To address the gap in bioinformatics education and train students to approach complex biomedical problems, we present a new model for curriculum development that combines our unique online learning environment with traditional pedagogical approaches delivered through academic partnerships. The T-BioInfo platform (https://t-bio.info) allows users to combine computational analysis modules into pipelines to develop solutions for 'omics data and machine learning problems. State-of-the-art tools for analysis, integration, and visualization of data are offered through a user-friendly interface. In parallel, online educational modules provide a theoretical framework for the analysis methods and experimental techniques.
This model for bioinformatics training was implemented at a liberal arts institution (Loyola University New Orleans) for the first time in January 2018. Twelve undergraduate students and five faculty members participated in a new one-semester bioinformatics course. Online content was managed through Blackboard and in-person discussion sessions were held at regular intervals.
Participants gained experience investigating genetic variants in next-generation sequencing data, generating tables of differentially expressed genes from RNA-seq data, and analyzing transcriptomics data using principal component analysis and machine learning techniques. After completing a core set of online modules and pipelines, students conducted team research projects on topics such as patient derived xenograft (PDX) models, immune responses in cancer, and precision medicine. Results were presented in a poster session at the end of the semester. Gains in critical thinking and problem solving skills were observed and participants were enthusiastic about engaging in bioinformatics research.
Read more and view the presentation here: https://edu.t-bio.info/collaborative-model-bioinformatics-education-combining-biologically-inspired-bioinformatics-project-based-learning/