Robb Brunansky is a pastor in Wichita, Kansas and an enthusiastic Accordance user. He traveled quite a way to attend the recent training seminar at Dallas Theological Seminary, so I asked him to share his experiences and his thoughts on whether or not it was worth the trip.
This past weekend I had the privilege of attending an Accordance training seminar. I live in Wichita, KS, and the seminar was at Dallas Theological Seminary. I traveled over 700 miles round trip and spent money to stay in a hotel room the night before just to be able to attend this eight-hour session. Was the training seminar worth that much time and money? Without hesitation, it was.
One of the best aspects of being at an Accordance training seminar is being able to get questions answered instantly on virtually anything related to Accordance by the people who design the software. Imagine having a question about a feature in OS X. What if you were able to get an answer from Steve Jobs as he stood at your computer and showed you how to use the system? At the training seminar the people who write the software are there to look at your Mac, see what you are doing, and immediately answer your question. And they don't merely tell you how to do a given task; they show you how to do it on your own Mac. Usually not only do they answer your burning question, they open up new worlds you never knew existed in Accordance. That kind of help is priceless for the serious student of the Bible.
At the particular session I attended, Dr. Roy Brown was the instructor. It was incredible to see the different types of searches that can be constructed in Accordance. How would a person go about finding all geminate verbs in the Hebrew text (verbs where the last two consonants are the same)? By using a simple wild card search. How do you add your own custom people and events to the timeline and have them display by default with all the standard timeline items? That question is too complex to answer in a review, but it's pretty simple when Dr. Brown is there to show you the answer! When would you use the options All Text, Articles, and Paragraphs in the tool window? Sure, you could read the manual to see what those settings mean, but watching those settings as they are applied to different tools and searches will give you a better understanding and appreciation for them. Have you ever wanted to add dividing lines to your search ranges to separate, for example, the Old Testament books from the New? There is no "add divider" feature in the Define Ranges dialog box, but there is a way to do it. The training seminar can show you how.
There are many other benefits to attending a training session, such as seeing modules you don't own being demoed, being able to pick up a new CD-ROM, or upgrading a CD-ROM without having to pay shipping costs. The one drawback to a general seminar is that everyone in attendance has different questions and different needs. Some aspects might seem a little basic for some users, while other aspects might be too advanced for another group of users. Some might want more Greek or Hebrew searches, while others might feel like they saw more than enough Greek and Hebrew to last them a lifetime. But whatever level you're at, you'll leave the seminar with a deeper understanding of and appreciation for Accordance. And I think you'll find it worth your time, even if you have to drive over 700 miles to attend.
I want to thank Robb for taking the time to tell us how it went. We're going to continue offering these seminars at different locations around the country, as well as in the UK, in the coming months. You can find out more about them here. I hope many of you will be able to take advantage of them.