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Science  24 Sep 2010:
Vol. 329, Issue 5999, pp. 1575
DOI: 10.1126/science.329.5999.1575-b

Proficiency in navigating operating systems, data files, and analysis software is essential to being a successful scientist. To this end, 12 students majoring in biology at Emory University recently enrolled in the inaugural “Computer Literacy for Life Sciences” course. As Smolinski reports, the course was divided into four separate modules that took students through a virtual research project. “Operating Systems and Web-based Project Repositories” familiarized students with two operating systems, Windows and Unix/Linux. “Databases and Data Querying” covered the basics of relational database management systems and protocols for obtaining desired portions of data. “Data Analysis” dealt with various statistical programs and spreadsheets, mainly Excel and the more sophisticated statistical analysis package known as SPSS. Finally, “Presentation of Scientific Discoveries” offered students the chance to summarize their virtual research project in the form of a short journal article and presentation. Course surveys and evaluations showed positive feedback from the students.

CBE Life Sci. Educ. 9, 357 (2010).

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