Simpson Laboratory at UCLA
Teaching Applications
"I am not a developer. I am a Professor of Molecular Parasitology at University of California, Los Angeles and use web-based technology for both teaching and research. I was learning Visual Basic .NET, but when I discovered Iron Speed Designer, I found I could rapidly build these sites at a much higher level of sophistication than I was previously capable of doing."

- Larry Simpson, Professor at UCLA

Teaching Applications

Simpson Laboratory at UCLA
Los Angeles, CA USA

I utilize the open source DotNetNuke 3.1 web site modular framework and integrate Iron Speed Designer- constructed databases within this framework, either within I-frames or as hyperlinks. The role-based security on the Iron Speed Designer applications provides a second level of security. A web site portal is constructed for each course I teach which has multiple functionality such as interactive forums for threaded discussions and posting of student papers, contact information with photos for all the students, important links to papers and reference reading, etc.

The crux of this web site is the Iron Speed Designer application which opens several SQL databases containing student names, emails, ID numbers, Department, and information about student presentations and papers. I have a private Iron Speed Designer application which has the above, and also extended information, including my notes on each student, grades for exams, etc. In my seminar course, the students can sign up on the Iron Speed Designer site for presentations and attach specific information on the research paper selected to analyze. Links to PDF files are included as appropriate. I have also tried allowing the students to read each other's papers and provide anonymous comments and suggested grades.

Research applications

For my own laboratory, there is a DotNetNuke private portal that has multiple functionalities, the most important of which is the interactive database application built with Iron Speed Designer containing all lab oligonucleotides purchased commercially and their sequences, all chemicals in the lab and locations, all plasmids and their origin and links to maps and sequences, details of all lab antibodies generated against specific proteins, and all lab DNA sequences obtained from a commercial source.

The ability to search and filter the data is enormously important. In the case of oligos, an email is automatically sent to the lab technician to order the oligos entered in the database by lab personnel.

I also created and maintain numerous interactive web sites for my research field. Work in progress includes migrating a flat file sequence database for messenger RNAs that are "edited" by the insertion and deletion of uridine residues in an interactive SQL database, and a database of researchers in this field with contact information into an interactive SQL database which allows people to update their own information.

Application size and scope

Teaching: Several databases. The number of records varies depending on the course from 40 to over 200. There are four to six web pages in each Iron Speed Designer application.

Research: Several databases. The number of records varies from 100 to over 2,000. Web pages: Approximately five per application.

The project

As stated above, this is not a single project but a continuous upgrading of multiple interactive web- based sites for teaching and research. The use of Iron Speed Designer has cut down significantly the amount of time I must spend on creating and maintaining these sites.

Code extensions and customizations

I use the DotNetNuke web framework and integrate the Iron Speed Designer applications within this. The AspNetEmail third party control was integrated into several Iron Speed Designer applications to extend linked email functionality. Recently the Telerick R.A.D. Editor was also integrated into the application.

Page layout customizations

I have only had to make a few customizations. For example, the logo was replaced with my own logo.

Iron Speed Designer impact

I estimate that the use of Iron Speed Designer probably increased my efficiency over 90% and certainly allowed me to create applications that would have taken me much longer without this program.

Next steps

I plan to migrate all of the databases currently used in my research web sites to Iron Speed Designer SQL based databases. In terms of teaching sites, I plan to increase the interactive functionality. I also maintain an open Online Course in Molecular Parasitology and this will be enhanced using Iron Speed Designer.

About the developer

Larry Simpson is a Professor of Molecular Parasitology at University of California, Los Angeles. He incorporates web-based technology in both his teaching and research. Iron Speed Designer allows Larry to rapidly build interactive database-driven web sites at a much higher level of sophistication than he was previously capable of doing.

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