An Inquiry Driven Blog

09 Dec

On December 6th, the folks at the WordPress blog annoucned a call for ideas on how to use 10GB of space in a blog. This post is one such idea.

Note: it occured to me that perhaps the original post for this topic was blocked from pinging back correctly since it had several links, so I’m posting it a final time. If you’re interested in seeing the links that I originally posted, see the previous post.

Blogging is an important link between professionals across a wide range of fields and the public. It’s a great way for enthusiasts of a field to communicate with a wide audience. This presents an opportunity for developing a resource for inquiry-based learning. The goal of inquiry in the classroom is to promote students to ask about the world and how it changes rather than to just memorize facts. Inquiry learning is most easily accomplished in the classroom when the instructor has access to project-based course material that has been developed ahead of time.

With 10GB of space available, I would develop a blog for collaborative production and discussion of inquiry-based projects for learning about computational biology. This topic would lend itself to blogging more than traditional biology because the medium for blogging is the same as the medium for computational inquiry (i.e. a computer).

Biotech and Nanotech

image credit: U.S. Department of Energy Genomics:GTL Program,

Blog Features

The blog would have several contributing authors who could design projects for a variety of topics and keep content updated regularly.

– The content of a project would include instuctions, videos, pictures, and downloadable programs.

– Contributors would upload their projects in a variety of formats geared towards different levels of education (K-8, High School, College).

– For undergraduate level applications, models would be available in SBML, CellML, MATLAB, and other commonly used modelling formats.

– Site visitors could ask questions or review models that are available using the commenting features of the blog.

– Current events in science could be posted to the blog and linked to the project posts/pages, so that teachers could always draw on modern motivation for the lessons.

– The projects would include videos of simulation results and experimental systems that correspond to the simulations.

Why isn’t this already available?

While there are several repositories of biological models, available online, none has the collaborative feel of a blog. This makes them less ammenable to education below the graduate level. A weblog interface represents a good middle ground between a database and a forum.

Why does this require alot of space?

Depending on how WordPress changes its upload policy this blog could include large images, pdf documentation, videos of simulation and/or experimental results, and computational modelling tools.

I’m open to suggestions on how to improve this idea. Thank you!


Posted by on December 9, 2006 in Alchemy


Tags: ,

7 responses to “An Inquiry Driven Blog

  1. Michael Sync

    December 10, 2006 at 1:23 pm

    Congrat! Good job!!!

  2. Hari Sudibyo

    December 10, 2006 at 4:07 pm

    Nice works

  3. zappoman

    December 11, 2006 at 6:46 am

    Halfawake gets 5GB. Like Drewblom above he wants to share data. In this case scientific biology data.


  4. fracas

    December 11, 2006 at 9:57 am

    Hey.. and congrats on winning the 5G! There I was posting to your other posts and not congratulating you…

  5. sarahtoga

    December 11, 2006 at 7:22 pm

    Congratulations! Now, the question is this: Will you actually use those 5GB for your idea? ;D

  6. gayzha

    December 12, 2006 at 2:51 am

    wow… congratulations for a job well done!

  7. halfawake

    December 12, 2006 at 3:56 am

    Thanks everyone for the ‘congrats’ :-).

    Sarahtoga – That’s an excellent question. First off, implementing my idea properly would require a bit of change in the current WordPress upload policy. Assuming that technical detail is fixed sometime, I actually spent alot of time thinking about this idea, and I would like to pursue it. I don’t think the idea exactly fits with what I have going at Half Awake, but I’d like to gather some materials and collaborators up to start it up at a second wordpress blog in 2007.


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