General Evaluation of the In-residence Workshop held at the Beckman Institute

July 25 - August 5, 2011

Questionnaire: Theoretical and Computational Biophysics Group
Analysis and report: David Brandon, TCB group, UIUC

On the last day of the in-residence workshop, participants were asked to complete a general evaluation form consisting of questions about outcomes, instructors, environment and technical resources, communication and dissemination, and overall satisfaction. Several open questions about the workshop were also asked. A copy of the evaluation form can be found here. All four participants completed the evaluation, providing a 100% response rate.

I. Outcomes

Strongly Disagree 
Strongly Agree
1. The Workshop broadened my understanding of concepts and principles in the field of Computational and Theoretical Biophysics.
2. The Workshop improved my ability to carry out original research in the field of Theoretical and Computational Biophysics.
3. The Workshop improved significantly my computational skills.
4. The Workshop taught me techniques directly applicable to my career.
5. The Workshop helped me launch and/or refine my modeling project.

II. Instructors

N Strongly Disagree  Disagree  Unsure  Agree Strongly Agree
1. The TA assigned to my project was knowledgeable. 4         100%
2. The TA assigned to my project was readily available to help me. 4         100%
3. The TA assigned to my project devoted enough time to my project. 4       25% 75%
4. The workshop provided sufficient access to TCBG faculty. 4       50% 50%
5. There were enough TAs / instructional staff to help workshop participants 4         100%
6. The level of explanations given me was appropriate. 4       25% 75%
7. The underlying rationale of the techniques presented to me was clear. 4       25% 75%
8. Other TCBG members (apart from my TA) were helpful to me. 4         100%

III.  Environment and Technical Resources

N Strongly Disagree Disagree Unsure Agree Strongly Agree
1. The workshop provided sufficient office space for me to work. 4         100%
2. The workshop provided sufficient computational resources for my work. 4       25% 75%
3. The workshop provided sufficient housing accommodations. 4     25% 50% 25%

IV. Communication and Dissemination

N Strongly Disagree  Disagree  Unsure  Agree Strongly Agree
1. The Workshop web site was informative about the event. 4       75% 25%
2. The organizational emails before the Workshop were helpful. 4       25% 75%

V. Overall Satisfaction

N Strongly Disagree  Disagree  Unsure  Agree Strongly Agree
1. The Workshop was well organized. 4         100%
2. The Workshop addressed my research needs. 4         100%
3. Overall, the Workshop met my expectations. 4         100%
4. I would recommend this Workshop to others. 4         100%

VII. Comments

The evaluation form also solicited written responses to open questions, on subjects such as improving the workshop, suggestions for similar workshops, the value of workshop topics, and an area for open responses. The number of comments per question varied; sample comments per question are listed below. Full comment results can be requested from the  organizers by emailing

What suggestions do you have for improving the Workshop?

  • I can only suggest having demos and discussing projects as a group before the end of the workshop. The demos really helped me understand the breadth that MD is capable of and got me thinking about other applications in my own work. Also, it would be great to know what the other participants are doing. For instance, Ye and I were both doing pulling simulations and needed to learn how to make a waterbox. It would have been more efficient to have a TA teach both of us simultaneously, although we did not do this because we didn't know what each other was working on!
  • 1) Demos/talks by TCBG members, 2) more disk space, 3) a bit more documentation and guidance on where to run jobs (beowulf, gpu, etc.)
  • I think there is basically only one thing that needs to be improved: when we left the office, there is no access to the computer in the facility (in other words, I cannot connect to the computer online), which makes it difficult to check the status of simulation, or copying the files, since the simulation would be stopped if there is no space on the hard drive, and I cannot remove files remotely, this caused me some trouble.
  • Include pre-workshop presentations and post-workshop presentations.

What suggestions do you have for similar workshops?

  • Workshops are extremely beneficial when able to work on something directly related to research. It would be great if other workshops allowed participants to bring a project or problem that they have been working on.
  • I think more NIH resources should follow this model.
  • The accessibility of TAs and other members of group is so nice! I really helps me a lot talking and learning from the group's members.

Other comments?

  • The workshop exceeded all my expectations. I was extremely impressed with the generosity and knowledge of TAs and the hospitality of the lab. I am left with an excellent impression on how MD works and the ways it can be used for research. Two weeks is just enough time to get to know the software and how to fix things when they go wrong. This was a fantastic opportunity and I believe it would be extremely beneficial for other researchers.
  • This is the best use of tax dollars I can think of. This was such a valuable and enjoyable experience. Please continue to hold them!!
  • This workshop is very good in the sense that it directly helps me with my project!
  • I was very satisfied.