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ELIXIR's TeSS (Training eSupport System) is a portal for disseminating, discovering and packaging training resources, aggregating information from ELIXIR nodes and 3rd-party content providers.  

TeSS is not a repository for training materials where you would upload files and trainees would view or download them - it does not store training materials themselves; rather it stores links to original training materials. TeSS is a registry where we collect and present just 'links and metadata' about training materials; people then use the filtering, searching, and sorting tools to discover materials they need and use the link to be directed to the original source where they can begin training. As it is a registry, if you have training materials - you will need to upload them to a Web site or some kind of training repository like GOBLET and then have them registered (automatically or manually) with TeSS.

TeSS is available at and this version had been developed by the ELIXIR TeSS Pilot project (see the documentation about the TeSS Pilot), during which we have engaged the ELIXIR training and user community and inquired about their requirements and expectations of a training portal (April 2014 - September 2015).

At the end of the ELIXIR TeSS Pilot project (September 2015), TeSS has received further funding though the EU ELIXIR EXCELERATE project - to harden the TeSS using a more flexible/extensible platform (Ruby on Rails). Please refer to the most up to date documentation, source code and installation instructions on TeSS EXCELERATE .

The main concepts in TeSS are: content providers, training materials, training packages, training workflows and training events, as well as ELIXIR nodes. 

Training materials can be searched for, filtered by various filters (e.g. by content provides, by ELIXIR nodes, by packages they belong to, etc.) and sorted to help users find what they want.

Packages and workflows are collections of training materials. For example, packages can be used to group materials required for a particular training course. One material can belong to several packages. Training workflows are ordered collections of training materials - they represent a series of steps that need to be undertaken in order to perform a certain analysis, e.g. structure prediction, homology modelling, protein ligand docking, MS-based metabolomic analysis, etc.

Content providers are institutions which are being scraped for training materials. Content providers in TeSS are given a good space to promote themselves - they can add logos and descriptions. Uses can also see all training materials that has been submitted by/has been scraped from a content provider.

There is another concept in TeSS - that of an ELIXIR node. This is ELIXIR-specific and aims at providing an easy overview of what is going on in the training department at each of the ELIXIR nodes. TeSS aims to serve the ELIXIR community by providing a sort of 'shop-window' of the training materials, news, events and activities being done in each ELIXIR node, as well as providing several other views and tools to help trainees find and collect materials in life sciences not just provided by ELIXIR nodes. For example, it should enable users to ask questions like "Give me all training materials from ELIXIR-CH", or "Give me all training materials relevant to protein sequence alignment".

Nodes in TeSS are envisaged like special organisations, whose member institutions can be content providers as well. So, some of the member institutions of a node may also find themselves under TeSS' content providers as well; others, which do not provide any training materials, would just be listed under nodes' details. This is the space where each node can highlight their own training, news, events and features. Similarly, training materials could be attributed to an ELIXIR node and that would be clearly visible when searching for materials.




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  1. 2014-05-14

    - TeSS = active learning experience

    - does not want to reinvent the wheel: reuse, repurpose

    - Hub repositories, content driven

    - Don’t separate content from infrastructure

    → active notebooks, iPython notebooks → analytics learning

    → distribute python notebooks

    → sandbox resources (e.g., galaxy instance with data)

    → Repository of training machines

    → on-line community

    → Follow on impact

    - Functionality→ directory of events

    → suite of virtual machines

    → integrated with software carpentry

    → portable notebooks

    → systems management training

    → bioinformatics training

    Re-using existing features is VERY important. 
    - Students and trainers don't like learning how to use new things
    - Need to be eased in by using familiar stuff.
    - Want it to be feature rich
    - So integrate tools/features/plugins wherever possible
    -- iTunes University
    -- YouTube
    -- iPython notebooks, VMs
    - Integrate stuff too difficult to implement ourselves
    Clean, neat and well curated is not important - It's about the content being discoverable
    Have lots of incentives for uploaders.
    - feedback mechanisms
    -- Make uploaded research citable (DOI minting, existing citation tracking tools) 
    -- Measure impact, how many uses, ratings etc 
    - strong sense of branding and ownership from content providers
    Social techniques 
    - Comments, suggestions, edits (GitHub style things)
    Output this in a format that Google can pickup. Have everything really well indexed. 
    We need to generate lots more feature ideas.
    For the meeting we don't want outside users until we know what we're doing. 
    We should produce a MSCW table