to be responsible for damage. One advantage to this system is that the PI is thoroughly familiar with the instrument, and is responsible for training his/her own students. We also don’t have a technician, and if I had to train every student that uses the scope, I’d go insane. Julian Smith

I am in a similar position, with the exception that there is

a technician hired to run the EMs and facility as a whole (me). For training, I do strongly encourage, and where I can, require that any student that wants to use one of our EMs or other micro- scopes take the relevant class. If you do not have classes in micros- copy, SEM in your instance, I strongly encourage you to start one. Tis is perhaps the best way to make sure users are properly trained. For those users who can’t take a class, then I do train them one-on-one, with particular emphasis on those parts of instru- ment operation where they could cause damage. For these steps, typically sample loading and removal, I’ll make the user practice doing the step, and make it very clear that they are responsible for any damage and will be billed for it. Being told the price of a new specimen rod for the TEM or BSE detector for the SEM is a strong inducement to do things right. Use of the microscopes is also restricted to hours when I am present until I am comfort- able with their abilities. With demonstrated competence, users can work aſter hours. Since instruments these days are generally well protected by safety switches and soſtware, the possible failure points are much fewer. I also have service contracts on the EMs and confocals. Tis is another major help. TL/DR: Classes, indi- vidual training, and being clear about responsibility for damages, including paying for damages. Phil Oshel

I concur with Phil and Michael’s comments. We do not allow

derivative training. It is like the child’s game of telephone. What one student thinks is important and passes on to another student is oſten not the same set of information that I would pass along. I warn trained users that I see doing it. Teir trainees are not allowed to operate the SEM by themselves until they have gone through official training. Te new Schottky-gun field emission SEMs are quite user friendly, maybe friendlier than W-gun SEMs. Of course, I think some brands or models are friendlier than others. Tey generally now have lots of interlocks to prevent damage although it is still possible to drive samples into detectors. For instance, there is an issue with soſtware on one model that must have been writ- ten in Europe. When you want to set the stage height to 15 mm, be sure to enter “15” or “15.0”. Do not enter “15.” because it will be taken as 15.000 (i.e., 15 thousand according to European rules). Tat will definitely cause a problem. I would definitely get a cham- ber camera so users can see where they are driving the stages. I cannot bear the thought of students working blind. I also highly recommend a navigation camera or at least the ability to register with an external image. It makes it much easier finding the area of interest in the case of large samples or multiple samples. As one who has been using SEM and EDS for a long time and

now manages a facility, I recommend you have an experienced applications person on hand. I don’t think that you want that to be you. You probably don’t want to be sucked into the mundane, repetitive questions. You need to have someone who knows their microscopy in general and the peculiarities of the microscope in particular. I respect professors for knowledge in their field, but I have yet to meet one who was a top microscopist. Grad students are oſten tagged to be the resident expert. Tat may be better than nothing; however, they oſten have a rather short tenure and are interested in working on their own research. Tere is usually not


much of a hand-off to the next grad student. Be careful to develop a solid SOP. I think a short but complete checklist is better than an exhaustive SOP with pictures that covers everything. If it is too long, users won’t refer back to it. I want users to help them- selves. Our necessary work flow is on a 2-page checklist. I make a point of sending users back to the point they missed when they encounter problems. It is usually because they skipped a step or took steps out of order. Soon enough, they learn to do it by them- selves. Warren Straszheim

Confocal and widefield training Can someone suggest any existing resources to pull from

for designing new and advanced user training for confocal and widefield microscopy? I need to design training for a Zeiss LSM 980 Airyscan 2 confocal and an Axio Obsever widefield micro- scope. Interactive resources or existing quizzes that can ensure users know how to operate the microscopes would also be help- ful. Tanks, Niyanta Kumar (email not available)

channel R1TKYrPPu7OwWA/videos Sylvie

Alyona Minina has tons of videos on YouTube. Check her Rx0TPF- Le Tanks for pointing to these video tutorials by Alyona

Minina. Tey nicely complement traditional Powerpoint mate- rial and hopefully could save some of my time. I am curious about how much long video material keeps trainee’s attention focused, especially for the millennial YouTube generation. I noticed that traditional verbal and Powerpoint presentations makes a significant fraction of basic confocal trainees bored aſter 1 to 2 hours. Arvydas Matiukas

Definitely! Tat would bore me too and I am not from

the millennium generation! I believe that the only way is to make very short videos and to give quizzes half way through or just aſter viewing. E.g., our trainees watch our video about bit depth, saturation and under exposure knowing that right aſter the video we will ask them to show us where the buttons are and if there was saturation or under exposure in the image they took immediately before watching the video. Tey are encour- aged to stop the video and push the buttons on the soſtware whenever necessary. Sylvie Le Guyader

Tat’s a useful approach. Whenever possible I try an indi-

vidual approach matching the scope and depth of the material to the trainee’s background and skill level. Te worst scenario is when a lab sends in several trainees of different levels of expertise (e.g., student, technician and postdoc). Do you accept several trainees for the same session? Te next major difficulty for a trainee is the transition

from imaging a training sample to the self-prepared one. Here the ability to duplicate tutorial actions usually is not enough and in depth understanding and quality samples are required. Arvydas Matiukas

We never use a training sample. Te reason why our train-

ing is so long (and expensive: 1200 €) is because we troubleshoot the sample preparation and experimental design extensively before, during and aſter the training. Aſter our first 1 hour meeting briefing the researcher on how to modify their sample preparation if it is needed (most of the time), we demand that they bring the correct samples for the training. It is very rare that they don’t and come with samples that they obtained from a • 2020 January Guyader sylvie.

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