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UC Santa Cruz Genomics Institute Teaches Docker to the Global Science Community with Interactive Workshops


Dedicated to Creating a Healthier World

UC Santa Cruz Genomics Institute is part of the University of California, Santa Cruz. They are a public institution dedicated to creating a healthier world. The UCSC Genomics Institute aims to revolutionize genomics and transform our understanding of life itself. They openly and responsibly share what they learn and create.

UCSC Genomics Institute creates advanced technologies and open-source genomics platforms to unravel evolutionary patterns, molecular processes, and the underpinnings of disease. Their platforms, technologies, and scientists unite global communities to create and deploy data-driven, life-saving treatments, and innovative environmental and conservation efforts.

One of their teams develops and maintains the workflow sharing platform Dockstore along with collaborating partners at OICR. Together they used Instruqt to teach the global science community how to use Docker and Descriptor Languages to create and share bioinformatics analysis software on Dockstore.


Bringing interactive tech workshop to the science community during the Covid19 Pandemic

At UCSC Genomics Institute, sharing knowledge is at its core. Their platforms, technologies, and scientists unite global communities to create and deploy data-driven, life-saving treatments, and innovative environmental and conservation efforts. The Genomics Institute’s Dockerstore team organizes workshops and conferences to educate fellow scientists and researchers on new technologies and applications to help further the development of important research.

Before using Instruqt for virtual workshops, their approach involved manual work and was on location. Occasionally, they would have attendees set up cloud accounts and set up a computer instance from a pre-configured VM-image.

Long setup times

Their workshop setup format took too long and stole away time and attention from the workshop’s primary focus, learning how to use new technology.

Debugging issues

Because people were working on different machines and environments, it was often challenging to help debug issues for individual attendees while also keeping the majority of the workshop on track.

Human limitations

Their previous approach with on-location workshops didn’t scale well. UC Santa Cruz Genomics Institute could only host limited size workshops given the small number of facilitators they could send to conferences.

How does Instruqt measure up against alternative platforms

The team at UC Santa Cruz Genomics Institute considered similar platforms like KataCoda or directly setting users on a cloud provider.

From their perspective, KataCoda didn’t have the robustness of features and level of support that Instruqt was able to provide.

The cloud platforms required too much tangential cloud knowledge that wasn’t relevant for attendees, and it was difficult to control costs and permissions for large numbers of attendees.


By using Instruqt, The Dockerstore team made their training more accessible to new users, helping them improve their engagement with different communities.

Ease of use

“Instruqt is a very intuitive platform. Especially since it is browser-based.”

Workshop attendees no longer need to download VMs and applications. They now simply receive a URL link with the Instruqt Platform, where everything is already set up. The attendee only needs to click start.

Robust features and customization

“The platform is very flexible and customizable, plus the Instruqt team responds very quickly. They were able to adapt the platform to our use-case very well and within a short time frame.”

Content creators have the freedom to configure their own infrastructures with docker images and VMs.

Global workshops at friendly costs

Instruqt provides a way to give training to hundreds of scientists and researchers at a reasonable price. It also supports rigorous cost controls that let the workshop organizers set limits on cost to stay within their budget.


Making a difference with learning-by-doing

At their first workshop, Santa Cruz Genomics Institute experienced:

  • 100+ scientists and researchers from around the world joined the virtual hands-on workshop
  • 85%+ impact rate. After the workshop, 60+ scientists and researchers agreed to start using Docker.
  • 60% of the workshop attendees plan to use new technologies.
  • 90%+ of respondents rated their satisfaction with the workshop at 4/5 or 5/5.
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