Since I last posted, there has been a lot of progress in the PhD department. First of all, I’ve been through some drafts of both the proposal and the literature review. Most exciting, volunteers have been trained and video analyses have started. I currently have 7 volunteers that come in once a week. We have 2 computers available at all times so there is a lot of time wasted (no one at a computer) where videos could be watched. In order to get more volunteers, I asked friends and current volunteers to suggest people to join. Unsurprisingly, that didn’t lead to more volunteers. Because I am at JCU and there is such a huge Marine Biology department, there are many undergrad and postgrad students looking for volunteer opportunities. I sent out an e-mail to postgrads asking for people to join Global FinPrint as tape readers. My initial plan was that anyone interested would be able to come help out, after all, there are 24 slots in the week that I need people (Monday-Saturday with a morning shift and afternoon shift for 2 computers = 24). Now, of course because what I asked for had the word ‘SHARK’ in the description, I got hammered with e-mails. In the first 24 hours, I received over 50 e-mails with more still coming in now. In order to narrow down the field, I made a really quick questionnaire asking about availability. I also added 3 small questions to see why people were interested in working with Global FinPrint:
- Why do you want to be involved in the Global FinPrint Project?
- What are your future career aspirations?
- What is something you've been a part of or personally accomplished that you are proud of?
I asked them to keep answers as short as possible because I would have to read up to 50 of them. The questionnaire was sent firstly to check availability, but also to see if they cared enough to send it back and to get to know a little bit more about them. I did not ask about prior experience because everyone needs to start somewhere and I didn’t want to hold that against people.
I gave everyone 5 days to fill it out and get back to me, which is the stage I’m in now. Students that were recommended to me by people I trust will be given precedence, however, I still have space for 17 students and would like to give an opportunity to as many people as possible. Once the volunteers are chosen, I’m going to have training sessions (starting next week) with up to 5 volunteers at a time. Their initial training shows them how to use the program and a little bit more about what to expect. Once the initial training is complete, they then come during their time slot. Every volunteer watches the same video for their first time. I have watched it myself three times now and have a print out of exactly what I’ve found to compare with their results. If they get similar results to me, they are free to watch other videos. If not, I go through the annotating process with them again and have a second ‘test’ video. The process is not too difficult so most people do well on the first video and go on to find lots of cool things!
I’m excited to get the new volunteers sorted so we can get through all our videos quickly! I will let you all know how it’s going in my next post. For now, check out some BRUVS screenshots in the gallery below! Follow me on twitter @SammSherman27 for a #BRUVShotOfTheWeek each Friday. As always, thanks for reading! Feel free to share and comment!