Cloud-enabling Scientific Tools and Computational Methods for Invigorating STEM Learning and Research

Bina Ramamurthy, Jessica Poulin, and Katharina Dittmar

Volume 3, Issue 1 (June 2012), pp. 28–33

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  author={Bina Ramamurthy and Jessica Poulin and Katharina Dittmar},
  title={Cloud-enabling Scientific Tools and Computational Methods for Invigorating STEM Learning and Research},
  journal={The Journal of Computational Science Education},
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We present a cloud-enabled comprehensive platform (Pop!World) for experiential learning, education, training and research in population genetics and evolutionary biology. The major goal of Pop!World is to leverage the advances in cyber-infrastructure to improve accessibility of important biological concepts to students at all levels. It is designed to empower a broad spectrum of users with access to cyber-enabled scientific resources, tools and platforms, thus, preparing the next generation of scientists. Pop!World offers a highly engaging alternative to currently prevalent textual environments that fail to captivate net-generation audiences. It is also more mathematically focused than currently available tools, allowing it to be used as a basic teaching tool and expanded to higher education levels and collaborative research platforms. The project is a synergistic inter-disciplinary collaboration among investigators from Computer Science & Engineering and Biological Sciences. In this paper we share our invaluable multi-disciplinary experience (CSE and BIO) in the design and deployment of the Pop!World platform and its successful integration into the introductory biological sciences course offerings over the past two years. We expect our project to serve as a model for creative use of advances in cyber-infrastructure for engaging the cyber-savvy net-generation [11] students and invigorating STEM education.