Accessibility navigation

Massive Open Online Courses on health and medicine: review

Liyanagunawardena, T. R. and Williams, S. (2014) Massive Open Online Courses on health and medicine: review. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 16 (8). e191. ISSN 1438-8871

Text - Accepted Version
· Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.
· Please see our End User Agreement before downloading.


It is advisable to refer to the publisher's version if you intend to cite from this work. See Guidance on citing.

To link to this item DOI: 10.2196/jmir.3439


Background: Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) have become immensely popular in a short span of time. However, there is very little research exploring MOOCs in the discipline of Health and Medicine. This paper is aimed to fill this void by providing a review of Health and Medicine related MOOCs. Objective: Provide a review of Health and Medicine related MOOCs offered by various MOOC platforms within the year 2013. Analyze and compare the various offerings, their target audience, typical length of a course and credentials offered. Discuss opportunities and challenges presented by MOOCs in the discipline of Health and Medicine. Methods: Health and Medicine related MOOCs were gathered using several methods to ensure the richness and completeness of data. Identified MOOC platform websites were used to gather the lists of offerings. In parallel, these MOOC platforms were contacted to access official data on their offerings. Two MOOC aggregator sites (Class Central and MOOC List) were also consulted to gather data on MOOC offerings. Eligibility criteria were defined to concentrate on the courses that were offered in 2013 and primarily on the subject ‘Health and Medicine’. All language translations in this paper were achieved using Google Translate. Results: The search identified 225 courses out of which 98 were eligible for the review (n = 98). 58% (57) of the MOOCs considered were offered on the Coursera platform and 94% (92) of all the MOOCs were offered in English. 90 MOOCs were offered by universities and the John Hopkins University offered the largest number of MOOCs (12). Only three MOOCs were offered by developing countries (China, West Indies, and Saudi Arabia). The duration of MOOCs varied from three weeks to 20 weeks with an average length of 6.7 weeks. On average MOOCs expected a participant to work on the material for 4.2 hours a week. Verified Certificates were offered by 14 MOOCs while three others offered other professional recognition. Conclusions: The review presents evidence to suggest that MOOCs can be used as a way to provide continuous medical education. It also shows the potential of MOOCs as a means of increasing health literacy among the public.

Item Type:Article
ID Code:37268
Publisher:JMIR Publications
Publisher Statement:Open access


Downloads per month over past year

University Staff: Request a correction | Centaur Editors: Update this record

Page navigation