DoIT Helps Launch Global Health Diplomacy Massive Open Online Course (MOOC)

Stony Brook University releases new Global Health Diplomacy program on Coursera.

By: Olivia Sawyers
Last Updated: August 22, 2016

On August 8, 2016, Stony Brook University will launch its new Coursera program on Global Health Diplomacy. In this seven week course, students will be immersed in the diplomatic, financial and geopolitical context that underlies global health decision-making. Students are able to navigate their way through course articles and videos and test their knowledge through voluntary assessments. DoIT’s team of consultants from Academic Technology Services, the Faculty Center and Video Production, all played a crucial role in the development of this new course, spending countless hours and numerous weeks perfecting the program to enhance the student learning experience.

After an inquiry six months ago by Dr. Peter Small, Founding Director of the Global Health Institute at Stony Brook University School of Medicine, a group of diligent professionals will launch their new Massive Open Online Course, (MOOC). Jennifer Adams, Stony Brook University’s Coursera Handler, helped to oversee the development of this dense, academic course. Instructional designer Linda Unger was responsible for crafting the objectives, assessments and the grading rubrics to ensure that they consisted of measurable learning outcomes. Assisting Unger was Global Health graduate student, Tayisha Saint Vil, who researched essential course articles and crafted questions for quizzes. Once the academic curriculum was completed, the team flew in Gabrielle Fitzgerald, an executive in the philanthropic global health field  to record the lectures.

“One of the key hooks in engaging the audience is that the person who’s recording the video lecture is an expert in the field. Gabrielle has over 20 years experience leading organizations and partnering with international leaders to make global changes,” said Unger.

The Global Health Diplomacy team then joined Bill Cusick in DoIT’s Video Production studio to begin the production of the video lectures.

The team shot and edited all the video in support of the creation of these assorted MOOCs.     

“We've been involved with MOOCs in one form or another since inception, and have recently provided video production on several of these projects,” said Cusick. “The MOOCs are headed up by other groups or departments, and we work hand-in-hand with those group representatives to guide them and bring their vision to the small screen, ensuring that high-quality videos are created in the most efficient and cost-effective way.”

Dr. Small’s vision of this course is for students to be able to explain the specifics of the field of global health. "The Global Health Diplomacy course is a type of program that will make you never read the newspaper the same way again. It gives you a completely different world view," Small explains. Global health is often thought of purely in medical or public health terms, but there are important geopolitical and policy dimensions of global health that underlie programmatic responses to global health challenges.

“It’s a beginner course, but could apply to people interested in global affairs, governance in healthcare, or philanthropic interests,” said Adams. “It’s really about the mechanics of global health. For example, when something happens, like an outbreak of disease - what happens with political security, and the geopolitical context it takes place in? The key players: governments, non-profit organizations, and celebrities that decide to get behind a certain movement, battle it out for control, but it follows the power and the global interest.”

Furthermore, when Dr. Small first conceptualized this Coursera program, he crafted the MOOC in the hopes that it eventually could be turned into a credit-bearing course for SBU medical students interested in global health. Like a typical class, this course contains modules with several lessons that require students to write essays, produce summary reports, create slide presentations, and take quizzes. There is also a final wrap-up assessment that reflects what was taught for the whole course. Students who pass the $49 course will receive a completion certificate that states they satisfied the requirements. However, unlike your typical college-level course, the whole program is automated and graded based on peer review.

“This makes it as objective and concrete as possible,” Adams stressed. “Not to mention, there is a video component involved in every module in this MOOC that  helps to engage the audience and enhance student learning experience.”

This will be SBU’s sixth MOOC that has been released since SUNY became full-time partners with Coursera. The Global Health Diplomacy course is expected to attract a great number of students.

“The course is fun as well as challenging,” said Unger. “It’s problem-solving scenarios and if students are serious about the course and bring to bear everything, Coursera’s Global Health Diplomacy will help them grasp all the complex problems involved in solving real global health issues.”

The Global Health Diplomacy course will go live on August 8, 2016. To enroll in this course, go to:

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