keep attendees engaged and excited throughout the day. In addition to 36 hours of live events and activities, attendees will have access to countless hours of recorded sessions in the on-demand content library.


How to prepare

After you register, we encourage you to put a tentative hold on your calendar for the conference days, July 14 - 17. Live sessions will be held daily between 13:00-01:00 UTC July 14 - 16. July 17 will be a full-day dedicated to contributions. Twelve hours of content each day is more likely enough even for the most committed attendee can consume, but if you clear your calendar now you can be more selective when the full schedule comes out.

The final schedule will be published during the week of June 22, but you can get an overview on the agenda page and learn a bit more on the Drupal 9 and program highlight pages.

Birds of a feather (BOF) sessions allow attendees to gather for ad-hoc discussions about shared areas of interest—reservations for BOF space will open in a few weeks.

Social events at DrupalCon are at least as important as the formal programming as they help us all bond together, understand each other as humans over and above our usernames on Drupal.org and, above all, become friends. DrupalCon Global is no exception!  Social events are community-driven, and community members can add social events to the calendar now. Social events can be hosted at anytime and do not need to remain within the timeframe of the live events. We are excited to see what social event concepts the you come up with for our globally distributed audience.


At the event

In addition to listening to presentations, we hope you’ll actively engage with speakers, sponsors, and other fellow attendees through text chat, 1:1 video networking, and text/video discussion groups and Q&A sessions.

Speaking and listening

All 160 Minneapolis sessions have been invited to submit content to the video library and as many as 50 of the sessions will have live presentations at DrupalCon Global! Minneapolis speakers will know if they’ve been invited for a live presentation to DrupalCon Global by June 12.


Get Involved

While we won’t have the power strip brigade as we do when we meet in-person, there will be plenty of opportunities to support the event. In addition to contribution mentors and scholarship mentors, we’ll need volunteers to monitor sessions, facilitate Q&A, mentor new attendees, and other roles. Please be sure to let us know if you’d like to assist with supporting the live event by completing this quick form


Scholarship mentors

The move to a virtual conference provides a unique opportunity to broaden our reach.  For that reason, we are significantly increasing the number of scholarships available. You can read more about how we are intentionally reaching out to provide enhanced access to underrepresented groups as well as individuals with an economic barrier to participation.

What this means is with a wide demographic of attendees joining DrupalCon for the first time and we need your help to make them feel welcome and have the best experience. We are looking to recruit 100 volunteers from those attending the event for a new program we are calling “Scholarship Mentors”. These volunteers will simply each be connected to a scholarship recipient to provide a friendly voice, answer questions about what might be the “don’t miss” talks, and help introduce them to people in our community who have similar interests to them. 

If you have previously attended a DrupalCon, and would like to be involved, please fill in our Scholarship Mentor form. We will follow up with support materials, a shared Slack group for mentors, and recognition for your efforts. We really can live our slogan “Come for the software; stay for the community”.



Contribution to the Drupal project has always been a key component of DrupalCon, recently bringing us the release of Drupal 9, and DrupalCon Global will be no exception. 

The contribution rooms at DrupalCon have traditionally been filled with tables and various topics assigned to tables so people can look around to find something to work on that piques their interest. Contribution at DrupalCon Global will provide a similar online concept during the event. Access to the contribution system will be external to the main Hopin system so that anyone can participate in contribution, for no cost.


Contribution mentors

Finally, we will again have a mentored contribution day on the last day of the event, where those that may not have tried contributing to the project before can learn the skills needed and work alongside each other and with our team of mentors. 

If you would like to help as a contribution mentor on the day, you should fill in the Mentor Spreadsheet of Awesomeness now and we will be in touch with more info on how this will all work!


What happens next? 

Registration for DrupalCon Global 2020 is open right now. We encourage you to join us from July 14-17 as we join together as a community, celebrate the launch of Drupal 9, and advance our knowledge of Drupal and Open Source together. 

Program highlights for DrupalCon Global are available on the website today. The full schedule of programming will be available no later than the end of June as we are just in the process of refining our session selection for this new virtual process and communicating with our speakers. 

The DrupalCon On-Demand Content Library, with even more content from incredible Drupal experts, will be available a week before the conference begins, so you can get to know the material and be prepared to engage with speakers and experts at the event. 

We're excited to see you online! Join our newsletter or follow us on Twitter to keep up to date with the latest news. 

Planning to attend or already registered? Help us spread the word and invite your friends!