Thursday, May 28, 2020

May's professional development

The professional travel opportunities upon which I normally count on for professional development fell through due to the COVID-19 pandemic. That's understandable. Any international travel would have been impossible, due to multiple travel bans. I was slated to go to Victoria, in British Columbia, Canada in June. In addition to the travel ban between the US and Canada that was on-going, as I recall, there was also the matter of my university system banning professional travel through the end of the fiscal year. The pandemic-caused recession (possibly a depression) would have decimated travel funds at my university in any case this fiscal year, and likely will for the upcoming fiscal year. That's another story for another time.

While in Victoria, just prior to the start of SIPS, one of the activities on my docket was to attend a repliCATS workshop to assess the probability that research claims would replicate. It's the same workshop format from last year, and I found it to be quite valuable an experience. Thankfully, the sponsors of the workshop flipped the format, and allowed us to participate asynchronously earlier this month instead. The experience was a bit different. I don't think there was quite the opportunity to interact with other team members while assessing claims as there might have been in person, but I still had the benefit of viewing claims not only through my particular frames, but through the eyes of my team members. As was the case last year, I found myself reassessing my assumptions and much more often than not revising my probability estimates. To make up for some of the lack of in person socialization, we were also set up on Slack, with multiple channels, including a miscellaneous one where we shared photos of our cats (and dogs), as well as a contest each day with a claim in which we guessed whether or not it replicated. The wisdom of the crowd seemed to prevail. Overall, this was well-run, and I learned a thing or two once more. As we get used to working remotely, I suspect that we will get better at working and communicating in-depth asynchronously. The opening and closing Zoom sessions were informative, and were also enjoyable.I have no idea when face-to-face travel and meetings will be doable for many of us, but I am quite optimistic that we can adapt as needed.