The re-release of DBBO: Why it’s better.

I’m writing this on an airplane as I’m watching the South Park episode where the lads attempt to save classic films from their directors who want to re-release them to make them more politically correct and appeal to new audiences. (The remake of Saving Private Ryan where all the guns were replaced with cell phones, for instance). So it’s with great trepidation that I describe the motivation and result of the “re-release” of DBBO. We’ve been teaching “Designing and Building Business Ontologies” for over 10 years. We have been constantly updating, generally adding more material. What we found was that while the material was quite good, we had to rush to get through it all. Additionally, we added material that caused us to explain concepts we hadn’t yet covered in order to make a particular point. And of course there was ever more material we wanted to add. Also we were interested in modularizing the material, so that people could take less than the full course if that’s what they needed. We essentially created a dependency graph of the concepts we were covering and dramatically re-sequenced things. This shone a light on a number of areas where additional content was needed. Our first trial run was an internal training project with Johnson & Johnson. This group at J&J had already built some ontologies in Protégé and TopBraid and had training in Linked Open Data and SPARQL. So we were able to try out two aspects of the new modularity: if students had the right pre-requisites, they could start in the middle somewhere. However, with the new packaging, would it be possible to spread the training out over a longer period of time and still give the students something they could use in the short term? So with J&J we did the new days 3, 4 and 5 in two sessions separated by two weeks. I’m happy to report that it went very well. Then in May we had our first public session. We’ve decided to have days 1-3 on Wednesday – Friday and days 4-6 on the following Monday – Wednesday. Some people who really want to learn all there is to learn can power through all six sessions contiguously. There is a lot to do in the Fort Collins area, and we’ve heard the break is good for consolidating what was learned before getting back into it. Others have decided to take days 1-3 and come back later to finish up days 4-6. The course is now more logically structured, not quite as rushed (although there is a lot of material still) hard to imagine with all the hands on work, we created nearly 2,000 slides, 90% of which were new or substantially upgraded.Learn more or sign up for DBBO. Dave McComb

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