Written by Dave Houldershaw, Ian Tickle,Huub Driessen and Clare Sansom
Introduction to Communication Tools
During this course, we will be using a variety of communication tools to interact with each other as well as the visualisation tools we use to
explore protein structure. The most important of these is the Instant Messenger tool
Jabber which we will be using for our interactive tutorials.
We also run a blog in which we link recent developments in research into protein
structure and allied disciplines with the course material. Many of the posts are linked to talks in the Birkbeck Department of Biological Sciences
We will be using email discussion lists regularly throughout the course. There are two of these: the general list and the tutors' list. More details
of these lists are available here.
- Email to the general list will go to all students and tutors on the PPS course. We will use that email list to announce times of online
tutorial sessions, cutoff dates for course material, etc. and for general course admin. We also encourage all students to email it with questions or
comments about the course material. Email: email@example.com.
- Email to the tutors' list will go only to all tutors involved in the course. This is the best list to use if you have a question or comment
about the course material that you don't want your fellow students to see. Email:
We also have a Facebook group for the MSc in Structural Molecular Biology,
which is run by a current student on the Protein Crystallography course. Do consider joining if you use Facebook; it can be a good way of interacting
with students on other MSc course modules and with some former students, as well as with each other.
We will discuss blogs, wikis and other "social software" communication tools at much more length in section 4 of the course, when we also discuss the
scientific literature and how it is accessed and used.
Archive Material: The Birkbeck MUD
In previous years, the interactive tutorials in this course were given using an older text-based chat program, the Multi-User Dimension or MUD. A
MUD is a virtual meeting place which contains objects and people which behave (in principle!) in a similar way to real-life equivalents. The
system is based on rooms which can contain objects and where people can meet in real time. Communication is
generally by means of typing a command word followed by a sentence in English.
We will be keeping the Birkbeck MUD active for a while in case of glitches in the new software. So keep these instructions to hand in case you need
to use them!
There are a number of different ways of connecting to the Birkbeck Crystallography MUD; the web browser interface has been by far the most
Detailed information on the use of the MUD can be found by following the links on the Birkbeck
Crystallography MUD page (who to contact, how it works, command reference, map of the
MUD, and a quick reference card of the most useful commands).
- Iddo Friedberg
- Gustavo Glusman
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