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BITC / BBII - 02 Intro to BITC

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tell you a little bit about the overall program we call it the biodiversity informatics training curriculum. and the thinking behind this whole project is that biodiversity informatics is a new field now there have been people doing parts of this field for a long long time back to Linnaeus perhaps but doing this as a formal field within the realm of informatics which is actually new as a consequence of that there are really no established comprehensive programs for the time being there's no place example to go and do a PhD in biodiversity informatics now that may change very soon right here in southern Africa with a program being developed at the University of Western Cape but really it's not like insect systematics where you might go to Cornell university it's not like most universities where you could get a degree in statistics this is a field that really doesn't have that established program still worse is that there aren't many training resources there aren't text books for example there aren't references or established protocols in large part obviously exceptions but really there aren't these established ways of doing business and at the same time this is a field that is growing massively the investment you can see here at Zanbi you can see at countries around the world and concede international efforts very basically there's a lot of interest and a lot of investment in this field and yet we are without these established protocols, best practices, wisdom of experience so that's exactly what goes behind this program the other thing that goes behind thids program is my own interests this program is eating up an immense amount of my time for the past and next several years but my intersets are global that's where my students have come from I've been involved in teaching short courses around the world for a number of years and I got this interest but I was so frustrated with the model the model was five ten years ago get some experts together and get some smart people who want to learn the techniques from the experts get them all together in a room ,sit for a week and work together what are the problems? the problems are it's only 5, 10, 15, 20 participants and the other problem is that your experts only have certain ability to go to a place so you really have very limited diffusion and that was very frustrating to me so over the past 5, 10 years with a couple of colleagues I've been exploring how we can use technology to solve some of those problems in person interaction, training, learning, teaching is always best but wehave very simple technologies at our disposal now. that can change this picture a bit so one of the very simplest is youtube which is to say we have a quite efficient means of sharing digital video world wide, essentially every internet cafe in the world gets you some degree of access to youtube and it's a very effective way of communicating at least the lecture part if not the practical part of training courses we have explored another interesting solution which is language my language capacities are rather poorly adapted for Africa I speak English pretty much OK. I speak Spanish rather fluently and Portuguese rather less more fluently and a little bit of Malay so doesn't do me much good in French speaking Africa so in the sense of a partial solution what we've begun doing is transcribing all of the videos and then there is a platform on the web what's called the dotsub which allows crowd sourcing of subtitling so there is a group of people in Egypt when we put out a video subtitle in English they translate it into Arabic and we have done tests where we can take an hour long lecture put out the English transcription and within a week it is translated into French, Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic and Chinese so these are some really interesting technological boosts this provides a lot of content. it makes it available globally in theory it's at relatively low expense for the benefit I repeat what I had said on a previous slide which is in my view there is really no substitute for in person work I would go one more step further that there is no substitute for full doctoral study so that's my real goal, but this is a way of getting people around the world in contact with the experts and doing that on a rather broader scale it doesn't get everything done. but it gets several steps taken in person training courses, digital videos of everything, gets published to youtube, gets transcribed English subtitles, translated and then we provide XXXXXXXX information, for example the literarture circulated to you all by email links to that literature will be provided within the youtube meta data so in theory the idea is that people around the world will have access to the same content that we will have here funding for this comes from the JRS biodiversity foundation they have as their mission to support research and activity in biodiversity informatics I submitted a proposal to JRS in January 2012 it was funded in June 2012 when I was in XXXXXXXX with XXXXXXXX's group it was terrible as I had been thinking like I was just going to do research while I was there and all of a sudden I had to switch gears and get this program in the works we are envisioning 9 sets of courses on diverse topics, I'll show you those in a moment and one thing I am going to emphasize is that this is absolutely XXXXXX funding it's generous funding from JRS, but for the amount of things that we are trying to do it's barebones so I would have liked to bring in more people and more experts and more time, but the budget simply doesn't allow it. so we are doing the very best with a generous grant but we are trying to do a little too much the topics we were hoping to cover in these several years are a bunch of introductory topics essentially what is this field how do we publish scientific papers, how do we write proposals things like that major challeneges besides these are how do we capture biodiversity data that are not currently digital how do we clean and publish biodiversity data that those were the subjects of a week of interaction in Nairobi the February of this year then we start into essentially how do we use this data and one use to which this data had been put is attempting to model ecological niches of species that also was a course that was done in Nairobi in february next week we'll be talking about a bunch of other analysis to which biodiversity data can be put this course as you is about building the institutions at some point we are hoping to do a course on optimal design and implementation of biodiversity inventory efforts and developing biodiversity diagnostics at a regional or national scale and implementing biodiversity conservation efforts you can see it's a huge spectrum of activity and it relies on the participation of a bunch of experts because this is a spectrum that is far too diverse for 1 or few people to speak to authoritatively so we are right here in this progression and coming up we are hoping to have courses in probably Ghana, Cairo in 2014 those will be announced on as many venues as we can find but the easiest way to keep track of these announcements is via the facebook group I'll show you the link to that in a moment where is this really going? eventually I like to see it extend across organisimal biology I am going to challenge my colleagues at the University of Kansas this fall to say "how about if we take our entire graduate curriculum, make it digital and make it online so that the professors can focus on getting deeper and deeper rather than giving the same lecture that they've given for the past 10 years

Video Details

Duration: 16 minutes and 1 second
Country: United States
Language: English
Views: 28
Posted by: townpeterson on Aug 30, 2013

BITC/BBII

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