2 Recommendations

Interprofessional Healthcare Informatics Course

By Usman Raza Moderator Emeritus | 20 May, 2013

Dear all,

I wanted to share this online course on "Interprofessional Healthcare
Informatics" being offered by Coursera:

A brief description of the course follows:

*This course examines the implications of informatics for practice, in
nursing, public health, and healthcare in general. It covers electronic
health record issues and relates ethical, legislative and political issues
to health informatics. Students will also explore global and future
informatics issues.*
Interprofessional health care informatics is a graduate-level, hands-on
interactive exploration of real informatics tools and techniques. We will
be incorporating technology-enabled educational innovations to bring the
subject matter to life. Over the 10 weeks that we study together, we will
create a vital online learning community and a working healthcare
informatics network.

We will explore perspectives of clinicians like dentists, physical
therapists, nurses, and physicians in all sorts of practice settings
worldwide. Emerging technologies, telehealth, gaming, simulations, and
eScience are just some of the topics that we will consider.

Throughout the course, we’ll focus on creativity, controversy, and
collaboration - as we collectively imagine and create the future within the
rapidly evolving healthcare informatics milieu. All healthcare
professionals and IT geeks are welcome!

Thanks to Marie Connelly for sharing this!



Marie Connelly Replied at 6:37 PM, 21 May 2013

Usman, thanks for sharing this with the community!

I know we had a very interesting discussion around eLearning about a year ago (http://www.ghdonline.org/tech/discussion/expert-panel-elearning-and-you---imp...), and I wonder if anyone has thoughts they'd like to share on how these types of online courses have changed (or not) in the interim.

My own personal experience with Coursera was a bit mixed - I was initially very excited about the course I was taking (on Social Network Analysis), and kept up with the lectures and assignments relatively easily. Of course, once things got busy for me about halfway through the course, I fell behind. It was hard to catch up, and ultimately, I didn't finish the course.

The information shared in my course didn't require a lot of prerequisites or background knowledge, so it was relatively easy to jump in on things, but I'd be interested to hear from others what their experience has been with courses like this one, which describe themselves as more "graduate-level" courses - did the material covered meet your expectations?

I know many of us here at GHD, and within the Health IT community specifically, are very interested in seeing how online learning evolves, so I'd be very interested in hearing what other members have experienced - are the materials (videos, readings, programs, etc.) accessible for you? How have you fit these courses into your already busy schedules? (I could use some tips!) What works (or doesn't!) with these courses?

If anyone has signed up for this particular course, please share your experiences in the community and let us know how it goes!

A/Prof. Terry HANNAN Moderator Replied at 7:01 PM, 21 May 2013

Marie, you have raised some very relevant points here and the most important is 'time-management'. this week (probaly very naively) registered for Coursera and Interprofessional Healthcare Informatics. I felt they would be good 'learning' experiences as I felt I did not need another advanced qualification. Of course the inevitable happened which was simply doubling the number of patients I have in hospital and have two colleagues leave my Team for am extended period of time. As clinical work takes priority I will peek into these courses and see what I need to commit to obtain any benefit. Terry

Debra Revere Replied at 11:48 PM, 21 May 2013

Greetings, I also signed up for the Social Network Analysis course and
despite my enthusiasm and commitment to carve out dedicated time in my
schedule I also fell behind about mid-way in the course. I did download
all the materials and assignments with, again, best of intentions, but
have still not completed the course. I think there are 2 reasons for my
lack of follow-through: 1) Most of the work I do is with a computer so
I found it very challenging to park myself in front of screen outside of
work and 2) I did not participate in the course blog and perhaps if I
"spoke up" about getting behind I would have received some social
support to stay engaged. Debra

NGENZI Joseph Lune Replied at 1:09 AM, 22 May 2013

Dear All,

Thank you for sharing the information about this MOOC, I am already
registered in and encouraging others to join too.

