Hi everyone,I work at a university institute of computational biology. Besides doing research, we also teach quite a few courses for biology students, many of which include an introduction to programming (mostly with R, but also Python). We have a long-standing debate as to what the best approach to this is, and I would like to hear some of your opinions on the matter.
Basically, we have two factions: the “tools-first” and the “fundamentals-first” approach. The supporters of “tools-first” argue that we are teaching biologists, not software developers. They like to teach the specific tools (languages, libraries, functions, etc.) that our students are actually going to need as quickly as possible. To cover as much ground as possible, they are willing to sacrifice a deeper understanding of programming.
Ask HN: Teaching programming in computational biology?