The long-term goal of this site is to help two large groups of people: 1) Students in a classroom at a college or university; and 2) Free-range learners, or folks who aren’t taking a formal class and are interested in learning online on their own time. We are starting with the classroom students and then attempting to build on the material generated to make it maximally useful to the broader audience of biologists who want to learn how to use programming and database management systems. We are interested in helping folks who are complete beginners and those who already have some programming background.

To encourage folks to use this material all of the general material on this site is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution License and all programs are licensed under the MIT License.

Be sure to let us know what you think about the course material or what you think about the course website so we can be sure to get you the best experience.

Examples of folks who we are trying to help:

Allen: An undergraduate student in a biology related field who either realizes that computers are going to be important in whatever area of biology he ends up working or likes computers and thinks learning about them be more fun than the other available electives. He has never programmed before and doesn’t really know what a database is.

Jenny: A graduate student with a background in doing hands on biology either in the lab or the field. Now that she’s in graduate school she’s realized that managing the data she’s collecting in a reasonable way is going to be important (working with the hodge podge of poorly structured spreadsheets that her lab uses is awful), and doing all of the analysis that she needs to conduct for her dissertation seems like it would be a lot easier if it could be automated.

Paul: A faculty member with little computer background who realizes that computing has become so central to his area of research that he needs to at least have a rough idea of how his students are working the magic they do for projects with a lot of programming. Even better he’d like to get to the point where he can really engage and help out.