What is a Consultant?

This course adopts the philosophy from the C++ course that the distinction between 'teachers' and 'students' is minimal. We are all here to learn and we should use this word throughout the course. During the C++ course several 'students' became consultants during the course and I am sure that will happen here. In general, therefore, a consultant is someone who has committed themselves to helping some aspect of the course run well.

I have invited about ten leading protein structure and bioinformatics groups to act as consultants and most of them have replied and said 'yes' (Sept 18 1994). At least two others said 'yes' informally before the course announcement. rather than having a small number of individuals, therefore, there will be regular contact with these groups who will have their own styles. Some, for example, may prepare material but not take a major part in interactive discussion; others may be the reverse. In all cases, however, we shall have the benefit of advice and moderation from leading groups.

In addition I have invited about 5 people who are mainly concerned with the technology required to support this course. Our visions for this are ambitious and may not all work (!) so don't shoot them - even virtually.

We shall always be pleased to hear from people wishing to be consultants, but be aware that there is a substantial commitment and you'll probably need to be involved in preparing hypermaterial for the discipline, or be active in developing technology of the sort that you see here. In keeping with our philosophy there are, of course, no formal qualifications!

Students are equal partners on the course and many of them will find that they have a background which is complementary to the theme of the copurse and can make major contributions. On the C++ course there were students who made very significant contributions in the technology , the projects and the subject matter.

I hope that during the first phase of preparation, the consultants will take over parts of the course on a modular basis. This is best done by volunteering (e.g. "I already have a set of Ramachandran maps for teaching; I'd be happy to construct a module about this."

The consultants will also be involved in discussing the material to be covered and what standard we hope to reach at the end of each module. I have no fixed ideas here, and I'm looking forward to moderating this discussion.

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pmr for pps
Sept 18 1994