Assessment of a bioinformatics across life science curricula initiative

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Abstract

At the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, we have undertaken a program to integrate the study of bioinformatics across the undergraduate life science curricula. Our efforts have included incorporating bioinformatics exercises into courses in the biology, microbiology, and chemistry departments, as well as coordinating the efforts of faculty within those departments. Here, we assess student confidence in solving and ability to solve bioinformatics-related problems. Assessment data show increases in student performance on bioinformatics-related problems and more confidence in solving such problems with increased exposure to the field of bioinformatics. Additionally, the faculty perceive an increased awareness of the applications of bioinformatics among the students in their courses. The combination of three different assessment tools, a student self-assessment of learning, a content exam, and faculty survey, was an effective and efficient approach for evaluating this multi-departmental program.

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