Train the Trainers workshop and beyond
Marine EO researcher Marie Smith talks about her participation in the Copernicus Marine Train the Trainers workshop, and how it helped her to plan and conduct further African training courses.
08 June 2021
07 June 2021
I was lucky enough to participate in the Train the Trainers: Tools & techniques for teaching about Copernicus marine data. The course was jointly organised by UNESCO/IOC Project Office for IODE, EUMETSAT and CMEMS, and took place online between 23 June and 10 July 2020.
The CSIR are the lead of the Marine and Coastal Services for Southern Africa (MarCOSouth) consortium within the GMES & Africa programme. As part of this project we provide Marine EO training courses for African participants. Traditionally these courses took a similar format to EUMETSAT Marine Training, where the first few weeks are a self-taught learning phase, followed by a week of in-person practical training, facilitated by specialist trainers, where students could work on a mini-project directly aligned with their own research or work.
The global COVID pandemic necessitated a change in the way that many of us teach, requiring most subsequent training courses to take place entirely online. This was a big learning curve for all of us: we needed to figure out new ways of providing the appropriate levels of student support, while facilitating the learning of new concepts, practical exercises, and group interactions in a remote environment.
However, the concept of fully online training courses also provided the opportunity and potential to reach more students, across a wider community, than would normally be possible by in-person training, without the limitations associated with international travel.
Similarly, the Train the Trainers course was moved entirely online. This provided the ideal environment to assess and perceive how online training would be experienced by our future students. It was very useful to see how the course was organised, the recommended formats, ratios of trainers to participants, and online hosting software. The added benefit of sharing past experiences with other trainers, and learning what works and doesn’t work, really helped me to plan our 2020 online courses.
Stemming from this course we based our online training on the dedicated EUMETSAT training website, due to existing collaborations between EUMETSAT and GMES & Africa. This powerful framework, built on open source content data and tools, allowed us to make use of existing resources as much as possible, as well as importing our existing content. So far we have run two fully online Marine Earth Observation (EO) training courses within the GMES & Africa programme, one in collaboration with Mauritius Oceanography Institute (MOI) and one for the MarCOSouth consortium.
The next Supporting Marine EO Educators: Professional development, knowledge exchange, and networking workshop, takes place 30 August-17 September 2021. Further details and registration
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