The MR-Bi – new bioinformatics tool to support curriculum design

Published: 2019-12-10


In October 2017, the SciLifeLab Bioinformatics platform (NBIS) hosted a 2-day educational workshop involving bioinformatics teachers from across Sweden.

The workshop was facilitated by Jessica Lindvall (NBIS/Stockholm University) and her collaborative team consisting of Rochelle E. Tractenberg (Georgetown University, USA), Teresa K. Attwood (University of Manchester, UK) and Allegra Via (National Research Council, Italy).

The workshop resulted in the Mastery Rubric for Bioinformatics (MR-Bi), the first comprehensive curriculum guidance for bioinformatics, published in the open source journal PLOS ONE.

Bioinformatics is a multi-faceted research area, comprising of diverse types of expertise, such as computer science, biology and statistics.

The MR-Bi supports and promotes education that prioritizes the development of independent scientific reasoning and practice, both for learners and instructors.

The MR-Bi can also contribute to the cultivation of a next generation of bioinformaticians by enabling a curriculum and training that promotes rigorous, reproducible research, and teaches, encourages, and models critical analysis of their and others’ work.

With regards to teachers, the MR-Bi can be used to strengthen teaching and learning, and to guide both curriculum building and evaluation.

For research level education, e.g. PhD programs, the MR-BI can be used for one-on-one supervision and mentoring, course and curriculum design, and self-directed learning.

Additionally, any scientist, irrespective of prior experience or disciplinary background, can use the MR-Bi to plan, and document achievement of, their accomplishments and ongoing professional development.

Mastery Rubrics have strengths that can be leveraged by institutions, instructors, students, and scientists. They support curriculum development in any education program, making concrete and explicit the roles and contributions of learner and instructor to the learning enterprise.