Title

Assessing an effective undergraduate module teaching applied bioinformatics to biology students

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

1-1-2018

Department

Biology

Abstract

Applied bioinformatics skills are becoming ever more indispensable for biologists, yet incorporation of these skills into the undergraduate biology curriculum is lagging behind, in part due to a lack of instructors willing and able to teach basic bioinformatics in classes that don’t specifically focus on quantitative skill development, such as statistics or computer sciences. To help undergraduate course instructors who themselves did not learn bioinformatics as part of their own education and are hesitant to plunge into teaching big data analysis, a module was developed that is written in plain-enough language, using publicly available computing tools and data, to allow novice instructors to teach next-generation sequence analysis to upper-level undergraduate students. To determine if the module allowed students to develop a better understanding of and appreciation for applied bioinformatics, various tools were developed and employed to assess the impact of the module. This article describes both the module and its assessment. Students found the activity valuable for their education and, in focus group discussions, emphasized that they saw a need for more and earlier instruction of big data analysis as part of the undergraduate biology curriculum.

Comments

Funding Sponsor: National Science Foundation, Funding Number: AM

Volume

14

Issue

1

ISSN

15537358

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