MOOC will be the future of education once these tips will be addressed
based on my view and own experience

· Integrate live video session to feel more the presence of the
Lecturer (prerecorded presentation are not enough) because some societies
have a long history of verbal communication than written tradition then two
way communication is encouraged not only chat and forum

· Develop the culture of effective online learning and independent
learning strategies

· Consider setup of supporting centers to offer different services
(exams, counseling, tutorial assistant activities, … )

I hope that this time I will be able to complete this MOOC,

Your comments on MOOC and additional tips for effective online learning and
teaching are welcomed

Naomi Muinga Moderator Replied at 3:12 AM, 22 May 2013

Dear all,
It's great to see that many more people are taking these courses and especially from coursera. I signed up for the social network analysis one and completed it successfully. It was really interesting and served the puporse of increasing my interest in the area....so in the end I felt like I needed a more detailed class. I have to say though that the only way I survived it was by setting aside extra time for the course. What worked for me was early morning before work, so I would spend about 1 to 1.5hrs listening to the videos and taking the quizes. I found that trying to get this done during the day was almost impossible due to disruptions at work and many competing interests. I learnt to get myself to have a look at the material as soon as it was available and that way I was able to keep up.

Just to mention that I did not just motivate myself to keep up out of the blue! I am currently undertaking a distance based Msc in Health Informatics offered by the University of Sheffield. The course is delivered via live online sessions and reading material delivered via a web portal. I noticed that once I missed a class it would take me much more effort to get back on course (I played catchup for one course and that marked the end of my catchup days :) ). So applying this to the coursera and I would guess any other MOCC was a big motivation factor.

I have signed up for the health informatics course and I do plan to keep up - I guess that means I have to create the extra time for myself again...the sleep in the morning always happens to be sweetest! But my internet connection at home is fastest early in the morning so not much choice there!

I also suspect that because the courses are free, if one happens to fall back on the course work then there might be no real motivation to catch up ---ie you have not paid for it anyway. So there is no real loss! Just a thought.

But I agree that connecting with people in the forums might be more helpful than trying things out all on your own.

Regards and all the best to all who are planning to take part.

I'd be happy to connect with people who are taking the course and maybe keep each other accountable!

enock rukundo Replied at 4:53 AM, 22 May 2013

Dear all,

Thank you so much for enlightening valuable thoughts on the ongoing
Coursera courses. This time I have signed up for even more than two course
i.e health informatics, Entrepreneurship and Rationing of scarce medical
resources...I made a heavy stretch goal:-)

Great Naomi, i loved your idea for reconnecting. Lets get together now and
complete these valuable courses. And so, our great community moderator
Prof. Terry, Joseph and more others, lets keep each one of us being held
accountable and may be create our virtual meetups. I am among the first
graduating class of Msc. in Health Informatics here in Rwanda from the
Rockefeller Funded Center for Excellence at Kigali Health Institute and
Joseph is the program coordinator.

In commitment unless otherwise...

Derek Ritz Replied at 9:02 AM, 22 May 2013

Hi all.

Like Naomi, I completed an online MSc in Health Informatics (mine was a joint programme through the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh & University of Edinburgh). One of the keys, for me, to being able to complete the course was its ability to be readily fit into the "spaces between" in my work schedule. I would never have been able to do it, otherwise. I think, had there been scheduled lectures that I had to attend I would definitely have been unable to do it.

I am now on the other side; in partnership with Dr. Andrew Grant I'm delivering a bilingual (French/English) online graduate course in Health Enterprise Architecture through the HI mircoprogramme at the University of Sherbrooke. We had our first cohort earlier this year (and it was well received by the students). I felt strongly that engagement with peers on the online forum was a key to the success of the course so we assigned significant course "marks" to online posting of assignments and commentary/reflection on peers' postings. This kept the forum very lively and it really contributed to the students' learning outcomes. With such a diverse group (geographically and from many professions), the students learned as much from each other as from us, I'm sure!

I very much agree with Joseph that MOOC is a way of the future. I think that institutions that offer online courses should embrace a sort of HINARI model and make them widely available at a significantly reduced cost compared to what the fees are now (I don't think they can be free... there are costs, but with a very large population of attendees these costs can be very thinly spread). I've suggested this to colleagues at the University of Sherbrooke (Canada), University of Edinburgh (Scotland) and at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (South Africa) and there is real interest.

What do others think about such a model for health informatics education; a sort of mutli-institutional collaborative MOOC offered through a HINARI-like funding scheme?

