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

July 16-27, 2012

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 five 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.
    20% 40% 40%
2. The Workshop improved my ability to carry out original research in the field of Theoretical and Computational Biophysics.
    20% 40% 40%
3. The Workshop improved significantly my computational skills.
40%   60%
4. The Workshop taught me techniques directly applicable to my career.
    20% 20% 40%
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. 5       20% 80%
2. The TA assigned to my project was readily available to help me. 5       60% 40%
3. The TA assigned to my project devoted enough time to my project. 5       60% 40%
4. The workshop provided sufficient access to TCBG faculty. 5       60% 40%
5. There were enough TAs / instructional staff to help workshop participants 5       60% 40%
6. The level of explanations given me was appropriate. 5     20% 40% 40%
7. The underlying rationale of the techniques presented to me was clear. 5     20% 60% 20%
8. Other TCBG members (apart from my TA) were helpful to me. 5     20% 40% 40%

III.  Environment and Technical Resources

N Strongly Disagree Disagree Unsure Agree Strongly Agree
1. The workshop provided sufficient office space for me to work. 5       20% 80%
2. The workshop provided sufficient computational resources for my work. 5       20% 80%
3. The workshop provided sufficient housing accommodations. 5     20% 20% 60%

IV. Communication and Dissemination

N Strongly Disagree  Disagree  Unsure  Agree Strongly Agree
1. The Workshop web site was informative about the event. 5       80% 20%
2. The organizational emails before the Workshop were helpful. 5         100%

V. Overall Satisfaction

N Strongly Disagree  Disagree  Unsure  Agree Strongly Agree
1. The Workshop was well organized. 5       20% 80%
2. The Workshop addressed my research needs. 5       40% 60%
3. Overall, the Workshop met my expectations. 5       20% 80%
4. I would recommend this Workshop to others. 5       20% 80%

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 paraphrased or quoted below. Full comment results can be requested from the  organizers by emailing

What suggestions do you have for improving the Workshop?

  • Let participants know in advance they will be giving three presentations, what should be in each presentation
  • Have contact between participants and their TAs (email, Skype) before arrival, so they will be better equipped to help participants when they get here.
  • Clarify which group participants will work with so that there isn't the chance of people presenting their work twice during meetings
  • Allow equal amounts of time for participants to present their project talks.

What suggestions do you have for similar workshops?

  • Keep the number of participants low, it is good for networking
  • Dorm accommodations are a good idea, as it easier to convince bosses to go for workshop
  • Keep the length of the workshop, its the perfect amount of time to start a project and learn how to proceed
  • Have group members introduce their areas of research to participants, and how you might continue to work together beyond the workshop
  • Have a lunch period or other meeting where participants learn what can be done with VMD and NAMD

Other comments?

  • "I really appreciate the assistance offered during the workhsop! Thank you for organizing it and making the atmosphere so friendly - it's been pleasure learning from our TA's and I look forward to continuing the cooperation & returning to UIUC in the near future. Again, thank you!"
  • "I can't say enough about the workshop. It exceeded my expectations. Two weeks of intensive training in computational biophysics. Its hard to assess if it was explained or taught well enough since there is a short time frame. My TAs were wonderful and helpful. The facilities were better then described with office space and general use space. Everyone was very friendly and helpful. Hopefully this begins an ongoing dialogue if problems should arise with NAMD."