September 26th, 2016


to “Computing for Molecular Biology 1”

How this course works

The purpose of this course is to learn to think with data

Not to study

Not to teach

But to learn

What is learning?

To learn is to change our behavior rules

We think different, we act different

We think with two strategies:

  • analytical
  • automatic

So learning has to be in two stages

Bloom’s Taxonomy of Learning Domains

Canvas 1 Layer 1 Creating Evaluating Analyzing Applying Understanding Remembering

How do we learn?

We learn what we do, not what we study

Like riding a bike

Can you learn to dance only reading Wikipedia?

Some theory, a lot of practice

Failure is expected. We learn from failure. Try judo


Why learning is hard?

Not always. Kids learn easily.

We have difficult learning new things because we have to unlearn old habits.

So we will need to make an extra effort

Cognitive styles

how people remembers

According to cognitive research, there are three main ways of remembering

  • A few people remembers what they see
  • Some people remembers what they listen
  • Most people remembers how they move

So handwriting helps to learn

Moreover logic is tightly connected with language, so you have to speak

Note taking


Use Google to learn about Cornell Method


It’s easy to get distracted, specially when we don’t like the task

We learn by getting out of or “comfort zone”

Learning is uncomfortable, even annoying

We have to push ourselves to focus

Pomodoro technique

  • set a timer for 25 minutes
  • force yourself to focus on that period
  • no email, no Facebook, no toilet, no coffee/cigarettes
  • in case of interruption, restart from zero
  • when the bell rings STOP working for 5 minutes
  • every 3 Pomodoros, take a 20 min break

We will use this technique in this course

How memory works

We have roughly three stages of memory

  • very short term memory (seconds)
  • medium term memory (hours)
  • long term memory (years)

Transition between medium and long term memory happens when we sleep (and dream)

Inverted class

there is nothing new under the sun

All the ideas we will discuss are available for free on line

I expect you to learn from the web

I encourage you to do so

and then come and teach me something new

Learning strategy

my proposal

Attend to classes regularly (always!)

  • Bring a notebook and a pen
  • Handwrite what we speak, and your own questions
  • Summarize at the end of the class (Cornell Method)

Speak with your classmates

Sleep well (but not during the class)

I will give a subject every week

You have to research and present it in 25 min

Speaker will be chosen randomly

Online forum

participation is not optional