Education & Courses

Learn How to Discover, Innovate, and
Pursue Ethical Practice in Digital Biology

CROPPS aims to train the leaders of tomorrow in the new transdiscipline of digital biology.

If your educational trajectory includes the disciplines of biology, engineering, computing, or social science, and you are interested in learning about and contributing to our mission, we invite you to engage with us. We offer courses, workshops, and tutorials that emphasize the value of a common scientific language, the practice of team science, and the effective application of public engagement.

Through our interconnected programming in foundational, experiential, and team learning, we will help you lay the groundwork to become an innovator in digital biology.

Foundational Learning

CROPPS courses, workshops, and tutorials deliver essential background knowledge, vocabulary, and technical skills across our disciplinary dimensions. These courses leverage the breadth of knowledge of CROPPS senior personnel and trainees, with an emphasis on peer-to-peer teaching and collaboration.

A learning objective of this programming is for trainees to synthesize knowledge from their own home discipline, as well as from other disciplines, to formulate new research directions and design innovative approaches in collaborative teams. CROPPS is working closely with the following institutes and programs on the development of new curricula and learning opportunities for undergraduates and graduate students.

  • The Cornell Institute for Digital Agriculture (CIDA)
  • The University of Illinois Center for Digital Agriculture (CDA)
  • CyVerse
  • Cornell’s National Science Foundation Research Traineeship graduate fellowship program in Digital Plant Science (Contact: Professor Michael Scanlon)

Find links to example courses in the grid below.

Team Learning

Alongside foundational technical learning, CROPPS develops the skills of respectful and effective interpersonal engagement that underpin healthy and productive research teams. Both mentors and trainees learn and practice the skills of team science. These include:

  • Respectful, productive dialogue across difference in background, personal identity, hierarchy, and discipline
  • Holistic mentoring in which all members of a team practice supportive mentoring of others
  • The confidence and ability for team members to be proactive in defining and maintaining an inclusive environment that promotes the personal and professional well-being of all participants in CROPPS

Experiential Learning

Built on the foundations of knowledge in digital biology and team science, CROPPS’ central mode of education involves discovery by doing, in cycles of design-build-test-learn in the classroom, laboratory, and field. In pursuing CROPPS projects, trainees will practice the following:

  • The design, execution, and presentation of original research
  • The skills of coordinating and mentoring across multi-disciplinary research teams
  • The communication of research outcomes to diverse audiences

In addition to these core research activities, CROPPS will provide experiential learning opportunities to K-12 students, undergraduates, and the public through programs such as:

  • The CROPPS REU program [link to internal CAPPS website REU page]
  • The KEYS Research Internship Program for high schoolers at the University of Arizona
  • Capstone and student project teams across our campuses
Digital Plant Science: Frontiers and Challenges
PLSCI 6440


This course will provide a foundation in Digital Plant Science by introducing major questions and opportunities to be addressed in digital plant science (DPS).

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Advanced Statistics and Experimental Design
PLSCI 7201


This course will provide a comprehensive introduction to experimental designs that are commonly used in plant science and provide participants with…

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Applications of Machine Learning to Plant Science
PLSCI 7202


This course will start with a brief refresher on the command line and programming basics as well as data and code management…

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Engineering Novel Strategies for Plant Science Measurement and Sensing
PLSCI 7203


In this course we will provide: (1) an introduction to how biological contexts–e.g., development, plant pathology, phenotyping, eco-physiology, and crop…

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