International online education: the S-Star trial bioinformatics course

Yun Ping Lim, Jan-Olov Höög, Phyllis Gardner, Shoba Ranganathan, Siv Andersson, Subramanian Subbiah, Tan Tin Wee, Winston Hide, Anthony S. Weiss


Six universities from five continents collaborated to provide the S-Star Trial Bioinformatics Online course ( The course is a global experiment in Bioinformatics Distance Education. The S* Life Science Informatics Alliance is the result of cooperation between Karolinska Institutet Sweden, the National University of Singapore, Stanford University USA, Uppsala University Sweden, The University of Sydney Australia, and the University of Western Cape South Africa. The S-Star group will be joined by the University of California San
Diego, through the San Diego Supercomputer Center.

Teaching cooperation was initiated because there is an overall global demand for bioinformatics education. The S-Star alliance provides a global, unified bioinformatics learning environment made up of modular courses in the disciplines of genomics, bioinformatics, and medical informatics. The initial aims of the group are to collaboratively provide: (1) a globally accessible online course for training in bioinformatics and genomics; (2) accessibility to the highest possible quality of online courseware available in the world today; (3) high quality assessment,
grading and courseware that has been approved by the educators from the host institutions; and (4) an integrated modular learning environment that allows a student to select from both prerequisite modules and advanced modules in order to build a comprehensive program in genomics and bioinformatics.

The main mission of S-Star is to provide an introductory course in bioinformatics to anyone with Internet access. Classes are given in English, regardless of whether the classes are attended by individuals or in groups.

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