Last week I organised the fMRI and DTI Hands-On Course on behalf of the European Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine and Biology (ESMRMB) in Rotterdam. It was fun, but, man, I really wasn't prepared for the immense amount of energy this would take.
Mind you, the course was a success, due to the efforts of the excellent speakers and practical assistants. I really do hope that the participants realised how amazing it is to be able to listen to both Stefan Sunaert and Derek Jones on the same course - some of the best speakers in their field - and have so many highly expert faculty members around for 3 days to guide them through the basics of fMRI and DTI acquisition and data analysis.
This year was the first year for ESMRMB to organise these so-called hands-on courses, while already having a long-standing successful MRI teaching programme in the form of the School of MRI. The hands-on courses are specifically aimed at radiographers/technicians, but it seems there is also a need for hands-on courses among radiologists, physicists and PhD students, who also attended the course in Rotterdam and were equally enthusiastic.
I do realise now why hands-on courses are so scarce and I have gained a huge respect for those organising such very practical courses (such as the FSL course). Not only because it's such an awful lot of work, but also because there are so incredibly many things that can go wrong, which are entirely beyond your control - not at all compatible with my personality type!
But, it was fun, and the social programme... priceless ;-)