The course was held in the Oslo Science Park in week 13 (25-29 March) and week 19 (6-10 May). There were several PhD students attending the course in Oslo, and (for the first time) several following the course remotely (from Bergen, Tromsø and Ås). The students were assigned problems daily, and discussed those at the beginning of the lecture the next day. They also gave research talks on the final day, on topics relevant to the course and to their own research. The topics ranged from small scale mixing in the ocean to horizontal convection, mixing at the tropopause and in the mesosphere. A number of the presentations are available on the course website:
The course functioned fairly well. This was the first time we streamed the lectures, and there were some hiccups early on. After the first week we purchased a more expensive web camera, and that allowed for a clearer, wider view of the screen. The students taking the course remotely were very positive about the experience. One said, “For me the streaming was working very well. I would not have participated in the course if I had to fly to Oslo, both for convenience and environmental issues”. Another noted that using a single whiteboard (due to having a fixed camera) was limiting, particularly when presenting the problems – but added “the pros of not having to go stay in Oslo for the weeks of the course totally outweighs the cons of doing it through live stream. I may not have had the opportunity to take the course if not for this option.” A third student commented, “In my opinion the whole concept works great, as we are kind of “sister” institutions these online-access courses might help us share our know-how and make available to other universities the specific strong-points some of our lecturers have. I hope to see more of this in the near future.”
So I think we can conclude that streaming courses is a viable choice for CHESS (as we are a research school focusing on climate, reducing air travel is definitely positive). We will continue to investigate options in Oslo, including different online providers (we used “Videobro”) and cameras.
Photo and text: Joe LaCasce