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Brainstorming for the 2013 meeting - workshops


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#1 Tim O'Connell

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Posted 14 August 2012 - 11:48 PM

I had a discussion with a "young professional" tonight at the NAOC-V who expressed his disappointment that a workshop he attended didn't really train participants in the nuts and bolts of how to do a particular analysis technique that's very difficult to master on one's own. He throught the instruction followed the same tortuous path of most stats classes - emphasis on theory when what people really need to know is "how do I set up my data to make that graph"? He said that he wished someone at these meetings would just have a room with some computers set up and somebody there to just show you how to make the software work, because that's the major hurdle to him being able to actually use that technique. The other guy - a newly minted PhD - agreed, indicating that most of what he knows how to do has come from the members of his lab working together over months to practice different techniques. If you don't have such a resource at your disposal, how do you really learn how to do such things?

So here we go. Why can't we do this at the 2013 meeting? DISTANCE, MARK, occupancy modeling, ecological niche modeling, etc. There are many really useful - in some cases essential - techniques that young professionals must master to be effective, and unless they've had someone really walk them through the process, it can be very difficult to develop proficiency in such things. Why don't we pick one (or two) and find someone who'd be willing to do some real step-by-step instruction in some of these tools? Seems like just the ticket to engage young professionals (both as presenters and attendees) and foster some real loyalty to the WOS for creating a great learning opportunity at our annual meeting.

It goes without saying that such demonstrations should involve no additional fee and take place during the meeting.

#2 Bob Curry

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Posted 16 August 2012 - 07:03 AM

Tim,

Sounds like a great idea. Members of my lab have been through the learning process with MARK, so I appreciate the value that a workshop for that might provide ... and I'm sure the same would be true for other programs/approaches.

It would probably be most effective to choose one analysis tool for a focused workshop rather than something too broad. We could set up a Survey Monkey poll with some options and then give WOS members a chance to indicate their preference as to focus.

Bob

#3 Chris Merkord

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Posted 16 August 2012 - 07:52 AM

There are many really useful - in some cases essential - techniques that young professionals must master to be effective, and unless they've had someone really walk them through the process, it can be very difficult to develop proficiency in such things. Why don't we pick one (or two) and find someone who'd be willing to do some real step-by-step instruction in some of these tools?


I like the idea too.

We could set up a Survey Monkey poll with some options and then give WOS members a chance to indicate their preference as to focus.



You can create polls here too. Just start a new forum topic and click the "Manage Topic Poll" button on the right. Although the nice thing about Survey Monkey is people can vote without signing in.

#4 Wil Hershberger

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Posted 17 August 2012 - 06:14 AM

What about training videos that could be hosted here in the exchange? These would be available to all members of the societies and registered users of the exchange at anytime.
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#5 Tim O'Connell

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Posted 18 August 2012 - 03:58 PM

Even better - great idea Wil. Chris, is Wil's suggestion technologically feasible at this time?

#6 Bob Curry

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Posted 22 August 2012 - 02:07 PM

Another idea is to run a "flash talk" (also known as "speed talk") workshop, during which students give very short (4 or 5 minute) capsule summaries of their work and then receive feedback from professionals about the effectiveness of the presentation. Some other kinds of scientific societies have been doing this in recent years with great success.

#7 Chris Merkord

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Posted 22 August 2012 - 04:11 PM

What about training videos that could be hosted here in the exchange? These would be available to all members of the societies and registered users of the exchange at anytime.


Even better - great idea Wil. Chris, is Wil's suggestion technologically feasible at this time?


It is a great idea. The short answer is maybe, but we can't do it directly, at least not right now.

Video hosting is a bit tricky. It requires lots of bandwidth and moderate amounts of hard drive space. There are basically two options when it comes to adding video to a site:

Option A: Host the videos on the site directly. While this makes it easy to put videos behind a paywall, it requires investment in hosting the site (bandwidth, disk space, software, expertise) that continues over time as technologies continually change.

Option B: Host the videos on a third party site and embed them into articles/posts/databases here on OE. The upside is that somebody else takes care of the technical issues, upgrading the software and hardware required, etc. Also, videos could be embedded on multiple sites, e.g. OE and WOS websites. The downside is that your content is visible to anyone (if you go the free YouTube route) or it costs a bit of money (< $50 / month if you go with a service like Viddler).

For now I think I can rule out option A, unless I can find someone who knows more about it than I do. If you're interested in option B, you should first decide if you want these videos private (you have to sign in to see them) or public (anybody could copy the link to the video on YouTube and send it to a friend). An exampleof the latter option is the series of educational videos that Stu Mackenzie has started posting here on OE:

The Long Point Bird Observatory has begun to develop a series of short instructional videos covering basic to advanced aspects of bird monitoring. I'll post them here as more are developed and/or changes are made, and I will post a permanent location at a later date.


Although from what I can tell those videos are hosted on Stu's website. He might know more about this and could guide us on setting up our own video hosting.




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