Free online Public Health content hits milestone

In the past three months, more than 175,000 students have enrolled in Massive Open Online Courses, or MOOCs, offered by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health through Coursera. Coursera is a new education venture that offers high-quality university courses online for free. The Bloomberg School's Coursera offerings include eight MOOCs on data analysis, nutrition, primary health care, biostatistics, and principles of obesity economics.

MOOCs on Coursera are the latest development in the Bloomberg School's 15-year history of online public health education. Currently the school offers 113 for-credit online courses and publishes teaching materials from 112 courses through its OpenCourseWare, making it the world's largest provider of online public health education.

"We are very pleased with the response to our Coursera content. Sharing our knowledge and research with the world is an essential part of our mission of improving health and saving lives. MOOCs are another tool to help the Bloomberg School expand the reach of public health education," says Michael J. Klag, dean of the Bloomberg School.

Coursera was founded in 2011 by Stanford University Professors Andrew Ng and Daphne Koller. Johns Hopkins is one of 33 top-tier institutions that have signed agreements with Coursera to make some of their Web-based courses available to a wider student audience without charging tuition. The universities are offering undergraduate and graduate courses taught by their professors in the arts, computer science, mathematics, medicine, literature, history, and a host of other disciplines. The courses can include online lectures, readings, discussion groups, assignments, and exams. To date, more than 1.6 million students have enrolled in Coursera offerings, according to the company.