VIBE Education Edition
One of the greatest challenges facing the growing field of bioinformatics is the shortage of trained bioinformaticists. The shortage is due to a lack of formal bioinformatics training programs at universities and has created a significant bottleneck in the discovery process. In order to address this growing problem, INCOGEN launched the VIBE Education Edition (VIBE-Ed) pilot project with partial funding from the National Science Foundation (DMI-0339854). Based on the success of the pilot project, INCOGEN received follow-on Phase II and Phase II-B awards from the National Science Foundation. The resulting VIBE-Ed software is a bioinformatics teaching platform that is founded on INCOGEN's existing VIBE (Visual Integrated Bioinformatics Environment) software, which has already successfully demonstrated the application of visual programming for bioinformatics in a research environment.
After the completion of the projects, a pilot program of the classroom use of the software was implemented under the guidance of education professionals. The software and the overall VIBE-Ed project plan were critically evaluated by students, bioinformatics educators, education professionals, and marketing professionals.
Most introductory and mid-level bioinformatics courses concentrate on exposing students to the various tools available on the web, but due to time constraints cannot provide students with adequate hands-on time that leads to a broader understanding of the subtle differences between similar tools (i.e. when to use one tool versus another tool with similar functionality). VIBE-Ed greatly enhances an instructor's ability to expose students to a variety of bioinformatics tools through an environment that promotes hands-on experimentation to gain an in-depth understanding.
VIBE-Ed also provides instructors who are advising students involved in independent research projects with a powerful self-learning environment. Through the use of this educational software, students can gain an understanding of bioinformatics tools on their own, thereby promoting independence, reducing the one-on-one time commitment from the advising faculty, and eliminating potentially incorrect assumptions obtained by self-teaching from inadequate sources. Computer-based, interactive learning systems are becoming powerful and efficient tools in both self-paced learning environments and instructor-led classroom training sessions.
VIBE-Ed Eductional Resources
- Pairwise Alignment, Part 1
- Pairwise Alighment, Part 2
- Multiple Sequence Alignment
- Models and Motifs