Regional Focus Group

A good example of the collaborative learning proposed by the VLab is the regular running of Regional Focus Groups (RFGs).

RFGs are online sessions organised by VLab CoEs, where participants (e.g. students,

VISITview screen shot

Screen shot of the VISITview window, taken during a session of the Americas and Caribbean Focus Group.

trainers, researchers, practitioners) get together on a regular basis to discuss a chosen topic on satellite imagery and products. Topics are usually presented by a trainer and then discussed with the participants who have the opportunity to ask questions and add comments, new ideas and suggestions.

These online sessions have proved to widen the access to training events and training resources to countries within the regional area of VLab CoEs. The benefits of these events are numerous,  most importantly that these learning activities are representative of a practice-based culture, strengthening regional collaboration amongst professionals.

At the moment VLab has five active RFGs. mostly offering monthly sessions. They are the Americas and Caribbean Focus Group, the Caribbean Weather Discussion, the South Africa Weather Discussion, the Regional Focus Group Morocco and the Australian Focus Group. Most of the RFGs offer monthly sessions.

The Americas and Caribbean Focus Group meets once a month to view satellite and other imagery, and share information on global, regional, and local weather patterns, hurricanes, severe weather, flooding, and other interesting phenomena. The Focus Group has support from the Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere (CIRA), the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Virtual Institute for Satellite Integration Training (VISIT), and the CoEs in Costa Rica and Barbados. The group is composed of researchers, forecasters, trainers, students, and managers – mostly from Central and South America and the Caribbean, with a few from the United States and an occasional few that join in from other parts of the world. They are able to “build capacity” by communicating with others in their disciplines and across disciplines from many different countries to discuss the impacts of forecasts or impacts of broad reaching phenomena such as El Niño. This RFG is bi-lingual, holding discussions in Spanish and English. Recorded sessions are also available (since June 2012), to watch at your convenience. To obtain further information about the activities of the Americas and Caribbean Focus Group, watch recordings or register to participate in the live sessions, please click here.

The Australian Focus Group meets on the first Tuesday of each month. This is the youngest of the RFGs. It started in October 2013 and has great participation from countries in the Region. The sessions are recorded and  made available in the Archive of the CoE Australia website. You will find the recorded sessions organised in chronological order, each containing a summary of the content.