The 2012 Summer Workshop, 26th in the series, was held at Goucher College’s striking Athenaeum Building overlooking a blooming prairie in Baltimore and set its own special mark in the annals of BioQUEST. The theme this year was Making a Difference with Data. As far as I’m concerned, we could have stopped at Making a Difference.
Workshops take on a life of their own as the participants, presenters, and staff interact and extend the original agenda. BioQUEST workshops are almost guaranteed to morph due to the dangerous mix of problem posing, problem solving and peer review. Open spaces, collegiality, collaboration, and shared work time aided the transformation. The sum of the individuals at the 2012 workshop proved far greater than their total.
We knew we were onto something special as groups formed around their projects. Participants conspired to improve the speed dating process to find potential partners by developing an Excel file of fields such as What do we know? Who knows this? What do we need to know? Who wants to know this? Who knows this? and populating the fields with participant information. The result: Who ya gonna call? Participant Finder
This was also the year of the Stacey Cases. Inspired by a presentation from Science Case Network RCN-UBE Project PI, Margaret Waterman, many groups decided to use cases to introduce their projects around data literacy, data mash-ups, data sets, data analysis and visualization, and big data. Oh, they also included a character named Stacey in each case. (Normally you would have to be there to get the joke, but fortunately I can let you know why Stacey became an instant favorite name for characters in a case..)
The real Stacey is Stacey Kiser, the new Vice President of BioQUEST from Lane Community College in Eugene, Oregon. Retiring Director of BioQUEST, Ethel Stanley, was known to call both Kristin Jenkins, new Executive Director of BioQUEST, and local host, Gretchen Koch-Noble, by the name of Stacey during times of stress… In fact, even Kristin started calling folks Stacey as well. As a result, Stacey, Kristin, and Gretchen bore name tags with all three of their names. As a memory aid to others, the two incorrect names were crossed out.
To see these fab Stacey Cases in the Final Projects as well as the use of data, go to the BQ Blog Posts. We really do work in our workshops!
Note: We are sharing a Stacey Case below that was written at the BQ workshop by our very own SCN members.
A spontaneous case authored by E.Stanley (aka Stacey), M.Waterman, K.Klyczek, and M.Bergland during their SCN meeting after lunch.
Out of Thin Air…
A few moments after the meeting began, Stacey was surprised as a spool of string suddenly appeared outside the window from the upper floor of the building and fell rapidly unwinding string behind it. Nudging Margaret, she directed her attention to the dangling string.
“Look,” Margaret exclaimed as the string was pulled taught from below and angled away from the building.
Mark and Karen turned around to look as a cell phone hanging by its strap began sliding down the string. They watched silently as the unseen team jiggled the string to keep the phone moving downwards.
Mark asked, “What do you think is going on?”
“Do you think they are students doing a lab?” Karen suggested.
“Data collection?” Stacey asked.
“Maybe they are taking pictures for an art project?” Mark offered.
“How about some ap for rate of descent?” Karen added.
“Wow, wouldn’t this make a great case for teaching instructional design?” Margaret asked.
The group looked at each other and smiled in agreement.