First residential MOOC focuses on health policy

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The first U-M-only massive open online course had 400 students just before kickoff. By the end of the first day enrollment had nearly doubled.As of mid-week enrollment had grown to more than 800 undergraduate, graduate and professional students from health-related schools across the Ann Arbor, Flint and Dearborn campuses.

Dr. Matthew Davis is not totally surprised that his “Understanding and Improving U.S. Healthcare: Special U-M Student Edition” course is popular, based on his research and a previous offering to a broader audience.

“I think it’s safe to say that health and health care are of interest to just about everybody. Yet, a large portion of the public does not understand the U.S. health care system as well as they would like,” said Davis, professor of pediatrics and communicable diseases and of internal medicine, Medical School; professor of public policy, Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy; and professor of health management and policy, School of Public Health.

He also is affiliated with the U-M Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation, which is sponsoring the MOOC. The U-M Medical School also has provided support for development of course materials.

“With colleagues at U-M, I’ve conducted research about the confidence of medical students in various aspects of their education, and across the U.S. they are less confident about health policy than just about any subject they study,” Davis said.

“There are not a lot of faculty in medical schools across the country teaching about health policy,” he said, adding that the 130 medical schools across the country devote very few contact hours to the subject. Read more.