The participants of the 2013 course were invited to complete an online survey. Here is what they told us (we are publishing all the answers to the open questions; not all respondents answered all questions). Of course we are trying to address all the issues raised, with the goal of improving starting from the 2014 edition.
In general, what did you *dislike* most of your experience in Erice?
It might have been nice to have had a little time built into the schedule to see some of the beautiful areas surrounding ERICE, but that is not a big criticism.
The program was too packed and intense so there wasn’t any time to relax, enjoy the town, and socialize with the other attendees. Other than that, communication with the Ettore Majorana staff wasn’t very easy.
There was probably too many lectures. While the majority of them were relevant and interesting, three 9 hour days in a row is a lot to take in.
– the food was not so great; it varied between restaurants but generally speaking it was a little disappointing as my hopes were high for the sicilian food. As it was included in the fellowship I feel I had no right to complain, but it could be a point of improvement. Also, the travelling arrangements were slightly rigid, as there was almost no possibility for negotiation. Last: I felt I had too little time! But that’s actually interconnected to the next paragraph about what I liked most. 🙂
Nothing I really disliked, although I felt 3 days were too few for the complexity of the topic.
Being in a dark room all day while the surrounding town was so beautiful.
The non-anonymous survey that has been carried out at the end of the course by two persons (from the staff of the centre, I think), just while Fabio was presenting the online, anonymous – and I supposed official – survey.
Everything was fine.
The program was very packed and dense, would have preferred some more time to socialise.
we did not have the time to visit erice and trapani, nor the time to have some rest togheter and to talk freely among scientists and journalists.
I think there could have been perhaps a bit more time in between lectures, because it got a bit tought to concentrate after the third lecture, though I can’t say I “disliked” it, because I foudn the speakers very interesting and the lectures very stimulating overall.
The format of the lectures. Having a speaker talking for one hour and then allow some short questions seems very old fashioned to me and does not fit the topic of journalism and communication were more active participation and discussions would be more useful. Also, much time was spent on letting the teachers have internal discussions that did not include the students. The lecture hall was also very dark and cold.
Too much one way communication during the presentations. It’s hard to stay concentrated from 9 till 19:30
After a prsentations was finished, in many cases, the turn for questions was monopolized by people willing to state there opinion around a subject instead of doing questions. I understand that sometimes is tricky to cut theses kind of comments, but sometimes is necessary to allow the participation of more people. I understand the Internation School is in Italy but I also missed the participation of more “international” panelists.
The driver who took me to Erice did not speak or understand English and he left me at San Francesco without any instructions.
Some of the presentations were very techical like the MRI and I couldn’t follow them but of course that’s was my problem because i didnt have the appropriate knowledge.But generally everything was fine
I didn’t understand the point of having Fabiola Gianotti there. The topic was not relevant to the school, she is an excellent scientist but the Higgs story is not exactly new… Not really useful for journalists or communicators. Also, it would be better to have speakers who know English…
only that it was too short – another day or two would have been wonderful.
In general, what did you *like* most of your experience in Erice?
The thing I liked most about the experience was the feeling of being part of a group for the duration of the school. Living in similar locations, eating together for meals, and the fact that the town is not too busy all helped make it a special experience. The school itself was also a wonderful opportunity for me to get to understand Science Journalism better and I loved the neuroscience and imaging theme. In general the experience was wonderful.
Meeting fellow science communicators and journalists from all over the world, sharing experiences and knowledge, and building networks. As for Erice itself, I believe it is the perfect location for that kind of school.
Great program, engaging, inspiring and interesting lecturers.Great organisation too!
It was an excellent opportunity for networking and gaining a better understanding of how European Science journalism operates elsewhere.
I loved meeting so many people from different countries, with this interesting angle in science / communication / journalism in common. I hope next time it could be longer period, and perhaps the program could include some social / tourist activities, which there was hardly time for now – due to the full and interesting schedule.
Fabiola Gianotti’s lecture.
The neuroscience talks.
Balance between different perspectives in lectures.
I liked excellent organization of the School, travel and lodging; possibility to meet people working in the same field and willing to discuss and share honestly their opinions and experiences (as we all experience some difficulties being mostly freelancers it was great to see how other colleagues cope with) – nice to meet other idealist guys! An last but not least – the restaurants were lovely.
Arno Villringer’s lectures “The frontiers of knowing ourselves”
High quality talks and experts, productive and friendly atmosphere, warme welcome by the hosts – very enjoyable event.
the program was really interesting, so the debate.
The lectures in general but to be specific I really enjoyoed Arno Villringer sessions. I think most speakers were really good in general, but some of the other highlights would include Daniela Ovadia’s conference on covering coma. John Womersley’s and Fabiola Gianotti’s presentations were of course also very interesting. I really enjoyred Beatrice Mautino’s lecture as well. I can’t really say there were any lectures I didn’t like. Lastly, Connie St. Louis’ lecture was very interesting,and quite unexpected as I don’t recall many speeches from similar conferences regarding the pitfalls UK science journalism sometimes falls into. I think she touched upon points that science writers sometimes unwittingly overlook.
The lunches/dinners/evenings. To meet colleagues from other countries and exchange knowledge and experiences and compare cultrual differences that influence the work of scinece journalism/communication was very valuable. This should have been given more time.
Meeting collegues from many different countries and discussing sciencie journalism with them.
Learn, learn , and learn. Getting to learn the links between particle physics and the brain. Meeting fellow journalist from all over Europe and knowing how they work, what are there complainments and satisfactions and struggles. Many times along the sessiones we heard how awful is the situation in Italy…but Spain, Netherlands, Grece, Belgium and even France have a lot to complaint about as well.
The atmosphere during the lectures was really good and informal, and I think this is why we could have great discussions.
The workshop with Fred Balvert and the presenattions of Professor Villinger and Fabiola’s Gianotti because I have visited CERN and iwas interested to hear about the
I very much enjoyed the round tables with journalists and the good discussions.
Everything: The school, the people, the international bonding and connections, the fantastic informal atmosphere, the wonderful place.