Ohio State College of Pharmacy Enrolls More Than 39,000 Online Students World-Wide

Daniel Helfand
Kenneth HaleKenneth Hale

As the Internet continues to become a more ubiquitous tool in the daily lives of people around the world, it has also become a new and popular way for educators and students to connect.

To date, more than 16,000 students have signed up for The Ohio State University Professor Nicole Kwiek’s massive open online course (MOOC) “Generation Rx: The Science Behind Prescription Drug Abuse.” Additionally, more than 23,000 students have enrolled in Professor Kenneth Hale’s MOOC “Intro to Pharmacy.”

A MOOC is an online class with large-scale interactive participation and open access via the internet. MOOCs have become incredibly popular because they allow for enhanced, faster student-to-student and student-to-professor interactions in a viral environment.

“Because students are enrolled worldwide, it will be a very interesting opportunity for me to learn about prescription drug abuse from an international perspective,” said Kwiek. “Clearly, I’m looking forward to learning from this experience, even as an instructor.”

The classes will be broadcast through Coursera, an education company that partners with universities to provide courses to the general public for free.

Nicole KwiekNicole Kwiek

Kwiek’s course will focus on the epidemic rise of prescription drug abuse and the use of science to debunk commonly held misconceptions regarding this phenomenon. Her six-week MOOC begins Sept. 9.

“The course itself is much more than just my video-recorded lectures,” said Kwiek. “Students will be able to interact with each other on message boards to discuss this complex issue. Further, students will have an opportunity to create educational awareness tools about this problem.”  

Hale’s course will be a comprehensive overview of the profession of pharmacy, including its history, evolving scope of practice, ethical foundations, regulation, educational and career opportunities, and medication and drug development processes. His seven-week MOOC begins Oct. 11.

“This project is very exciting, and I feel so fortunate to be able to expand my teaching through this international medium,” said Hale. “All the pieces of more traditional teaching are here; they are just packaged for asynchronous delivery.”

The College of Pharmacy’s classes are open to anyone with an interest in either subject, with no required prerequisites.  Each will feature short video lectures with integrated quiz questions, class readings and projects.

Students who finish their course will receive a signed certificate from their instructor, confirming their completion.

Hale said, “It has been a cool adventure so far, and we are very optimistic that these courses will be well received and serve to advance our outreach and engagement efforts relating to prescription drug abuse prevention and pharmacy education.”

For more information on the courses, visit http://go.osu.edu/rxcoursera.