Friday, October 26, 2012

Bioinformatics Learning 2.0: proposing an open source consortium for bioinformatics teaching materials

I've spent almost all of my time over the last year transforming how I teach (replacing lectures with Socratic active learning, where students answer questions in class), both by developing software tools for this and teaching two different courses this way (an Intro Bioinformatics theory course for computer science students, and a Genomics and Computational Biology course for biology students). I have made all of these tools and materials available as open source, because I believe this job (even for a single course) is always too big for one person (particularly the need for hundreds of exercises for the students to learn how to actually use the concepts). Rather than each instructor "reinventing the wheel" (producing all their own course materials despite the fact that dozens of other courses overlap the same material), we should share materials as open source, so each instructor can use the best materials from everyone else, and focus their own efforts on areas where they have special interest or expertise (which in turn they contribute back to the community).

I was invited to speak about all this at RECOMB-BE this year; here's a link to a video of my talk if you're interested.

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