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Groups: DU Proteins S20

Thank you for using Foldit in your classroom! These instructions will assist you in setting up your students to play Foldit. If you are planning to use Foldit for education, we'd appreciate you letting us know by dropping us an email at mail.fold.it@gmail.com.

There are three primary options for using Foldit in class that have different advantages:

1. Education Mode
2. Intro Tutorials
3. Custom Contests

Education Mode

-Education Mode is a self-guided tutorial through many common topics in protein biochemistry classes. It is a separate version from main Foldit and can be downloaded here for Mac or Windows.

-We recommend using Education Mode for biochemistry classes, and also for others who would like to learn biochemistry specifically. It covers interactions, amino acids, primary, secondary, and tertiary structure, folding pathways, and a bit on ligand binding.

-Some example written assignments that can be given in conjunction with specific Education Mode puzzles are available here, along with Custom Contest versions of these puzzles, in which puzzles can be turned in for grading.

-It's not possible for students to turn in assignments while they are playing the game in Education Mode and you can't see their Foldit scores. If you want to track their progress, you'll need them to send screenshots.

-All Education Mode puzzles are "unlocked"; this means they can be accessed at any time and students do not need to complete puzzles sequentially.

-Some of the Education Mode puzzles are hard! The one to be most prepared for difficulty on is "Primary Structure". The key is to make sure students learn to hover over the sidechains to see a hint, and to use the hotkey Q to move around the puzzle.

Here is how we recommend getting your students started:

1. First, ask your students to create their own Foldit accounts using a specific naming convention set by you. For example, first two letters of first name followed by first three letters of last name and the year. This will allow you to easily identify and track each student.

2. Next, create a private group for your class. Make sure you've made your own Foldit account and log in to do so. Choose a title, description, and under Membership requests select Moderated and click Save. You can give your students the URL for the group page and tell them to click "Request Membership" once they have created and logged into their Foldit account. You will then be able to approve them as members of the group by clicking "Manage Group" from the Group page. This will allow you to keep track of your students within the game so you can easily access their profiles and view their achievements.

3. Be sure your students are familiar with the Community Rules before launching the game. This will help them understand Foldit etiquette, especially when using global chat. Failing to follow the rules may result in a warning, or a ban from our moderators in extreme cases. "Disable non-group chat" is an option that could be used if you want your class players to only have access to group chat (and is strongly recommended). Be sure to restart the client to make sure these changes take effect!

4. We have made this page to help students! Feel free to share it with your class.

5. Finally, make sure the students download the Education Mode version (not the main version).

Intro Tutorials

The introductory tutorials in Foldit are meant to teach the mechanics of the game. They are recommended for people or classes that are promoting scientific engagement, but do not need to specifically teach biochemistry. The instructions for using it are simple:

1. First, ask your students to create their own Foldit accounts using a specific naming convention set by you. For example, first two letters of first name followed by first three letters of last name and the year. This will allow you to easily identify and track each student.

2. Next, create a private group for your class. Choose a title, description, and under Membership requests select Moderated and click Save. You can give your students the URL for the group page and tell them to click "Request Membership" once they have created and logged into their Foldit account. You will then be able to approve them as members of the group by clicking "Manage Group" from the Group page. This will allow you to keep track of your students within the game so you can easily access their profiles and view their achievements.

3. Be sure your students are familiar with the Community Rules before launching the game. This will help them understand Foldit etiquette, especially when using global chat. Failing to follow the rules may result in a warning, or a ban from our moderators in extreme cases. "Disable non-group chat" is an option that could be used if you want your class players to only have access to group chat (and is strongly recommended). Be sure to restart the client to make sure these changes take effect!

4. We have made this page to help students! Feel free to share it with your class.

5. As your students play the game, you can check to see which students have completed introduction puzzles by category by looking at their player profile. You can view all of the members in your group by logging into the website and clicking the "My Group" link at the top of the page. Then select "Show All Players" under the Players heading. When you click on a username and scroll down to the bottom of their player page you can view that user's achievements. When a player finishes a section of the intro puzzle, it will unlock an achievement. Those in color signify completion. Here are all of the introduction puzzle achievements:

achievements.jpg

Creating Custom Puzzles

If you're a bit more ambitious, you can create your own Foldit puzzles on your own topics for your class.

-In a Custom Contest, the instructor receives the PDB files of the top solutions from each student, as well as their highest Foldit score, which enables quantitative scientific grading.

-Custom Contest versions of two Education Mode puzzles are also available, including "Primary Structure", and "Tertiary Structure", and can be downloaded here.

See this link for details.

Currently, you'll need your account given access to create Custom Contests; please contact the Foldit team if you are interested.

Best Practices

The following represents a list of recommendations for using Foldit with your students.

Foldit is a game about learning and scientific discovery. Enjoy the experience and have fun!
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The game is much easier with an external mouse than with a trackpad. We highly recommend everyone having an external mouse.
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Play Foldit and familiarize yourself with the game prior to assigning work for your class.
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Be present in-chat to answer questions and provide guidance while your students are playing, especially for Middle School and High School students.
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We do not recommend requiring your students to obtain a global rank. This takes a lot of effort and may cause your students to skip over the tutorial puzzles.
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Completing all 32 introduction puzzles can require a lot of time and effort, especially for Middle School students. Try assigning a subset of introduction puzzles instead. Please note you can only assign a sequential subset of puzzles, as they build upon each other and unlock as you complete them.
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The in-game screenshot button blocks usernames, so this is not suitable for turn-in projects. Instead, you may have your students print a copy of their profile page for you to verify their progress in the tutorials. Note that this will not track progress in Education Mode.
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In some cases, Foldit moderators may request your presence to communicate important information regarding classroom behavior or the game itself. If this request is made, please come on into global chat. Moderators are here to help make Foldit a fun and educational environment for your classroom and the broader Foldit community!

Further Assistance

If you have a unique case, or just need some extra help, please contact the Foldit team for further assistance.

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Developed by: UW Center for Game Science, UW Institute for Protein Design, Northeastern University, Vanderbilt University Meiler Lab, UC Davis
Supported by: DARPA, NSF, NIH, HHMI, Amazon, Microsoft, Adobe, RosettaCommons