17th Discussion-27 Feb 2015

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Best practices for bioinformatics training

One of the key areas handled by many core facilities is the provision of training to biologists (and maybe other bioinformaticians). In this session we will look at this aspect of our work and will discuss the different approaches groups have taken to providing training, and see how our existing practices fit with some of the large scale internet resources which are now available.

Some of the major points we will hope to cover will be:

  • How many cores provide training, and what topics do you train on?
  • Are cores doing their own training or arranging for outside groups to come in to train their users? If they're using external courses where are these from?
  • What formats of training are people using? Is the balance of formats changing over time? What advantages / disadvantages are there to the different formats available.
  • How do you decide on what topics to develop training material for? How much interest do you need to do this, and how mature must the field be to justify writing training material.
  • Where groups develop their own material do you release it publicly? If so, where (for one option, please see the GOBLET repository at http://www.mygoblet.org/training-portal/materials)? What licence do you use? Do you offer to present courses as a commercial service?

Other suggestions (--Stephen Turner (talk) 07:25, 16 January 2015 (CST))

  • Who pays for training? Institution? Trainees? Departments to whom you target training?
  • How to make training scalable, sustainable, in the absence of institutional funding?
  • Does training cut into your bread-and-butter work? I'd argue that increasing the overall bioinformatics expertise of researchers is a good thing, but if you teach someone how to do X (e.g., RNA-seq alignment and DE), then they no longer come to the core and pay the core for X.
  • Making training and course materials open-source (e.g., Software Carpentry)

Introduction and Preliminary Information

Notes from the Call