Question: Teaching Using Galaxy
gravatar for David Joly
5.6 years ago by
David Joly100
David Joly100 wrote:
Hi everybody! I am currently creating a "bioinformatics" course for undergraduate (biology students with no knowledge of programming). I would like to use Galaxy as their everyday platform where they would learn the basics and use the appropriate tools (BLAST and databases, multiple alignment, phylogenetics, dealing with "omics" data, and so on). Is there any available resources about using Galaxy for teaching (undergraduates)? Any suggestions of good textbooks? Not a Galaxy textbook of course, but a "bioinformatics textbook" that would be a good companion to help the students understand the basics behind the tools. Thanks, DJ
galaxy • 1.3k views
ADD COMMENTlink modified 5.6 years ago by Dave Clements ♦♦ 2.5k • written 5.6 years ago by David Joly100
gravatar for Dave Clements
5.6 years ago by
Dave Clements ♦♦ 2.5k
United States
Dave Clements ♦♦ 2.5k wrote:
Hi David, Using Galaxy to teach undergraduates is a long term interest of mine. Which, unfortunately, does not mean I have yet put a lot of thought into it. However, lack of thought hasn't stopped me yet. First, this topic was discussed in a breakout at last year's GCC: rmaticsTraining That's more of a discussion than a set of best practices. What do you want them to spend time learning? Do you want them to learn the (sometimes grinding) details of using the command line, and how to install software and their dependencies on a Linux box? Or do you want to focus mainly on the high level stuff like here is how and why BLAST works, and get some practice using it? I think this question of focus is a central one, and it's one that well-informed people disagree on. Galaxy is a great platform for focussing on the high-level stuff and avoiding the frustration that can come with installing a C compiler, for example. On the other hand, if you really want them to learn the command line, then you might want to start elsewhere. If you do use Galaxy for teaching, there are a couple of ways you could do it. First, I recommend setting up your own server(s) either locally or on the cloud. (The AWS in Education grant program is built just for this case.) If you wanted to teach them a mixture of high-level and low level, you could start them out as users on a shared server, and then later in the course have them setup their own Galaxy on a cloud instance. Also, for Galaxy training we find that published histories, workflows, and Galaxy Pages, are a superb way to create exercises. Hope this helps, Dave C. --
ADD COMMENTlink written 5.6 years ago by Dave Clements ♦♦ 2.5k
Thanks Dave! The focus is clearly more like your second description. The course is not intended to show them how to use command lines, or how to navigate in a UNIX environment and how to program. In fact, I think some would call what I have in mind more of a "computational biology" course than a "bioinformatics" course, but I think it is not really important here. I'm thinking of another course to introduce them to the UNIX environment and using Python to script simple programs, but for this one, I'd prefer staying away from a terminal that can be horrifying at first (for most students, black screen = evil) So, the course is about knowing the tools and their basics, and how to use them (in this case using Galaxy as the platform). What is a sequence alignment, why should we do a sequence alignment, how a sequence alignment work, and how can I do one in Galaxy. This is only one example, other (and often inter-related) topics would include BLAST, phylogenetics, sequence polymorphisms, and so on, up to analyzing next-generation sequencing data... Regarding how I'll set my environment, I was thinking of setting a local instance (I have one on my computer right now and I'm already getting familiar with it). The hardware on which I'll set the instance for the course is another issue, but this is not the topic of this email... I'll have a better look at how I could use published histories and workflows... Thanks, DJ 2013/4/24 Dave Clements <>
ADD REPLYlink written 5.6 years ago by David Joly100
Hi David, Galaxy does sound like a great match for this course. It could also play a (smaller) part in the other course you are considering. Part of the course could include installing Galaxy and wrapping other tools to put into it. We are a Python based framework I do strongly recommend you look at for both courses. We have been using Amazon in our workshops for a year now and it has been a big win. There is also a wealth of material out there on how other people train using Galaxy. See - lots of links to presentations - same material, different order - the Galaxy learning hub, especially And, maybe, hopefully, real soon now, there will be a Galaxy "Teaching and Training" hub page as well (been on my TODO list for a while, but expect something before GCC2013, really). Dave C. --
ADD REPLYlink written 5.6 years ago by Dave Clements ♦♦ 2.5k
Hi David I have not used or tested it myself yet, but: have you looked into "Bio-Linux" ? The latest release (Bio-Linux 7) comes with Galaxy pre-installed, see: Regards, Hans-Rudolf
ADD REPLYlink written 5.6 years ago by Hotz, Hans-Rudolf1.8k
I was pretty much interested in Bio-Linux. However, the version of Galaxy that comes with it is already outdated and there is no easy way to update it. It is possible to delete it and re-install a newer version, this would be another possibility... Le 2013-04-25 ŕ 05:50, Hans-Rudolf Hotz a écrit :
ADD REPLYlink written 5.6 years ago by David Joly100
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