Monday, 22 July 2013

Bioinformatics Open Learning Using Community Tutorials

Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) is a rapidly expanding and evolving field with periodical software developments. The lack of up-to-date comprehensive NGS training and consequently individuals with the skills to analyse the information generated is a major concern. A website with a set of core practical tutorials using case study examples to provide comprehensive training for NGS, which never becomes dated by the contribution of tutorials using the bioinformatics community, would be advantageous to correct these concerns. RNA-Seq, ChIP-Seq, SNP calling, and de novo assembly tutorials using leading software, selected through a literature search are placed on a “dynamic” website that can have new tutorials uploaded, grouped, and reviewed by users, see http://elvis.ccc.cranfield.ac.uk/CUBELP/faces/login-page.xhtml. Note: these pdf tutorials have been removed temporarily while updated, see link at end of post for alternative.

Possible future developments of this learning platform are to use it to form the foundation of a global independent bioinformatics training and learning community of which universities can contribute and use, to establish distance learning modules. The tutorials generated provide a comprehensive training in leading techniques by the use of screenshots of output and detailed commands used to reproduce them. Future developments could be to expand the range of tutorials to demonstrate: different quality data sets because different actions are recommended, data produced from different technologies because different options are provided by software, other topics within NGS such as genome wide association studies, topics other than NGS but in the bioinformatics umbrella such as machine learning, and educational games/videos to demonstrate/train bioinformatics techniques to provide interactive training suites. Overall this is a representation of the continual movement of adult learning from traditional University campus to online student led learning and community driven teaching.

I have a static version of the tutorials available here:
http://elvis.ccc.cranfield.ac.uk/CUBELP2/

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