Orchestrating a community-developed computational workshop and accompanying training materials

F1000Res. 2018 Oct 17;7:1656. doi: 10.12688/f1000research.16516.1. eCollection 2018.


The importance of bioinformatics, computational biology, and data science in biomedical research continues to grow, driving a need for effective instruction and education. A workshop setting, with lectures and guided hands-on tutorials, is a common approach to teaching practical computational and analytical methods. Here, we detail the process we used to produce high-quality, community-authored educational materials that are available for public consumption and reuse. The coordinated efforts of 17 authors over 10 weeks resulted in 15 workshops available as a website and as a 388-page electronic book. We describe how we utilized cloud infrastructure, GitHub, and a literate programming approach to robustly deliver hands-on tutorials to participants of the annual Bioconductor conference. The scripts, raw and published workshop materials, and cloud machine image are all openly available. Our approach uses free services and software and can be adapted by workshop organizers and authors in other contests with appropriate technical backgrounds.

Keywords: Bioconductor; R; bioinformatics; education; github; informatics; literate programming; markdown; open source; software.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Computational Biology*
  • Education*