Changing the Landscape of Genomics Education Through a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC): Genomic Medicine Gets Personal. B. R. Haddad, J. Russel, S. Pennestri, D. Demaree, M. Tan, B. N. Peshkin Georgetown University, Washington, DC.
Advances in genomics have led to a major paradigm shift in medical practice. While medicine has always been personal, the availability of genomic data has made it possible to individualize care for many patients. It is estimated that the cost of whole genome sequencing may fall to $1,000 and such testing may become routine. Whether physicians are asked to interpret genomic information they have requested as part of patient care, or their patients have self-prescribed from a direct-to-consumer personal genomics company, they need to be trained to accomplish this task. However, many studies over the last decade have demonstrated that health care providers have suboptimal knowledge about genomics. Consumers also need to be educated about this field. Toward this end, we developed a cross-disciplinary MOOC that targets medical professionals as well as the general public. This 8-week course was launched on June 4, 2014 and covered 5 main themes: (1) Clinical genetics and genomics; (2) Laboratory techniques; (3) Consumer genomics; (4) Ethical, legal, and social issues; and (5) Present and future opportunities and challenges. Faculty from different disciplines including clinical and laboratory genetics, oncology, computational sciences, genetic counseling, bioethics, law, and business participated in the course. Content consisted of short video lectures, interviews, and roundtable discussions. Students were provided with online readings and resources, and were expected to complete pre- and post-course surveys, formative assessments, weekly quizzes, and a final exam. Participation in discussion boards and other exercises was also encouraged. Over 22,600 students from over 150 countries have enrolled. We will share our experience in developing the course and discuss the pros and cons of this approach to online education in genomics. Quantitative data will be presented about students demographics, motivation, and learning achievements. Themes from the discussion board and other exercises will be discussed. We plan to maintain this course as a living resource, updating it regularly, making it part of our medical school curriculum and continuing medical education program, and keeping it accessible to the public at large. We believe that this will allow us to provide an educational opportunity to a large audience worldwide, particularly to individuals with limited access to traditional educational resources in this cutting-edge field.
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