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DoIT Helps Launch Global Health Diplomacy MOOC

Gabrielle fitzgerald global health mooc 1

Stony Brook University launched its new Coursera program on Global Health Diplomacy on August 8. In this seven-week Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), students will be immersed in the diplomatic, financial and geopolitical context that underlies global health decision-making. They will be able to navigate their way through course articles and videos and test their knowledge through voluntary assessments.

From left to right: Linda Unger, Jennifer Adams, Dr. Peter Small, Tayisha Saint Vil, William Cusick.
From left to right: Linda Unger, instructional designer; Jennifer Adams, Coursera handler; Dr. Peter Small, director of SBU’s Global Health Institute; Tayisha Saint Vil, Global Health graduate student; and Bill Cusick, video producer.

DoIT’s team of consultants from Academic Technology Services, the Faculty Center and Video Production all played a crucial role in the development of this new course, spending countless hours and numerous weeks perfecting the program to enhance the student learning experience.

Jennifer Adams, Stony Brook’s Coursera handler, helped oversee the development of this dense academic course. Instructional designer Linda Unger was responsible for crafting the objectives, assessments and grading rubrics to ensure that they had measurable learning outcomes. Assisting Unger was Global Health graduate student Tayisha Saint Vil, who researched essential course articles and crafted questions for quizzes. Once the academic curriculum was completed, the team flew in Gabrielle Fitzgerald, an executive in the philanthropic global health field, to record the lectures.

“One of the key hooks in engaging the audience is that the person recording the video lecture is an expert in the field. Gabrielle has over 20 years of experience leading organizations and partnering with international leaders to make global changes,” said Unger.

Gabrielle Fitzgerald recording lectures in the studio.
Gabrielle Fitzgerald recording video lectures in the studio.

The Global Health Diplomacy team then joined Bill Cusick in DoIT’s Video Production Studio to begin producing the video lectures. The team shot and edited all of the video for these assorted MOOCs.

“We’ve been involved with MOOCs in one form or another since inception and have recently provided video production on several of these projects,” said Cusick. “The MOOCs are headed up by other groups or departments, and we work hand-in-hand with those group representatives to guide them and bring their vision to the small screen, ensuring that high-quality videos are created in the most efficient and cost-effective way.”

The idea for this MOOC began with an inquiry from Dr. Peter Small, founding director of Stony Brook’s Global Health Institute. His vision of the course is for students to be able to explain the specifics of the global health field.

“The Global Health Diplomacy course is a type of program that will make you never read the newspaper the same way again. It gives you a completely different world view,” Small explained. “Global health is often thought of purely in medical or public health terms, but there are important geopolitical and policy dimensions of global health that underlie programmatic responses to global health challenges.”

“It’s a beginner course, but could apply to people interested in global affairs, governance in healthcare or philanthropic interests,” said Adams. “It’s really about the mechanics of global health. For example, when something happens, like an outbreak of disease — what happens with political security and the geopolitical context it takes place in? The key players: governments, non-profit organizations and celebrities that decide to get behind a certain movement, battle it out for control, but it follows the power and the global interest.”

When Dr. Small first conceptualized this Coursera program, he crafted the MOOC with the hope that it could be turned into a credit-bearing course for SBU medical students interested in global health. Like a typical class, this course contains modules with several lessons that require students to write essays, produce summary reports, create slide presentations and take quizzes. There is also a final wrap-up assessment that reflects what was taught for the whole course. Students who pass the $49 course will receive a completion certificate that states they satisfied the requirements. However, unlike your typical college-level course, the whole program is automated and graded based on peer review.

“This makes it as objective and concrete as possible,” Adams stressed. “Not to mention, there is a video component involved in every module in this MOOC that helps to engage the audience and enhance the student learning experience.”

This will be SBU’s sixth MOOC that has been released since SUNY became full-time partners with Coursera. The Global Health Diplomacy course is expected to attract a great number of students.

To enroll in this course go to:

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