2010/WhySo

A different kind of workshop

Most workshops you have been to are probably more like poetry readings. People go to say their piece, hope someone appreciates it, and then they leave.

The Telluride Workshop is focused on hands-on project work with talks meant to complement the projects. In the past, we have suffered through long and overfull Powerpoint bullet attacks, filled with detailed research results that taxed listeners to their knees. Discussion was stifled by the speakers' need to hit the audience with a deluge of information and the large number of long talks made it hard to get going on the projects.

Following the lead of the successful format of the  Capo Caccia Cognitive Neuromorphic Engineering Workshop, the Telluride workshop will try to move its presentations back to its roots, which are centered on the identification of open problems and questions and attempts to find routes to their resolution. At the same time, we will try to keep our roots in education, by including basic tutorials on fields and methods, along with lots of hands-on project work which is guided by leaders in the fields.

In keeping with this goal, we are now identifying two types of presentation: 1) the Discussion and 2) the Lecture_Tutorial. The Discussion is a PDF_PowerPoint-free, chalk/flipchart talk meant to present and interactively discuss IDEAS. The Lecture_Tutorial is the old style, presentation of material meant to "Show what I did" or "Show lots of photos/diagrams/data".

The topic area leaders are largely responsible for arranging each day's morning discussion session with these aims in mind. Four or five presenters each morning should try to stimulate the audience to an active debate, centered around identification of open problems and possible approaches to their resolution. Topic leaders can recruit their presenters from anyone at the workshop and are not limited to their invitees.

Of course speakers should preface the discussion with background for the uninitiated; these morning sessions however are not the place for an extensive beginners tutorial - these tutorials will take place in the afternoons of the first week - and are also not the place to brag about your lab's accomplishments, except to the extent that these accomplishments raise new questions.

The plan above is the result of a lot of discussion, and the generally favorable impression that this approach has received at the Capo Caccia workshop.