It is too easy to overlook a fundamental public health course, like “Principles of Public Health” when you have acquired the knowledge or surpassed the basics due to field experiences and other educational trainings.
University of California, Irvine and Coursera have partnered to offer one of the largest online courses in public health. The course is absolutely FREE and has over 15,000 students enrolled from all over the world. This 5-week course (which began 1/28/2013) discusses everything from the definition of public health to the future of the industry.
So, why take the course?
- Everything is optional. You decide your time-commitment. One hour a week? Or 6 hours per week? Your choice. There is no attendance. Choose to watch a few lectures or passively follow discussion boards. Or, complete all the assignments, actively participate in the discussion threads and obtain the certificate of completion.
- Keep your finger on the industry pulse. You may have passed your Public Health 101 class in college, but that’s only ONE class, from ONE teacher, at ONE school, during ONE point in world’s history. Foundational principles may not have changed significantly, but their application may have changed dramatically. It may be worth enrolling just to see what industry topics are being discussed.
- Gain global perspective. Imagine engaging with students from all over the world and having conversations related to your field about topics that are relevant to you. The different student backgrounds and participant experiences may help you re-define or re-frame your own perspectives about public health … and possibly even enhance your career.
- Academic reality check. Professionals often wonder if academia aligns with the needs of their industry. Are they adequately preparing people to enter the field of public health or are topics out-dated or irrelevant? Well, here is your chance to find out. It’s also your chance to voice your opinion.
- Networking opportunities. You never know when you’ll find a group of peers or colleagues that could lead to future partnerships or potential collaborations. The mean age of a participant in these massive online courses is 35 years old. Many are just like you – working professionals who value life-long learning. They are smart, perceptive, and not always coming from a public health-related field (which can also broaden your perspective). Let’s just say, these may not be the typical 20-something college students from a freshman public health class.
The course is FREE and still open for enrollment (as of this posting). Check it out or register here: https://www.coursera.org/course/publichealth
NOTE to OMP PARTICIPANTS: This course counts towards your professional development hours. However, you must successfully pass and receive the completion certificate before posting your hours in your activity tracking log.