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Are we seeing the merging of MOOCs with research?

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Are we seeing the merging of MOOCs with research?

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Whilst most MOOCs to date have been largely one way affairs, with academics delivering learning to the thousands of participants that enroll on each course, it was perhaps inevitable that with such large numbers involved that the schools would begin factoring in ways to leverage that brain power.

Arguably the most ambitious such collaboration was announced this week with the launch of Bioinformatics Algorithms on Coursera.  The course will supply learning in the usual ways, but it will also engage participants in a substantial research project.  Students will be given the opportunity to undertake research in the field alongside prominent bioinformatics scientists from different countries, who have agreed to interact and mentor their respective teams.

The course, which runs for eight weeks, will offer students an e-book specifically for the course, with the book integrated closely with the various homework and quizzes that are delivered throughout the eight week period.  Students will also have access to the Rosalind service that aids the learning of bioinformatics through problem solving.

The UC San Diego course, produced in Calit2′s Qualcomm Institute at UC San Diego, will cover many algorithms underlying fundamental topics in bioinformatics and will try to answer questions like, “What DNA Patterns Play the Role of Molecular Clocks Inside Cells,” or, “How Have Humans Populated the Earth?”

Check out the intro video for the course below or register here.

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