Emory University | Woodruff Health Sciences Center
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Coursera class is a first

By Martha McKenzie

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Professor Lynn Sibley PhD RN CNM FAAN FACNM had more than 8,500 students in a recent class. It helped that the class was in the Cloud.

Sibley's class, "Childbirth, A Global Perspective," was the School of Nursing's first offering on Coursera, the online education platform that partners with top universities worldwide.

Coursera classes are free and available to anyone with a computer and Internet access. In fact, people from 162 different countries signed on to Sibley's course last year. Students spanned all ages and educational backgrounds, with a fourth of them in low-resource emerging economies.

Sibley shared the instructional duties of her six-week course with five Emory faculty members, including three from the School of Nursing—Research Professor Martha Rogers MD FAAP, Clinical Associate Professor Jenny Foster PhD MPH CNM FACNM, and Assistant Professor Sydney Spangler PhD CNM—and one adjunct—CDC senior nurse-midwife Patricia Riley CNM. The course reviewed challenges for maternal and newborn health in the developing world, where a great many women and babies suffer from complications during pregnancy, childbirth, and the days following birth. Themes covered included the epidemiology of maternal and newborn mortality and morbidity, relevant issues for the global health workforce, community-based interventions to improve maternal and newborn health and survival, and sociocultural dynamics surrounding birth.

"It was a great experience for us," says Sibley. "I think we all learned a lot from it."

Related Resources

Coursera: Emory University

"Emory establishes strong start with online education" (Emory News Center, 4/8/2014)

"Emory and Coursera: Benefits beyond the numbers" (Emory News Center, 5/20/2013)

"Emory joins Coursera to offer online courses worldwide" (Emory News Center, 9/22/2012)

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