Nature, in Code: Biology in JavaScript

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9/10 stars
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Course Details

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FREE,
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  • In Session

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edX online courses
Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the University of California, Berkeley, are just some of the schools that you have at your fingertips with edX. Through massive open online courses (MOOCs) from the world's best universities, you can develop your knowledge in literature, math, history, food and nutrition, and more. These online classes are taught by highly-regarded experts in the field. If you take a class on computer science through Harvard, you may be tau...
Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the University of California, Berkeley, are just some of the schools that you have at your fingertips with edX. Through massive open online courses (MOOCs) from the world's best universities, you can develop your knowledge in literature, math, history, food and nutrition, and more. These online classes are taught by highly-regarded experts in the field. If you take a class on computer science through Harvard, you may be taught by David J. Malan, a senior lecturer on computer science at Harvard University for the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. But there's not just one professor - you have access to the entire teaching staff, allowing you to receive feedback on assignments straight from the experts. Pursue a Verified Certificate to document your achievements and use your coursework for job and school applications, promotions, and more. EdX also works with top universities to conduct research, allowing them to learn more about learning. Using their findings, edX is able to provide students with the best and most effective courses, constantly enhancing the student experience.

Provider Subject Specialization
Sciences & Technology
Business & Management
23445 reviews

Course Description

If you are interested in learning programming, but find pure programming courses not very exciting, this course is for you.

Instead of just learning programming principles outside of any context, you will learn JavaScript programming by implementing key biological concepts in code so they can run in your browser.

If you know a little (or a lot of) programming already, but want to learn more about the rules that govern life without having to pick up a traditional academic textbook, this course will also be of interest to you. You will learn some key ideas that form the basis of modern biology, from population genetics to evolutionary biology to infectious disease spread.

No prior programming knowledge needed.

Reviews 9/10 stars
4 Reviews for Nature, in Code: Biology in JavaScript

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Bryan Link Manning Hunt profile image
Bryan Link Manning Hunt profile image

Bryan Link Manning Hunt

9/10 starsCompleted
3 years, 4 months ago
If you want to learn programming by jumping in and creating, tweaking, and analyzing models; or if you want an introduction to evolution where you can actually "see" the evolution graphically on screen, Professor Marcel Salathé has the MOOC for you — and it is accessible to a novice, but still enjoyable if you are more experienced. Professor Salathé recaptures the naive excitement of exploring questions (looking at each of the four forces of evolutionary biology, as well as the spread of epidemics in a population), and creating models (using your web browser) to demonstrate and analyze those questions. While doing this, you will learn the basics of JavaScript programming (which you will presumably go on to use in other areas). The videos are engaging and Salathé’s excitement and humor come across in them. Furthermore, he is easy to understand and follow. There is some algebra used, which eventually leads to the “Queen of Equations ... If you want to learn programming by jumping in and creating, tweaking, and analyzing models; or if you want an introduction to evolution where you can actually "see" the evolution graphically on screen, Professor Marcel Salathé has the MOOC for you — and it is accessible to a novice, but still enjoyable if you are more experienced. Professor Salathé recaptures the naive excitement of exploring questions (looking at each of the four forces of evolutionary biology, as well as the spread of epidemics in a population), and creating models (using your web browser) to demonstrate and analyze those questions. While doing this, you will learn the basics of JavaScript programming (which you will presumably go on to use in other areas). The videos are engaging and Salathé’s excitement and humor come across in them. Furthermore, he is easy to understand and follow. There is some algebra used, which eventually leads to the “Queen of Equations in evolutionary biology,” but you aren't tested on the maths, just the concepts. You will see comprehension questions on biology (you have to "understand" what you are trying to model), questions on programming concepts just used, and short programming tasks where you apply what you have learned and get immediate feedback. You finish the course understanding the power of models to give insight into questions anyone may have, knowing a bit more than you already knew about evolutionary biology and JavaScript programming, and ready to tackle some of your own questions. It is not at all needed, but Prof Salathé has also created an e-text (which you may purchase) that goes into more detail of the same path of discovery, and a bit deeper and further too. It is easy to read, engaging, and a nice accompaniment for those who might want it. Finally, the free website for the book and the course is an always available resource.
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student

10/10 starsTaking Now
2 years, 10 months ago
This course is awesome! It is really well thought and you get to learn and apply evolution concepts while learning new things on JavaScript all the way through the course. The instructor is great, he's very enthusiastic and explains every detail in a very undestandable manner. You don't notice time passing when watching even a 20 min video, because it's all very enjoyable. I totally recomend this course if you want to learn programming from scratch and are also interested in biology and evolution.
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Andreas Vija

9/10 starsCompleted
3 years ago
This is an amazing course with extremely interesting content in a subject that is not that easy to find as bioinformatics generally focuses on hardcore data science. This course is great for beginners in both biology and programming but also for more experienced people. The only downside to this course is that the homework is boring for people experienced in CS, but you can easily learn without doing them.
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student

10/10 starsTaking Now
3 years, 3 months ago
Such an awesome course! So much work has gone into making this course. I enjoy the coding experience within the browsers. It's really making the course fun and interactive beyond the normal format of quizzes.
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