Spurring Innovation in Healthcare Using MOOCS

10 Nov

By Kevin A. Schulman, Margo Selzter and Regina E. Herzlinger

A computer scientist, doctor, and business professor all walked into a MOOC…

Well, not exactly, but it is not far off from the HarvardX MOOC on healthcare innovation organized by Regina Herzlinger of Harvard Business School and featuring domain experts such as Dr. Kevin Schulman of Duke and me.

Called “Innovating in Healthcare,” our goal was to engage participants in “evaluating opportunities and the elements of viable business models for different kinds of health care innovations.” In fact, the relationship between Health and IT was one of CCC’s past visioning activities.

We simultaneously ran the course as both a MOOC and a smaller, limited enrollment format for a sub-set of learners. The SPOC, or “Small” (500 students) Private Online Course, provided an opportunity for like-minded students to self-assemble into teams using a matching algorithm (we are happy to provide more details on that to anyone interested).

The virtual teams, many comprised of international participants, collaborated to tackle a challenging healthcare problem, namely by coming up with a business plan that could spur innovation. The global participation (see Table 1) was exciting, resulting in team composition that couldn’t have happened any other way.

The very design of the course was a perfect case study related to a key question raised at a CCC workshop held last year, “Multidisciplinary Research for Online Education,” namely: the “synchronous and asynchronous interaction within and between local and global learning communities and the ways that these communities might evolve into other forms of collaboration and competition.”

In offering a MOOC in which we wanted students to engage in small team work, we joined a distinguished group of colleagues, such as Marti Hearst (UC Berkeley), Scott Klemmer (UC San Diego), and Rob Miller (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) — see a synopsis of their presentation at this year’s Snowbird.

Being directly involved in developing and teaching a MOOC gave me a “close encounter of a new kind” — one that I would encourage my colleagues in CS to experience as well. Having had the summer to reflect, here are a few of the key takeaways that I hope will spur further innovations in CS, healthcare and IT, and other fields.

[ Full article available at Inside Higher Ed: ]

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Posted by on November 10, 2014 in MOOCs in the News


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