Newswise — The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, long a pioneer in online instruction and among the first to offer Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) through the web-based education platform Coursera, topped one million MOOC enrollees as of March 31, 2014. The milestone comes several months shy of the second anniversary of the School’s first announced MOOC offerings in July 2012.
“It is exhilarating to pass the one million mark,” said Michael J, Klag, MD, MPH, dean of the Bloomberg School of Public Health. “Sharing our knowledge and research with the world is an essential part of our mission of improving health and saving lives. With MOOCs, our faculty can reach more learners in one course than they would have throughout their entire careers.”
MOOCs are part of a growing trend in online education that aims to bring high-level instruction from faculty at leading institutions free of charge to anyone who has the interest and access to the Internet. Launched in 2012 by two Stanford professors, Coursera today offers over 600 classes by instructors at 108 institutions. The Bloomberg School currently offers 23 MOOCs, including courses that are part of a new nine-course specialization in data science taught by professors in the Department of Biostatistics.
The School’s other MOOCs cover a range of public health topics, such as “Community Change in Public Health,” a six-week course that started April 21, 2014, and “Health for All Through Primary Health Care,” a six-week course that starts May 28, 2014.
Students who enroll in MOOCs can earn a Statement of Accomplishment that acknowledges their participation and performance in the course. As of March 31, 2014, more than 50,000 enrollees from around the world had earned a Statement of Accomplishment in JHSPH MOOCs. Coursera also now offers a Signature Track option. For a nominal fee of less than $50 per course, a student’s successful completion of a course can be authenticated with a Verified Certificate. As of March 31, 2014, Coursera had issued over 2,300 Verified Certificates to MOOC enrollees who opted into the Signature Track for a JHSPH course.
The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health has been active in online public health education since 1997, when it began offering for-credit online courses to full- and part-time students. The School was among the first to offer an online graduate degree in public health, with the introduction of its part-time Masters of Public Health (MPH) degree program in 1999. In 2005, the School joined the open educational resources (OER) movement by launching JHSPH OpenCourseWare, a repository of free instructional materials from more than 100 courses taught at the School.
In addition to its 23 current MOOCs, the School currently offers over 113 for-credit online courses and publishes teaching materials from 112 courses through the Bloomberg School’s OpenCourseWare, its OER portal, making it one of the world’s largest providers of online public health education.