This method asks students to randomly pick and analyze unknown metagenomic DNA fragments from a real research sequence stockpile. The student’s mission, using Internet tools only, is to figure out from which organism the DNA comes from, and what biological function it might have. As well as gaining confidence and proficiency in bioinformatics, students experience the authentic research process of weighing the arguments, establishing prediction reliability, building hypotheses, and maintaining rigorous disourse.
The lecturers have put together a teaching-annotation procedure in a publicly accessible “annotation environment” they call “Annotathon.” This web interface walks the student through the annotation process in a procedure as you see in the figure here. Since you can join and use this interface, I thought I’d give it a test drive.
From the Boston Globe I was led to a local blogger, who brought my attention to the Nerd Girls. Apparently this is a local group of engineering students who are trying to make engineering “cool” for girls. I’m not sure I’m psyched on luring them as chemical engineers for make-up, but if that’s what gets some smart young woman interested in the field, so be it. So far we aren’t doing that well with our current outreach strategies.
So have a look at the Nerd Girls. I think their confidence is great, and the social networking approach is worthwhile. Kudos to IEEE for their support of this. But mostly congrats to the Nerd Girls for the courage and the effort.
We are here at the science blogging conference this morning. It starts in 30 minutes. I’m looking forward to attending several sessions. First one im attending is on “open science” or how the Internet has changed science. I just wrote a post about that :). The next session I’m going to will be on teaching science online. Then there is the making your blog more interactive. Last are the general sessions. I’ll report on them all later. Right now I’m testing out my iPhone blog posting interface