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Tiffany Timbers

#datascientist #teacher #genomicist #neuroscientist #jackofalltrades #masterofafew

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In less than a month from now, I will be teaching an 3rd year undergraduate course at Quest University called “Computation in the Physical Sciences”. Although I am a biologist by training, and a bioinformatician by practice, I am view myself as very qualified to teach this course because when students are learning about best practices for computing in the sciences, the important principles (project organization and reproducibility, as well as code read- and reusability) are the same, regardless of scientific domain.

The course I am teaching this fall will be taken by 13 students and it will be taught over 3.5 weeks (Quest works on a block system). Each day, during that period there will be 3 hours of in-class time and then students are expected to work 5 additional hours/day on the course. I have decided to approach teaching this course primarily using the Software Carpentry live coding strategy. Additionally we will do in-class group code review sessions (inspired by Philip Guo) as well as hackathon-type sessions. I am in the midst of finalizing the course outline, and I welcome comments.

For a course website, I will be using Github. I will also be experimenting with the new Classroom for Github for assignment submission and other classroom administration tasks.

Another cool resource I will be using is a new textbook, Effective Computation in Physics, written by Kathryn Huff and Anthony Scopatz. Not only is this book awesome on its own, Katy and Anthony have also made all the code used in the book available as an ipython notebook to help with teaching the material. I am collaborating with them to annotate this code and make relevant, class-sized homework assignments to facilitate teaching with this book in the future.

I am really excited and looking forward to day 1 on October 27, and welcome and thoughts, suggestions and/words of wisdom as I take on this new adventure.