Train the Trainer: Artificial Neural Networks

Zeynep Aki attended our incredibly popular Introduction to Artificial Neural Networks in Python workshop as part of our ‘Train the Trainer’ scheme and hosted another session at Durham University to expand the reach of this training. We caught up with him about the merits of this model and how it has benefited the community.

Where do you work and what is your role?

Durham University, Advanced Research Computing, Research Software engineer.

What did you think of the initial Introduction to Artificial Neural Networks in Python workshop?

Overall it was a fun session to run, quite unpredictable in terms of how long it would take to run as the train the trainer session lasted a lot longer than the session I ran with fewer breaks.

How did you go about setting up another training session at your institution?

I prepared a presentation with slides that included instructions and the code, explained the code line by line in the slide notes as preparation and printed the slides with the notes on the same page as the slide to give them out as handouts for people to follow as I gave the course, which made the course very efficient for two reasons. The first reason is that people had fewer questions to ask in terms of code and what it meant as there were explanations on what each line did and how, and the second reason is people spent more time listening and less time taking notes, so they didn’t fall behind very often. I also used Google Collab to run the session where people followed me through the screen to eliminate trying to install libraries on different operating systems at the start of the session to save time.

How was the training received?

The attendees seemed to have found it useful and asked for more resources such as courses and books that they could look into to take everything a step further.

What did you think of the ‘Train the Trainer’ model, and would you like to see it for more popular workshops?

I think the Train the Trainer session was quite beneficial in a sense that I got a good understanding of what I was planning on teaching. However, it was a lot of information to take in at once in a bulk of time with not a lot of breaks. For the future, if more Train the Trainer sessions are being planned, I would like to see it as a bootcamp/conference event where there are multiple sessions people can sign up and choose from that lasts over a week or so. This way people taking the Train the Trainer sessions would have a wider period to commit themselves on the topics and the sessions itself.

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