Training and education
The SIMORC data sets can be very useful to local and regional marine managers as complementary to their own observations. In case of many developing countries, the SIMORC data might provide even the only source of data. To support this aspect extra effort in the dissemination is dedicated to reaching oceanographers in developing countries worldwide. This is implemented by partner IOC-IODE, that has a global network with regional ocean data management activities in many developing regions.
IODE has a great experience on the organization of training events for scientists and data managers around the globe with a special attention on the specialists from developing countries. These are so called ODIN (Ocean Data and Information Networks) IODE projects. ODIN networks have been successfully implemented in Africa (ODINEA, ODINAFRICA) and South America and Caribbean region (ODINCARSA). The ODINCINDIO and ODINBLACKSEA pilot projects are now under development for the countries of the central part of the Indian Ocean and Black Sea region.. The ODIN projects involve at the moment more than 50 countries. They provide training as well as expert follow-up support by email and web and operational support for ODIN scientists and data managers.
These ODIN networks will be involved in the SIMORC by developing a dedicated SIMORC training curriculum that will be focusing on use and functionalities of the SIMORC facility for ocean and marine research and management primarily in developing countries.
IOC Project Office for IODE is now a main training venue of the IODE. It has 3 different training rooms fully equipped including a PC for each trainee with all necessary software, video and audio equipment, training server, and broadband Internet connection.
Starting from the Project Office inauguration in April 2005 29 training courses were held there. 20 of them were dedicated to the Ocean Data Management and at all of them information on SIMORC was presented.
Information on SIMORC was also presented on a number of the training courses organized by IODE and another International bodies and programs in the different countries.
The SIMORC related training activity will be strengthened by incorporating the SIMORC training curriculum in the IODE OceanTeacher training tool that is a collection of training tools for Oceanographic Data and Information Exchange and Management.
These tools are used during IODE Training Courses and can also be used for self-training and continuous professional development. The OceanTeacher training tools are now under redevelopment and special components will also be added to the OceanTeacher that will help the training of the scientists from developing countries on the SIMORC data processing and presentation.
The early prototypes of OceanTeacher were used in various ad-hoc training activities in the late 1990’s, but the first version of the current system of resources was initially developed in 2000, during the ODINAFRICA II program. The initial Data Management resources have been extended since that time with training materials on Information Management and specialized training courses such as Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Very intensive training activities in the framework of regional networks (ODINAFRICA, ODINCARSA, ODINCINDIO) have been based entirely on OceanTeacher. The system continues to grow and to evolve structurally, to meet current training needs. Areas of special growth have been operational oceanography, geographical information systems and biological oceanography.
OceanTeacher provides a broad platform for all IODE training activities in ocean data management and information management, both within formal workshop venues and in informal situations. Its homepage can be found at: http://www.oceanteacher.org
The previous static html version of OceanTeacher, which has grown steadily over the years (2000-2006), has now been transformed into an Integrated Expert and Training System for Oceanographic Data and Information Management (ODIMEX) using the existing OceanTeacher system and content as a basis. This work was carried out in the ODIMEX project which was funded by Flanders over a period of 4 years (2004-2007).
The Kewl.NextGen eLearning software was used to implement this new system. The new version is a single integrated e-learning and expert system providing all expert and training resources for marine data management and marine information management needed by professional ocean data and information managers and scientists involved in data management. It also provides the knowledge required by ocean researchers and students to interact effectively with their national oceanographic data centers.
The new system takes the ‘binary’ structure concept of the ‘old’ OceanTeacher framework as a starting point. The system serves both as an e-learning platform (the ‘training manuals’ of OceanTeacher) and as an encyclopedia style learning resource (the OceanTeacher Resource Kit). It allows developing new courses with a minimum of effort, providing the basic materials are already present. New material necessary to create new courses can be added to the Library quite easily, due to the very comprehensive taxonomy of data and information topics. The system enables users to browse the content freely or follow a specified course, as in the existing OceanTeacher Resource Kit.
The development and adding of a new training course dedicated to SIMORC was finalised in October 2007. It includes background information on SIMORC, how to use SIMORC, but moreover it includes various analysis and visualisation tools to work with the data and to generate data products and graphics.