Materials & Workshops for Cyberinfrastructure Education in Biology

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Award Year: 
Principal Investigator: 
Margaret Palmer, SESYNC
Mary Shelley, SESYNC
Associated Program: 

As part of a cross-center collaboration led by BEACON, SESYNC is hosting two meetings aimed at improving the capacity of researchers to leverage a host of cyberinfrastructure capabilities. The goals of the project broadly are as follows:

  1. extend existing online computational science training material to facilitate self-learning by biologists across a wide range of expertise;
  2. run a number of focused workshops to teach the materials and train others in delivery;
  3. develop reusable assessment strategies to study the effect of these materials on learning and help identify unmet learning needs; and
  4. host several meetings across a number of centers to develop a list of shared educational needs.

At an NSF-sponsored BIO meeting on cyberinfrastructure (CI) in summer of 2012 attended by a number of BIO centers, the need for improved educational materials and practices was highlighted as one of the central challenges in making use of advanced cyberinfrastructure within the biological sciences. Three basic educational topic areas emerged: first, basic computational practice, ranging from effective computer use to advanced topics such as reusing code and highly concurrent programming; second, data use, archiving and reuse, together with effective metadata generation, storage, and analysis; and third, strategies for understanding how biologists can best learn and be taught computation, including development, delivery, and assessment of training materials. Several centers indicated that this kind of education was their second biggest challenge, after their primary mission.

This endeavor is supported by a supplemental award from NSF’s Office of Cyberinfrastructure (OCI).

Azalee Bostroem, Software Carpentry
Cath Brooksbank, EMBL-EBI
C. Titus Brown, MSU/BEACON/Software Carpentry
Jennifer Bryan, UBC/Software Carpentry
Matt Davis, Software Carpentry
Dan Halperin, University of Washington
Neil Chue Hong, Software Sustainability Institute
Bill Howe, University of Washington
Jessica Kerr, Monsanto/Software Carpentry
Julie Libarkin, MSU & StemED LLC
Andy Lumsdaine, CREST, Indiana University
Nirav Merchant, iPlant/University of Arizona
Aleksandra Pawlik, myGrid & Software Sustainability Institute
Marian Petre, The Open University
Karthik Ram, UC Berkeley/DataONE
Leslie Ries, SESYNC
Vicky Schneider-Gricar, The Genome Analysis Center
Kaitlin Thaney, Mozilla Science Lab
Kate Thibault, NEON
Cindy Wei, SESYNC
Greg Wilson, BDFL, Software Carpentry, Mozilla
April Wright, UT Austin/BEACON


Resource Title Brief Summary
VIDEO: Materials & Workshops for Cyberinfrastructure Education in Biology Aug 09, 2013

We interviewed Dr. C. Titus Brown, Kaitlin Thaney, and Dr. Greg Wilson about a workshop recently held at the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC), "Materials & Workshops for Cyberinfrastructure Education in Biology."

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