My interests are in interdisciplinary teaching and in online education for professional development. I have been active in the development of a number of courses to help life scientists to develop skills in mathematical and computational biology. We aim to provide training that will enable those with a background in the life sciences, computer science and related disciplines to develop the skills that they need to progress in their careers.
A recognised downside of distance learning can be lack of engagement, possibly due to lack of support. This problem can be avoided in a number of ways.
1. In courses for professional development participants can relate the course content to their day to day work.
2. When the course is based around practical exercises, participants can more easily integrate theory and practice.
3. The best Virtual Learning Environments, for online learning, provide excellent support for online tutorials and groupwork. Our group sessions are particularly valued by our students (http://octette.cs.man.ac.uk/bioinformatics/students/index.html).