The Applied Programming Experiences (APEX) program aims to expose diverse students to computer programming by embedding Python-based computing modules into existing introductory Statistics and Biology courses
Technology being used
- APEX program materials are provided to interested faculty free of charge via the Canvas learning management system.
- Materials include Python-based modules carried out via Google Colab
- Python is one of the world’s most popular programming languages and has the added benefit of being free to use. Programming in Python can be done in a variety of different programming environments.
- The APEX program uses Google Colab for several reasons. First, it’s free to use. Second, it requires no downloading or installing; rather, it simply runs in a web browser. The latter reduces headaches for both instructors and students alike.
Domains being targeted
To reach a wide number of diverse students, the APEX program targets two popular lower-division courses: introductory statistics and introductory biology.
- Introductory statistics
- Many statistics classes utilize expensive and/or outdated technology for performing statistical exercises, such as graphing calculators or software requiring students or institutions to purchase licenses.
- The APEX program instead allows instructors to continue teaching the same content as usual while adopting free tools (Python and Colab) with greater relevance to today’s job market.
- Introductory biology
- The APEX program will introduce students to the rapidly expanding and interdisciplinary field of bioinformatics via a small number of Python-based modules.
- Bioinformatics is the use of computational tools to understand important questions in the field of biology and can provide insights into many areas such as genomics, molecular biology, neuroscience, physiology, microbiology, ecology, and evolution.