CSE into Biology

The Computing in Science Education (CSE) project  has been developed at the Faculty of
Mathematics and Natural Sciences at the University of Oslo (UiO). The goal of the CSE-project is to include computing as a natural tool for all science and engineering student from the first semester of their undergraduate studies. Not as a substitute for more traditional approaches, but as an extension of the classical toolbox.

 

Why Computing in Science Education?

  • Programming helps to increase the “understanding” of the mathematical methods.
  • Numerical solutions allow much more realistic and inspiring problems to be addressed, and give students a taste of what research is about, research based education.
  • Simulation with aid of programmes moves the attention from possible intricate algebra with pen and paper to a greater focus on problem formulation and physical behaviour of systems, i.e., “physical insight”.
  • Computer simulation has become a fundamental tool in research and industry and should therefore be introduced to students in the first math and science courses.

 

The future: introducing CSE into biology

  • The CSE project is planned to be introduced to biology in the near future.
  • Biology is a calculationally heavy field, but this is not reflected in the biology education and it has close to no computational content. This makes it so the students are not equiped to handle the requirements needed after graduation.
  • The goal is not to make the biology students into programming experts, but to give them an understanding of programming and mathematical models. This way they will be able to communicate with computational scientists, and understand and be critical of mathematical models.
  • The plan is to create relevant programming modules which will be integrated into each biology course. These modules will contain relevant examples and excercises for that course. This makes it so the students will have a low, but constant, focus on computations throughout their degree and they will gain a deeper understanding of computations.