Instructor's plan: Edit

Tasks for todayEdit

  1. Course overview
  2. Student expectations and grading
  3. The twelve assignments
  4. Introduction to class wiki site
  5. Overview of online resources
  6. Wikipedia as a resource for genetics and genomics

Course overview: A real-life experience in 21st century geneticsEdit

  1. New infomation is emerging at an insane rate
  2. No one can possibly know everything there is to know
  3. Key to success #1: Learn how to quickly access and evaluate useful information
  4. Key to success #2: Learn how to share knowledge and help others
  5. Enormous quantities of information are freely available online
  6. You have significant flexibility in your choice of topics

Student expectations and grading:Edit

  1. Attend class regularly and be an active and constructive participant.
  2. Make frequent contributions to the class wiki site. Add new wiki pages, content, criticisms, suggestions and edits to pages that you have created, and to pages that others have created.
  3. Be prepared to present and discuss your wiki contributions in class.
  4. Learn to formulate insightful questions in the area of genetics and genomics.
  5. Ask questions when you're confused, and help each other as much as possible.
  6. Grading: Your grade will be determined from your individual contributions to the class (wiki site plus class discussions) over the entire semester.
  7. Specific assignments for reading, and for publishing articles on the class wiki site will be provided in class and on this site.
  8. Use appropriate resources: Undergraduates need focus only on secondary (review articles) and tertiary (textbooks, Wikipedia, etc.) sources. In addition, graduate students must cite the primary literature (research articles) whenever they are relevant.


  • Dana Medical Library at UVM: Journal articles and online databases
  • Journal articles via PubMed, Entrez, and Google Scholar
  • Books: Lesk, Introduction to Genomics. Textbooks @ NCBI.
  • In these areas, Wikipedia is generally extremely useful. Always more up to date than textbooks, and contains remarkably few errors.
  • Evernote as a web-enabled filing system
  • Other online resources
  • PDF of JMB's Wikipedia talk

Assignments for Wed 28 August:Edit

  1. Sign up for a Wikia account, using a clearly identifiable name. Send me an email with your Wikia user name, so I know who is who.
  2. To minimize distractions, consider setting up one browser (e.g. Chrome) so that it only has academic bookmarks.
  3. Consider adding Adblock Plus to further reduce distractions.
  4. Have a look at Evernote and give some thought to signing up.
  5. Read the following Wikipedia articles: (a) Genetics, (b) Genomics, (c) Metagenomics. Take note of any jargon or concepts about which you are unclear.
  6. Write and publish a one-paragraph Wikia article providing a clear and scientifically accurate definition of one example of jargon or concept. Use your own words and cite your sources. In addition to your own article, you may also choose to contribute constructively to one or more articles started by other members of the class. We will review your contributions in class next Monday, 2 September.

Class notes:Edit