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OWW.101: Hosting courses on OpenWetWare

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What is OpenWetWare?

OpenWetWare is a wiki (an application designed to make it easy to create, edit and organize webpages) for biological science and engineering. It basically provides a common space for people to share information about protocols, materials, research projects, meetings or anything else that might be of interest to users.

Also see OpenWetWare:About.

Why are we using OpenWetWare in this course?

We think the students, TAs and instructors would benefit from having a shared space in which to discuss course content. By putting all the course materials on the wiki, they can be updated and improved instantly by everyone (not just the instructors).

For instance, one problem often encountered when teaching people new concepts is that the "experts" who are writing up the instructions might forget to include certain steps or neglect to explain certain things because they think they are obvious or just don't think to include that information. Then often, the person learning a new technique might get tripped up by this lack of detail. We're hoping that by putting all the course material online and allowing everyone to edit it, the course material will grow to be more comprehensive and ultimately more useful.

Also see Why join OpenWetWare?.

How do I get an account?

Register for an account on OpenWetWare by visiting OpenWetWare:How to join and filling out the web form. Once you have an account, you can login from any webbrowser by clicking the login link at the top right corner of the browser window.

What should I contribute?

Feel free to contribute anything you want to OpenWetWare.

  • Find a typo in one of the course materials? Fix it.
  • Have a suggestion for clarifying an explanation? Post it.
  • Do you hate or love a particular topic? Explain why on the talk page for that lesson.
  • Have a question about a homework assignment? Ask it on the talk page for that assignment.
  • Have some information that you want to share? Upload it.

Basically use OpenWetWare however it might be useful to you. If you think OpenWetWare is a waste of time, you can write that too. (That's useful for us to know!)

How do I contribute?

Once you have an account, the best way to learn how to edit the wiki is to look at existing pages. Click the "edit" tab at the top of a page to view the "source code" for the page. If you want to play around to see how things appear, you can do that in the Sandbox or even on your own user page.

If you have a question about how encode something in wiki markup language, try googling. There are lots of reference sources out there since OpenWetWare is based on the same software as Wikipedia. Other reference pages include

Please also check out Guidelines for editing OpenWetWare.

Why should I contribute?

There are several reasons

  1. You'll improve the course for others who come after you.
  2. Editing OpenWetWare is like class participation, it usually can only help you to make a favorable impression on your instructors.
  3. OpenWetWare is fast and easy way to share information, pictures, ideas etc. with others.

Should my OpenWetWare password be the same as my email account?

No. OpenWetWare is not nearly as secure as other logins. We recommend that you use a different password from the one you use to log in to your email or the school computer system. You can change your password once you are logged in, by clicking on the preferences link in the upper righthand corner of the page.