Now Viewing: Health education

A Learning Journey

May 7, 2013, 11:31 AM, Posted by Mike Painter

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A sea change is happening in education. Millions are taking free online courses, some offered by elite universities. Lectures in crowded halls have moved online, with teachers and students using class time for discussion and problem-solving.

Unlike online courses and degree programs, the increasingly popular MOOC (massive open online course) is a relative newcomer to online education. The model beefs up regular classes while offering a free taste of college to anyone with a computer and Internet access.

Critics fear MOOCs may replace or cheapen brick-and-mortar education, and point to their high student drop-out rates. But many leading researchers consider MOOCs a worthy experiment.

Online educator Khan Academy is convinced of the value of online content. Like a MOOC, the material it creates is free and available to anyone, anywhere.

But that’s where the similarities end.

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Whoa! Did You Feel That?

Apr 8, 2013, 1:00 PM, Posted by Mike Painter

Mike Painter

Have you read “The Swerve,” the Pulitzer Prize-winning book by renowned historian Stephen Greenblatt? In it a canny Renaissance era book hunter discovers and releases knowledge in the form of a medieval, controversial poem lost to posterity. The poem had dwindled down to a single handmade, leather-bound version held behind the vine-covered, ancient walls of an Italian monastery. According to Greenblatt, the unleashing of that book changed everything that came after. That small book with the long poem on the nature of things set in motion forces that challenged the status quo and triggered dramatic, world-wide change—a swerve. The only way that knowledge survived the millennia was because monks trained in hand crafting books had carefully copied the one survivor—and saved it for centuries. 

Last week, the Khan Academy, AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation may not have triggered quite such a momentous unleashing—but this powerful collaboration did start something very interesting with potentially significant implications for health care education.

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