BIO/CSC 295 2011F Bioinformatics : Handouts

Portfolios

A key piece of work for bioinformatics is a small portfolio of annotated work for the course.

What is a Portfolio?

A typical portfolio consists of a few pieces of student work, selected by the student. The student writes a short narrative for each piece, explaining what the piece demonstrates (or fails to demonstrate). The student also writes an introductory essay that summarizes the content and ideas of the portfolio.

Why Portfolios?

In studying how students use and benefit from their class work, researchers have found that students gain more benefit from the course when they reflect retrospectively on their work in a course and consider how their work and thought processes change throughout a course (or an academic career). At the same time, researchers have found that students too rarely engage in these activities. Portfolios have proven to be a successful mechanism for helping students to reflect on past work and to consider growth.

Preparing to Make a Portfolio

To prepare yourself for creating your Bioinformatics portfolio, you should make sure to keep a copy of all of your work for the course. You may also find it beneficial to keep both ungraded and graded copies of each assignment.

Porfolio Contents

  1. An introduction in which you reflect on your goals for the course and what you feel you achieved as an individual.
  2. A reflection on your use of the primary literature, which you will illusrate with response papers. Include two response papers, one from early in the term and one from later. Include comments on improvements you saw in your own work in terms of thinking critically about the primary scientific literature.
  3. A reflection on your algorithmic thinking, which you will illustrate with code. Include a piece of code to which you made a significant contribution. Describe the overall context for the code (e.g., what it does and what context it is used in). Also include a reflection of how you saw improvement in your own work in terms of thinking algorithmically (which might mean reading code, writing code, reading algorithms, writing algorithms, or some combination thereof).
  4. A reflection on your contribution to group work, which you may illusrate in any way you deem appropriate. Describe the kinds of contributions you made in groups, and note particular strengths and weaknesses in your contributions.

Other Notes

While portfolios are primarily individual work, students should feel free to consult with their colleagues as they prepare the portfolio.

Disclaimer: I usually create these pages on the fly, which means that I rarely proofread them and they may contain bad grammar and incorrect details. It also means that I tend to update them regularly (see the history for more details). Feel free to contact me with any suggestions for changes.

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Samuel A. Rebelsky, rebelsky@grinnell.edu

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