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Online Learning- Online Bioinformatics / Computational Biology

Ten Simple Rules for Online Learning
David B. Searls

The success of online courseware such as that offered by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) (http://ocw.mit.edu) and now by many other institutions, together with a plethora of recent announcements of major new initiatives in this arena such as Coursera (https://www.coursera.org), Udacity (http://www.udacity.com), and the Harvard-MIT partnership edX (http://www.edxonline.org), have made it clear that online learning has reached a tipping point. Many signs point to the possibility in the near future of getting a quality, university-level education at a distance, and for free. As exciting as this prospect may be, it behooves online students to follow a few simple rules for getting the most out of the experience, while being realistic in their expectations, as outlined below.

An Online Bioinformatics Curriculum
David B. Searls

Online learning initiatives over the past decade have become increasingly comprehensive in their selection of courses and sophisticated in their presentation, culminating in the recent announcement of a number of consortium and startup activities that promise to make a university education on the internet, free of charge, a real possibility. At this pivotal moment it is appropriate to explore the potential for obtaining comprehensive bioinformatics training with currently existing free video resources. This article presents such a bioinformatics curriculum in the form of a virtual course catalog, together with editorial commentary, and an assessment of strengths, weaknesses, and likely future directions for open online learning in this field.

Developing an online programme in computational biology
Heather M Vincent and Christopher Page

Much has been written about the need for continuing education and training to enable life scientists and computer scientists to manage and exploit the different types of biological data now becoming available. Here we describe the development of an online programme that combines short training courses, so that those who require an educational programme can progress to complete a formal qualification. Although this flexible approach fits the needs of course participants, it does not fit easily within the organizational structures of a campus-based university.

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