Our goal with training is to make sure you can operate equipment with minimal sufficiency and safety, but not necessarily proficiency. Only sustained usage grants proficiency, and ultimately, expertise.
EM Specimen Prep Training
For EM specimen preparation, we will teach you the techniques that affect the quality of images. In particular, we will emphasize the issues that are relevant for your research goals. The more experienced you are, the less time the training will take. Similarly, the more concepts you understand, the less time the training will take.
Class size for EM specimen prep is at the discretion of the Micfac staff.
For equipment training, we will guide you through instrument operation, care and safety, allowing you to practice under our supervision. In particular, we are concerned about safety for you and for the equipment.
We will also teach you the controls that affect the quality of images. In particular, we will emphasize the issues that are relevant for your research goals. The more experienced you are, the less time the training will take. Similarly, the more concepts you understand (see coursework), the less time the training will take. More than one person can observe a training session. However, only one person can operate the equipment at a time, particularly during supervised practice and during certification testing.
Before we can allow you to practice and use the microscope on your own, we must certify that you have retained the lessons in instrument operation, care and safety. The facility instructor will observe while you operate the instrument from start to finish, completely on your own. All safety and Facility logging procedures must be observed. The whole testing process must be scheduled in advance, and can take 15-30 minutes, depending on the complexity of the instrument.
If you pass the test by safely operating the equipment and observing all Facility logging procedures, you are “certified” and allowed unsupervised use of the instrument. After certification, we will grant you access unsupervised access to the equipment.
Note: Our use of the term “certification” is purely for the purposes of the Microscope Facility. The training we provide lacks any theory and is not intended to authorize use of equipment elsewhere. Consider taking appropriate coursework.
Upon certification, novice users are subject to a probationary period. Under probation, the online calendar will only allow you to reserve equipment for use during standard business hours (MF 9-5). This restriction ensures that we’re available to help you if you encounter any problems or if you have questions (no charge).
Lapse in use
There is just no way to remember a complicated process without practicing!
Lapses in usage can lead to frustration or equipment damage. Without ongoing practice, skills will deteriorate. In addition, we are always improving equipment or software. Hence, the online WebCalendar prevents reservations from previously certified users when there is a long lapse in using the equipment.
Depending on the duration of the lapse, we can re-activate access to online reservations, but with restrictions:
- >6 months: If your lapse is between 6 and 12 months, we can re-activate your online access with probation restrictions. Under probation, you must make reservations during business hours (MF 8:30-4:30), thus allowing you to ask for help from our staff should you have problems. There are no additional charges for probationary access. Before your reservation, you should talk to us so that we can tell you about any upgrades or changes to the equipment or software.
- >1 year: If your lapse more than a year, you will need refresher training. Refresher training will cost the same as hands-on training, but it will be much shorter and will not require certification test after the training. After you finish refresher training, your online access will be probationary. Under probation, you must make reservations during business hours (MF 9-5), thus allowing you to ask for help from our staff should you have problems.