Researchers Launch Innovative, Hands-on Online Tool for Science Education

UCSD News (CA) (10/22/12) Ioana Patringenaru

Two computer science graduate students have developed an online tool designed to teach science by requiring students to complete increasingly difficult problems at their own pace.  University of California, San Diego's (UCSD's) Phillip Compeau and St. Petersburg Academic University's Nikolay Vyahhi created Rosalind, which also automatically grades homework assignments.  The students primarily designed the platform for biologists who want to learn bioinformatics.  Rosalind has attracted more than 1,600 beta testers from more than 50 countries.  "Rosalind is already helping students who are brave enough to dive into bioinformatics without waiting for their universities to update their curricula, and it's only a matter of time before this model spreads to other disciplines," predicts UCSD professor Pavel Pevzner.  Compeau says that "by automating grading, we hope to foster individualized instruction and fuel the transition from traditional textbook exercises to a programming-driven homework environment."  He notes that Rosalind also could complement large-scale, online open education platforms such as Coursera and Udacity.


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