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December 18, 2012

Johns Hopkins Providing More Free Online Public Health Education Than Ever

online learning

The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health is now teaching more students than ever through its online Coursera courses. In the past four months, more than 222,000 students have enrolled in eight Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) offered by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health through Coursera, a new education venture that offers high-quality university courses online for free.

The Bloomberg School’s latest Coursera offerings will start on January 23, 2013, with “Introduction to the U.S. Food System: Perspectives from Public Health,” “Health for All Through Primary Care,” and “Data Analysis.” With more than 68,000 students, “Data Analysis” already has the highest enrollment among the School’s offerings.

Combined with other free and for-credit courses, the Bloomberg School of Public Health is the world’s largest provider of online public health education.

"The Coursera platform allows us to reach more people than ever," said Michael J. Klag, MD, MPH, dean of the Bloomberg School. “Sharing with the world our knowledge and research about public heath is an essential part of our mission of improving health and saving lives.”

MOOCs on Coursera are the latest development in the Bloomberg School’s 15-year history of online public health education. The Bloomberg School began offering free online content with the launch of its Open CourseWare site in 2005. The School currently offers eight MOOCs: “Principles of Obesity Economics,” “Vaccine Trials: Methods and Good Clinical Practice,” “Mathematical Biostatistics Boot Camp,” “Health for All Through Primary Care,” “Community Change in Public Health,” “Computing for Data Analysis,” “Data Analysis,” and “Introduction to the U.S. Food System: Perspectives from Public Health.”

Students who earn a passing grade in the Bloomberg School’s MOOCs receive a statement of accomplishment signed by the course instructor. To date, Coursera has issued 7,362 statements of accomplishment to students who have successfully completed the four Bloomberg School MOOCs that have concluded so far.

“Teaching through Coursera has been a great experience and I’m very pleased with the response my course has received,” said Roger Peng, PhD, associate professor with the Bloomberg School’s Department of Biostatistics and instructor of the “Computing for Data Analysis” course. “I’ve taught 54,000 students during the first session, which is by far more students than I ever could have hoped to teach in my entire career.” Beginning on January 2, Roger Peng is teaching a second session of his computing course to help students hone their computing skills before “Data Analysis” begins on January 23.

In addition to MOOCs on Coursera, the Bloomberg School offers 113 for-credit online courses and publishes teaching materials from 112 courses through its OpenCourseWare site.

Coursera was founded in 2011 by Stanford University professors Andrew Ng and Daphne Koller. Johns Hopkins is one of 33 top-tier institutions that have signed agreements with Coursera to make some of their Web-based courses available to a wider student audience without charging tuition. The universities are offering undergraduate and graduate courses taught by their professors in the arts, computer sciences, mathematics, medicine, literature, history and a host of other disciplines. The courses can include online lectures, readings, discussion groups, assignments and exams. To date, more than 2 million students have enrolled in Coursera courses, according to the company.

The Bloomberg School’s online course content is accessible here: http://www.jhsph.edu/academics/online-learning-and-courses/.

Media contact: Tim Parsons, director of Public Affairs, at 410-955-7619 or tmparson@jhsph.edu.