Mount Sinai School of Medicine Bringing Free Courses Online

Released: 20-Sep-2012 12:35 PM EDT
Source Newsroom: Mount Sinai Medical Center
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Newswise — Mount Sinai School of Medicine has signed an agreement with Coursera.org that will make Mount Sinai graduate and medical school courses freely available online.

Mount Sinai will begin by offering three courses that focus on training students to use computation to convert the information in large and small data-sets in biomedical sciences to understand disease progression, adverse events in individual patients, and to predict efficacy of drug therapy. The three courses – Introduction to Systems Biology, Networks Analyses in Systems Biology, and Mathematical Models in Systems Biology – will be offered in 2013. The courses provide a solid basis for understanding the new era of personalized and precision medicine that is being made possible by advanced gene sequencing technologies.

John Morrison, PhD, Dean of the Mount Sinai Graduate School of Biological Sciences, said, “The rigorous courses that we are putting up on Coursera, the planned interactions and the testing formats have the ability to completely change graduate education. Today, like most schools, our programs have one to two years of classes followed by several years of research or clinical training. If the online formats take hold then didactic learning can be interspersed through the research or clinical training years. We can also offer our courses world-wide for free, thus greatly enhancing the reach of our educational mission.”

Leading Mount Sinai’s effort to put courses online is Ravi Iyengar, PhD, The Rosenstiel Professor and Chair of the Department of Pharmacology and Systems Therapeutics and Director of Systems Biology Center New York.

“My sense is we are at a transformative time in higher education and Coursera is one driver of this change both for off- and on-campus education,” said Dr. Iyengar. “The ability to provide free high quality courses in an emerging area of biomedical sciences provides us with exciting opportunities to engage current and future scholars world-wide. For graduate students, such online courses will allow them to get formal training in new areas as their research interests start to gel. For medical students it will allow them to learn details and mechanisms as they see patients. In pharmacology, it would be great to teach in an integrated manner drug action mechanisms and drug usage as students go through their clerkships, rather than in a classroom a year or two earlier. Online courses may well allow to accomplish this goal.”

The development of these courses has been supported in part by a Systems Biology Center grant from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, part of the National Institutes of Health.

About The Mount Sinai Medical Center

The Mount Sinai Medical Center encompasses both The Mount Sinai Hospital and Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Established in 1968, Mount Sinai School of Medicine is one of the leading medical schools in the United States. The Medical School is noted for innovation in education, biomedical research, clinical care delivery, and local and global community service. It has more than 3,400 faculty in 32 departments and 14 research institutes, and ranks among the top 20 medical schools both in National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding and by U.S. News & World Report.

The Mount Sinai Hospital, founded in 1852, is a 1,171-bed tertiary- and quaternary-care teaching facility and one of the nation’s oldest, largest and most-respected voluntary hospitals. In 2011, U.S. News & World Report ranked The Mount Sinai Hospital 14th on its elite Honor Roll of the nation’s top hospitals based on reputation, safety, and other patient-care factors. Mount Sinai is one of 12 integrated academic medical centers whose medical school ranks among the top 20 in NIH funding and U.S. News & World Report and whose hospital is on the U.S. News & World Report Honor Roll. Nearly 60,000 people were treated at Mount Sinai as inpatients last year, and approximately 560,000 outpatient visits took place.

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