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Bioinformatics is emerging as a new and exciting field. Biological data repositories are complex and continually increasing in size. Manipulating, analyzing, and interpreting this data requires the use of computers and trained biomedical informaticians. Spending on bioinformatics projects has exceeded a billion dollars in the past year and continues to grow every year. To support this growing need for trained biomedical informaticians, DeVry University has developed an online undergraduate bioinformatics course sequence. Bioinformatics topics are especially suited to online delivery, as much of the software is open source or can be accessed with web clients. This paper evaluates the first two courses in the bioinformatics curriculum BMI310: Bioinformatics I and BMI315: Bioinformatics II. Students have successfully completed both of these courses in a traditional onsite format as well as online. Course content, student retention, student comprehension, student achievement, and student satisfaction are explored and evaluated for the online courses and compared to onsite courses. Student feedback forms have been compiled and analyzed showing no statistical difference in student results between onsite and online courses. Additionally, improvements to the design of the courses as well as the online delivery are included.
Date of Conference: 10-13 Oct. 2007