Information for course coordinators

The course portfolio of BioSB can only maintain its high quality thanks to the course coordinators, teachers and lecturers involved in the courses. We highly value the time BioSB members put in developing course material and teaching. In this document we briefly summarize what course organizers can expect from BioSB and some general guidelines for BioSB courses.

Benefits

In order to enable course organisers to fully focus on the quality of the course content, the BioSB office (Femke Francissen) takes care of:

  1. sending out regular course announcements within the BioSB network, to social networks (Twitter, Facebook) and (inter)national mailing lists to attract participants;
  2. processing all course registrations and payments via the BioSB website;
  3. handling and sending out course certificates to participants;
  4. collecting course evaluations and sharing them with the course organisers.

BioSB also reimburses up to 37.75 euro (including VAT) for drinks and meals per participant (including teachers) per day. Part of this budget can also be used to organise, for example, a welcome reception with drinks and bites. YoungCB also regularly organizes BioCafe events, either separately, or as part of a BioSB course. Please get in touch with YoungCB if this is something you would like to organize.

As a token of appreciation BioSB offers a 20% discount on the course fee for at most five participants from the same institute(s) as the course organisers.

General guidelines

To ensure that course participants enrolling in BioSB courses have a broad idea of what to expect, there are a number of guidelines related to overall organizational aspects:

  1. The minimum number of participants for a course to be held is ten. Cancellation or rescheduling of a course in case of a lower number of registrations is announced at the latest four weeks before the start of a course. In specific, this means that participants are advised to not make any travel arrangements or hotel bookings before receiving a final confirmation that the course will be held. In case of cancellation BioSB will only refund the registration fee;
  2. If needed for PhD graduate programs, ECTS can be given. The number of EC will be discussed per course between the coordinator and EduCom (guidelines: 1.5 EC for following a course for a week, 3 EC with a final assignment). This will be marked on the certificate and clearly stated on the BioSB website.
  3. During the course participants have to sign an attendance list on each day.

These guidelines will be communicated to course participants when they register for a course and on https://www.biosb.nl/education/enrollment/.

Testimonials

“For me, one of the main benefits of coordinating this course, is to continue teaching machine learning at the graduate level. I did my PhD in machine learning (long before it became fashionable) and still apply it in my own research. However, as our group is part of the faculty of medicine, hardly any machine learning is taught in our curricula. This BioSB course provides a unique opportunity to continue teaching state-of-the-art machine learning topics to a motivated group of mostly PhD students and post-docs, but often also people from industry. I enjoy learning about their, often very different, research questions and discussing how they could apply machine learning in their projects. Moreover, with machine learning being more and more used in (bio)medical research I also expect to reuse some of the material in courses that I teach at the AMC. Of course, coordinating a course takes time: teaching material has to be kept up-to-date and organizational matters have to be taken care of. But with the help of my co-teachers and the BioSB office, the time investment is relatively limited and for me definitely worth it!”

Perry Moerland (Bioinformatics Laboratory, Amsterdam UMC),
coordinator/teacher of Machine Learning for Bioinformatics and Systems Biology

“I have large experience organizing courses, which are mostly attended by researchers working locally. Personally I learn a lot from each course, partly because keeping the material up-to-date and presenting it always improves my own understanding. Questions from participants also push me to discover new things. But organizing each course requires also attracting enough participants, as well as time to handle registrations, course certificates, etc. Recently I co-organized a course jointly with the BioSB. We were able to attract more participants with relevant background than before, making for a motivated audience and nice discussions. Moreover, it was great to be able to focus much more on quality of content, since BioSB processed registrations, badges and certificates. Furthermore, via BioSB we involved lecturers with experience complementary to ours, creating a more complete course.”

Reneé X. de Menezes (Netherlands Cancer Institute), 
coordinator/teacher of Statistics for Omics

“I started a few of the first courses that are now organized by BioSB and still help coordinate one, Algorithms for Genomics. While developing such a course takes time, coordinating and teaching a subsequent edition is often surprisingly little work, especially given the support of the BioSB office. At the same time I find it very rewarding, as it offers an excellent opportunity to teach a diverse group of motivated and smart researchers on some of the topics I love. Each time I learn a lot through the intensive interaction with the participants, discussing their research and problems with them. Over the years I have gotten to know quite a few young scientists throughout the country in this way. I also pick up new insights, from the discussions on recent literature that we incorporate and from working with colleagues from other institutes. Finally, teaching this course provides me with new insights and material I can use well in courses that I teach in my local MSc programme on similar topics. All in all I feel it is well worth the effort.”

Dick de Ridder (Bioinformatics Group, Wageningen University),
co-coordinator/teacher of Algorithms for Biological Networks