Visualising the science of genomics: cognitive and social interactions that promote learning in an online collaborative research project

Kathy Takayama


Visualising the Science of Genomics (VSG) is an open inquiry-based approach to enable students to experience the thrill of collaborative scientific research in the field of genomics. The primary goal of VSG was to engage students in the dynamic process of scientific inquiry using a multidisciplinary approach in an online environment. Students worked in teams to analyse, hypothesise, reflect, predict, and formulate models based on genomic sequence data from the Human Immunodeficiency Virus-1 (HIV-1), the causative agent of AIDS. Contextual relevance was provided through the creation of case studies based on actual data. The goal of VSG was to allow students to assess and interpret available information, and to develop their own research questions and methodology. VSG emphasised the process of investigation, facilitating students’ metacognitive awareness of the scientific approach. The VSG project provided not only an inquiry-based approach to facilitate open-ended research, but developed a sense of ownership in students and resulted in the creation of a global online research community through multidisciplinary collaboration.

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