By Lyndsay Kosidlo, Danielle Ross and Meiyun Chang-Smith
Earlier this year, instigated by Intersect’s Education and Outreach Manager Dr. Meiyun Chang-Smith, a high-flying team of Australian computational materials scientists coalesced with the vision of building a large scale national teaching collaboration to provide comprehensive exposure for Australian higher degree research (HDR) students and early career (ECR) scientists to state-of-the art approaches to high performance computing and data (HPCD) methods in materials design and discovery. Drawing on Intersect and NCI’s complementary expertise, the remarkable Collaborative Graduate Education Program was formed.
After prior survey feedback and intensive planning, the highly anticipated inaugural collaborative course, HPC and Data in Materials Design and Discovery, launched successfully on the 3rd of September. The first truly national collaborative program of its type and scale, the course was purposefully designed and delivered by a brilliant teaching team of renowned professors from various research and science-related fields, located at a number of tertiary institutions across Australia. As the facilitator and coordination hub, Intersect worked collaboratively and closely with tier 1 HPC facility NCI Australia, to provision the unique and well–structured program that delivered open access to comprehensive, high quality, advanced online graduate education for Australian HDR students as well as hands-on tutorials utilising NCI’s Gadi supercomputing platform.
Halfway through the semester, the course had received hugely positive survey responses from the student cohort. The feedback from that mid-term survey indicated that the average satisfaction score (out of 10, where 10 is extremely satisfied) was 9.0 for the lecture content, 9.2 for the lecture delivery, and 9.2 for course organisation/coordination, reflecting very high levels of satisfaction rate from participants.  Intersect sat down in October with some of the course Organising Committee members and got to know their motivations behind joining this fantastic program, and their experience thus far.