Reflections, feedback and review of workshop (Yr 2023)
This was our first workshop that we have conducted, and it was a wonderful experience. We conducted the workshop in Vitoria - Praia do Canto, Brazil, with close to 25 participants over 6 days. Participants were from different backgrounds, including students working on clinical projects, plant science, environmental science, global health, biology and basic sciences. The level of competencies ranged from no experience to intermediate levels. Thus, the design of the materials will have to cater to a wider audience and to tailor to the different levels of competencies in the participants. Often, we reviewed our lessons daily, so that the audience could better understand the fundamental concepts. I have to thank Justin and Clara for their hard work as well, with the goal of making the workshop an enjoyable experience.
To ensure that the participants understood the basics, we structured the lessons into theory and practical sessions, with emphasis on the theory as I was keen in educating the concepts that could potentially be applied to research.
Despite the diverse backgrounds, I was happy to see that the participants were interested in the workshop contents and were passionate in trying out the codes in the practical sessions. On the last day of the workshop was a practical session where participants were divided into groups to solve a data science question or make a Streamlit app. The participants loved the practical session, and it is indeed satisfying to see that they were enthusiastic in wanting to solve the data science questions. At the end, one of the groups even did a web tool showing dengue incidences in Vitoria, which I thought was innovative and exciting! It was also very nice that some of the participants offered us gifts to show their appreciation, and hoped that we can come again to Brazil for a "second edition"!
To improve the learning experience for future students, I conducted a short feedback survey on their personal opinions and ideas on how the module can be improved. Overall, the ratings for the instructors, content, materials and assessment received high ratings of more than 4 (out of 5). Perhaps, we will need to work on developing more introduction on fundamental concepts and provide more practical sessions so that the participants are more confident of the knowledge and use Python and R more confidently.
Generally the feedback was positive. More analysis coming up! The participants loved the instructors, so big thanks to Justin and Clara for facilitating the practical sessions.
Overall, the experience was an enjoyable one. The participants were appreciative of the knowledge they have gained, and one of them even jokingly asked if they can work in my lab! I have learnt a lot from them as well, including their research, the culture and their views on scientific research. If given the opportunity, I will think about the second edition, which will likely be related to infectious disease research. I would also like to thank Rachel and Bruno for making this experience a memorable one. Brazil will now always have a special place in my heart, all thanks to the wonderful people I have met :) Cheers, and hope to be back soon!