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Modern form of teaching brings success

MOOC is a new type of course that has emerged over the past decade. MED’s instructors have come on board, and the experiences are very good.

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From the filming of How to Write a Ph.D. Research Proposal. Photo Øystein Røynesdal

– We have taught people we probably would not have reached otherwise, says Anne Moen. She is co-responsible for two MOOCs.

– The MOOCs provide a curriculum available outside of the classroom and makes lifelong learning easier, says Moen.

MOOC stands for Massive Open Online Course. The courses are open to anyone who wants to participate. Participants can sit anywhere in the world.

For all the world's students

Launched in May, "How to Write a Ph.D. Research Proposal" is a MOOC that helps participants around the world design a good project description for a doctoral project. The course was developed at Helsam by Anne Moen, Jeanette H. Magnus and Øystein Røynesdal.

– The response has been fantastic, says Moen.

– We have reached people from all over the world, North and South. 

Just a few weeks following its launch, over 3,000 people from 150 different countries had taken the course. Registration for the course currently numbers 3,500.

– We wanted to make a contribution to international capacity-building, Moen says. 

– Our MOOC is a free tool that can help health research around the world. It was the first of its kind to provide training in writing doctoral applications and applications for smaller research projects, she explains. 

Based on experiences from Ethiopia

Those who participate in the course follow a plan and are given assignments, short lectures and tips for how they should proceed when writing applications and project descriptions. They receive training in formulating their research idea and learn about the importance of seeing their own idea as part of a larger picture. Overall, this will provide a better-developed idea by the time the application is submitted.

The medical unit in Jimma. Photo Per Hjortdal 

The team behind the MOOC used experiences from supervising students who write PhD outlines. They also used lessons learned from the Intro I and II courses in our own PhD programme. But most helpful were the experiences from the workshops in Scientific Writing, which were part of the SACCADE project from Jimma University and Saint Paul's Millennium Medical College in Ethiopia.

SACCADE aims to strengthen research and research training in public health, health sciences and primary health services in Ethiopia and Africa.

Strengthens research capacity in the South

Although those responsible for the course are located in Oslo, colleagues in the South have been very involved. They are present in the videos the course, and former students have also been mobilised. It is a collective effort that has provided success.

– We made the MOOC in the EXCEL SMART project together with our colleagues in Ethiopia, says Jeanette H. Magnus. She heads the SACCADE and EXCELSMART projects from UiO.

– We hope that the MOOC can help demonstrate how to collaborate between North and South to achieve greater research capacity, cohesion, self-confidence and competence, she continues.

The feedback has been very positive. The MOOC makes this type of expertise and resources available to many more people.

For all professions in the primary healthcare service

The KlinPrim MOOC is being launched this autumn. It is based on the faculty's e-learning in advanced geriatric nursing, but has important expansions. Lene Lunde, Anne Moen and Elin O. Rosvold are behind the course. The aim is to raise the participants' clinical skills and strengthen cooperation in the primary healthcare service.

Improved collaboration

Healthcare professionals work closely across professional boundaries in the primary healthcare service. But those who work there have different qualifications from different places and have not necessarily learned the same things in the same way.

– It is a point that the different professions take the same course, Moen says. It allows them to more easily speak the same language afterwards, giving rise to greater equality and better standardisation.

The transfer of information between healthcare professionals is important for the course. The course will contribute to more formalised strategies for collection and summaries, and focus more attention on the types of information needed by the person who takes over.

Clinical skills

Photo: Morten Skoglund

The KlinPrim course targets all health care workers regardless of their background, such as skilled workers, nurses and physicians. The course is also intended for students, and can prepare them for practical training.

It follows the fictional patient Sverre Jensen and consists of five modules. There is progression from module to module. The idea is that everyone who participates takes modules 1-3, while modules 4 and 5 are designed for physicians and nurses with a lot of knowledge from advanced geriatric nursing.

Out in the municipalities

The course will provide more systematic competence in the municipalities. A pilot was tested at a municipal nursing home from November 2017 to March 2018.

– Combining the use of videos, audio files and text made the content interesting and improved the learning experience, says Lene Lunde. She is responsible for the course and notes that the pilot had participants from all relevant occupational and student groups.

– Thanks to the use of realistic examples and scenarios the content was assessed as relevant, she continues. 

Elin O. Rosvold was the head of studies at Helsam when KlinPrim was developed, and took an active part in the development of the course.

– Feedback from the participants indicated that the course is well received, says Rosvold.

– The participants thought course was useful, and all the groups thought they gained valuable competence. The participants who did not need to follow all five modules nevertheless thought that the entire package was interesting.

Cooperation with LINK

The Centre for Learning, Innovation and Academic Development (LINK) has been important for the development of both MOOCs.

Concerning the help they got for KlinPrim, Lene Lunde comments:

– They have developed the technical elements of the project, and have been involved in discussing what is possible to achieve, she says.

– They have also given us very useful input on layout, interactivity in assignments, presentation of assignments and development of new material.

LINK (formerly the Section for Digital Media in Learning, DML) has filmed the new scenarios. They have been responsible for editing and adjusting the material, recording voice-overs and editing audio logs.

– LINK has given the content of the MOOC the best possible technical standard based on the material we have presented and developed in cooperation, concludes Lunde.

Course form suitable for many applications

Anne Moen points out that MOOC is a form of education that is suitable for many types of teaching.

– We have made two different MOOCs," she sums up.

– They meet different needs and reach different learners. We have demonstrated that it is quite possible to create MOOCs both for practical instruction and for theoretical and analytical topics.

MOOCs at UiO

Do you feel called to develop a MOOC? Read more about it on the university’s webpage MOOC – online courses for everyone 

The University of Oslo collaborates with the English MOOC provider Futurelearn. They provide an international course platform that serves as the portal for the courses we develop. The agreement means that academic environments can now have the opportunity to design and distribute online courses with a global reach.


Published Sep. 19, 2019 2:41 PM - Last modified Sep. 19, 2019 2:41 PM