Biodiversity Conservation Society Sarawak
Pertubuhan Konservasi Biodiversiti Sarawak
bcss wildlife stats trainers area
Next "Elf Camp"!
This will be in Bhutan, 17-23 September, targeting especially Elves from South Asia. As usual, by invitation only, and restricted to folks who have done 2 Boot Camps and promise to help with BCSS workshops in the future.
You will need to be in Thimphu on Sun 15th Sept or early Mon 16th to get official travel documents before travelling to Bhumthang on 17th. If you are not staying on to help with the Boot Camp, you'll travel back to Thimphu on 23rd. The Boot Camp will finish on 6 Oct with travel back to Thimphu on Mon 7th.
Workshops planned for 2019
In 2019 we have planned some workshops in parallel, with one being run by Ngumbang, and the other by Mike, as indicated in parentheses below.
January 7-18 - Sunway University, Kuala Lumpur - completed.
July 3-14 - Mandalay, Myanmar (Ngumbang) - completed
July 8-19 - Kuala Lumpur, pre-ICCB (Mike) - cancelled, not enough applicants.
August - Visakhapatnam, India (Mike) - postponed to November
August 19-30 - Suranaree University of Technology, Thailand (Ngumbang) - full booked
August 29-Sept 9 - Sri Lanka, pre-ATBC-AP meeting (Mike) - applications open.
September - Bhutan, Elf Camp followed by a Boot Camp - confirmed but details to be worked out
October - College of African Wildlife Management, Tanzania - details being worked out.
November - Visakhapatnam, India - tentative
December - Kuching - suggested
...and in prospect for 2020
February - Kuala Lumpur - tentative
March - Philippines - tentative
April - Bogor, Indonesia - tentative
July - Thailand, JAGS workshop - suggested
Trainers workshop, KL, 9-13 January 2018
We held another "Elf Camp" in Jan 2018 with Ian Signer as the lead facilitator. See photo here.
We followed the same format at in 2015: learning principles, a framework for assessing lessons, and facilitating techniques in the first two days, then participants practicing lessons in the last three days.
Twelve participants came, most from Malaysia but with folk from Bangladesh, Indonesia, Nepal and Thailand (see the new additions to Who We Are), so we are moving further towards an international instructor team.
The Elf Camp was followed by the Boot Camp at Sunway University (15-26 January), and four of the Elf Camp alumni - and Ian - stayed on to help with the Boot Camp, and to look critically at ways to improve our teaching.
Codes are date (YYMM) and location, see Past Workshops for details.
Participants in the Jan 2018 Elf Camp:
Participants in the Dec 2015 Elf Camp (post Jan 2018 in red).:
Alumni of previous Elf Camps who are still active:
Strategies for the future
Towards the end of the 2015 Elf Camp we had an open discussion on future strategies of the Boot Camp, in the context of increased demand from potential participants. (We had done 5 Boot Camps in the previous 12 months.)
Some of the main points from the discussion were:
Trainers workshop, KL, 7-11 December 2015
We had 12 participants for the 5-day "Elf Camp" plus Ian Signer, Ngumbang and Mike as facilitators. See photo here.
The first 2 days were devoted to learning principles, a framework for assessing lessons, and questioning techniques. Most of the time in the last 3 days was taken by practice lessons run by participants followed by feedback from the rest of the group. This brought up lots of suggestions for ways to improve the activities.
The 5-day format was much better than the 2-day sessions we have run for elf training in the past, and will be the format of choice for the future.
Apart from the official curriculum, participants made a video "All about that Bayes" which is now on YouTube.
Why Bayes first?
We scrapped NHST in 2013 and confidence intervals were downgraded after Dec 2014. In Bangkok in July 2015 we ran a revamped Boot Camp introducing Bayesian analysis before frequentist and information theoretic (AIC) methods. All Boot Camps since then have used this "Bayes First" approach.
Frequentist methods seem simple and intuitive, but the intuitions are wrong: a p-value is not the probability that null hypothesis is true, a confidence interval is not a credible interval. For details see Gigerenzer, Hoekstra, Morey...
The Bayesian approach is intuitive and the intuitions are correct. It can be taught at elementary level, eg Albert & Rossman. The impression that Bayesian methods are difficult comes when people turn to Bayesian analysis when they encounter problems that cannot be solved with frequentist methods: the Bayesian approach works, but it's not going to be simple.
We no longer have to worry about Bayesian methods being criticized as "unscientific". A bigger worry is that a tradition of using uninformative priors seems to have taken hold in ecology.
Updated 16 July 2019 by Mike Meredith