Wednesday, March 15, 2006


Teaching model building with 'Coot'

Some weeks ago I was told to teach some biochemistry students *basic* model building concepts. Considering the fact that past year students experimented with O, I thought the best idea was to ask them about their experience with that marvellous piece of Fortran. The impressions: Nearly nobody knew what they were doing. There are several barriers stopping students from reaching to a minimum understanding of O, starting from the "console" concept, which remained unknown to a huge part of this windows-GUI-and-consumer-electronics generation, and the lack of user-friendliness (well, O helps me, so I can consider it my friend).

So, what should I do? With only 1h 30' to teach something useful, my only hope was Coot (Wincoot, to be more precise). So, I translated and adapted to spanish (OpenDocument format for your viewing *and* editing pleasure) Paul's tutorial, and gave it to them. Result? Yup, everybody performed mutations, refined the structure, downloaded and displayed several structures and maps from PDB and EDS, etc.

They found Wincoot to be lacking some minor features, as clearing the tags displayed on screen, but none of them were critical, so I can tell you that the overall results were excellent.

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