Warmest regards,


Najeeb Al-Shorbaji Replied at 9:15 AM, 22 May 2013

I have been following this string of postings with great interest. Ozone way of improving ehealth uptake is to have quality human resources to manage eHealth activities and projects. One cost effective way is eLearning for sure. The HINARI example cited by Derek is true public private partnership that has allowed for hundreds of thousands of researchers in over 5000 institutions from over 100 countries to get equal and free access to over 20000 medical journals and eBooks. Why cannot do the same for eLearning materials and standards as well. WHO will be ready and willing to host such a partnership and platform. Kind regards. Najeeb Al-Shorbaji

Derek Ritz Replied at 9:17 AM, 22 May 2013

Hi all.

I wish I'd clicked through to the Coursera link before making my posting! It looks like this is very much the HINARI-like model I've been thinking about. May I ask, are any others on the forum delivering courses through this organization and can they share their experience with Coursera?



Amy Scheffler Replied at 8:17 AM, 23 May 2013

Hi all,

Many thanks to Usman and Marie for jumpstarting this conversation again, and for everyone's interest in this evolution of learning!

@Derek, all - I do not deliver a course through Coursera but I'd like to share an experience with a distance course I took through the Harvard Extension School last year. With similar sentiment on the challenges - motivation, time management, more non-office screen-time, lack of in-person support, etc. - I did successfully complete the "Mind, Brain, Health, and Education" course. Some students did gather, as they were available, for in-person lectures on Monday mornings. Distance students could either watch the lecture live or stream it later. The course staff were very diligent in providing resources on a timely, consistent schedule so, from week to week it was fairly easy to know what to expect and how to budget time. Students could also meet for in-person tutoring, exams, etc., and there was a solid online learning culture developed (e.g. we were required to post introductions, make a number of posts each week as part of discussion groups, and do a final group project) - addressing some of NGENZI's suggestions above.

I'm not exactly certain which of these elements kept me most invested and feeling obligated to study hard and stay engaged. The most helpful element was the availability of staff and faculty; the most challenging/least engaging: the required number of posts. I sometimes felt as though I was writing just to share something on a subject. Since there was so much to read - between others' posts and the readings themselves, it was hard to determine what to carve out time for. Keeping in mind the final project's requirement of working in a small, virtual group, may have been a great catalyst to keep up.

With all of this in mind, my disclaimer is that I am the Education Coordinator for the GHD Project. Colleagues and I strive to make materials as accessible and digestible as possible during the short, in-person GHD Summer Intensive (GHDI) (http://bit.ly/ViOqOW). We share materials before the start of the program, as well as during, via GHDonline, coursepacks, and books. My concern, with the expansion of MOOCs is that many valuable conversations during GHDI happen in the hallways after class. There is camaraderie that is developed through in-person connection. How do we incorporate that into MOOCs? Is that what keeps us most engaged? Is it direct application of course materials, resources, and discussion to daily (future) work; and/or, continued conversation and sharing of lessons amongst fellow course alum (and their colleagues) that continue to generate value for a course?

It would be great to hear from those of you who deliver courses through Coursera or other MOOC platforms, as Derek suggested, to get a sense of how to address these challenges and pave the way for these new developments in learning.

enock rukundo Replied at 9:25 AM, 23 May 2013

@Amy, awesome! valuable insights and key takeaways there....Super!

Usman Raza Moderator Emeritus Replied at 4:39 AM, 26 May 2013

Hi all,

A lot of interesting experiences and thoughts being shared and I would like
to add in.

I believe there is a lot of variety in Coursera and the amount and type of
involvement is much different for courses. I took one course last year
(Human Computer Interaction) which was intensive by all means. The lectures
and readings were ok but the real benefit (and effort) was related to the
assignments that had to be completed. I was able to successfully complete
the course, but it was hard to keep up. One of the issues I noted, was that
it's hard to define workload when it comes to practical assignments
(involving actual interviews with people, design activities, learning new
software etc).

With that however, I want to say this was not one of those courses where
you just "get to know more about the subject" or "find whether you like
this subject or not". It taught me actual skills which I can put into

I have signed up for the IHI course myself too, and so far it seems like a
much lighter one.

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