Wednesday, May 28, 2008

A retrospective on seminars

This week I led two seminars for the Data Warehousing course at the Università degli Studi di Milano (see older posts). I found the experience really interesting, because once again, and after so much time, it saw me behind the desk instead sitting of in front of it.

The seminars were about a real (and successful) project which saw me deeply involved for quite an amount of time; the first one dealt with the business aspects, while the second one was more practical and dwelt into the nuts and bolts of the integration of different data sources.

The attendees found the first one far more interesting, 35% of them asserting they had a very high return and received a benefit greater than time invested; another 35% said they received a benefit equal to time invested. The remaining attendees were kind enough to explain me they found it difficult to follow topics which tipically belong to a real world environment armed only with an academic education; the fact that I had to squeeze the work of two years in a couple of hours couldn't but worsen their situation.

The second seminar was only evaluated slightly over the break even, which I really expected as normal given the subject, which is very important but (at least from my point of view) far less appealing. Anyway, to quote Esther Derby and Diana Larsen, "We're happy if most [attendees] feel the meeting was at least a break-even investment ", so I'm quite happy, even if "There's always room for improvement".

I want to thank Professor Silvana Castano for giving me this opportunity and all the attendees, who contributed with their discussions to add value to the meeting - which is, after all, at least in my humble opinion, what seminars are for. Break a leg for your final test, everyone!

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