The Perelman School of Medicine, and other schools from around the University of Pennsylvania, has partnered with an innovative new learning platform to make Web-based courses, taught by some of the world’s foremost experts, available free to the general public. The platform, Coursera, is the first to host content from multiple world-renowned universities (including Princeton University, Stanford University and the University of Michigan) at one online destination.
"We are delighted to participate in this innovative collaboration that will make high-quality learning opportunities available to millions of people around the world," said Gail Morrison, MD, senior vice dean for Education at the Perelman School of Medicine. "Expanding access to medical science and technology is an invaluable opportunity to better educate the public at large about the true art and science of medicine.”
The online courses include video lectures -- available to anyone, anywhere in the world, with an internet connection -- that feature interactive quizzes, mastery-building interactive assignments and collaborative online forums. Beginning in June, Perelman School of Medicine faculty will provide courses on a variety of medical topics, from cardiac resuscitation to neuroscience.
“The human brain is the most complex, adaptable, and elegant machine ever known. Each of us owns one of these miraculous devices, but most of us don't have time to give much thought to exactly how it works,” says course instructor Roy Hamilton, MD, MS, assistant professor of Neurology at the Perelman School of Medicine. “What excites me most about this new channel is that it offers the opportunity for cognitive neurologists to introduce a range of students to the inner workings of the brain and mind, the diseases that affect them, and the tools used to study them.”
With the capacity to reach millions of people at once, Web-based courses are pioneering a new model for higher learning, one that potentially gives everyone in the world access to a top-level educational experience. Through an innovative design inspired by educational research on effective learning, the Coursera platform creates an interactive learning experience for the participating universities’ course offerings.
“I have been teaching pre and post doctoral students for close to two decades,” says course instructor Emma Meagher, MD, associate professor, Medicine and Pharmacology at the Perelman School of Medicine. “Every time I teach a class of students it strikes me that our impact is sorely constrained by the way in which we teach. This web based platform affords Penn faculty the enviable opportunity of impacting a much larger number of individuals eager to learn who otherwise might not have access to the opportunity.”
The platform also offers community forums that encourage students to participate actively with classmates from around the world.
“These new offerings will allow teachers at Penn to have a much broader reach, both across the country and across the globe. It's a wonderful opportunity for us,” says Paul Offit, MD, Maurice R. Hilleman Professor of Vaccinology and a professor of Pediatrics at the Perelman School of Medicine.
Five Perelman School of Medicine faculty are currently slated to offer courses. Check out a sneak preview of their new modules:
• Benjamin Abella, MD - “Cardiac Arrest, Hypothermia and Resuscitation Science”
• Ezekiel Emanuel, MD, PhD - “Health Policy and the Affordable Care Act”
• Roy Hamilton, MD, MS - “Basic Behavioral Neurology”
• Emma Meagher, MD - “Fundamentals of Pharmacology”
• Paul Offit, MD - “Vaccines”