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Professors without Borders: DGHI Taps into Online Teaching Technologies

September 06, 2016

More than forty online education project proposals—more than double the number received last year—were submitted by Duke faculty to the Spring 2016 call for proposals from Online Duke, Provost Sally Kornbluth and the Office of Global Strategy and Programs. Six projects were chosen to receive full support to develop online, interactive materials over the 2016-2017 academic year, and four of the six projects originated from the Duke Global Health Institute (DGHI). 

What Are Global Online Education Projects? 

Faculty were asked to submit project proposals that would add a global component to an instructor’s teaching, either by developing a fully online course or supporting online resources. The projects aim to increase connections between Duke’s scholars and our globalized world by using online-specific tools.

“Developing and offering online courses allows us to increase student access to our offerings and expand our faculty reach across the globe,” said Mary Story, associate director of academic programs at DGHI. 

Online technologies and teaching methods offer unique opportunities to bring global perspectives to Duke courses, develop educational experiences with global partners, and share Duke education with individuals around the world. 

“These online projects reflect DGHI’s continued dedication to provide innovative learning opportunities for global health students,” said Story, “We’re grateful for the support from Online Duke and the Office of Global Strategies and Programs.”

Why Is Global Health Well-Suited to an Online Format?  

An online format is particularly beneficial to the global health department because DGHI’s partners and scholars span the world: it allows faculty to easily share and access educational materials from afar. 

We wanted to develop learning materials that could be used in flipped courses for Duke students and made available to colleagues at DGHI’s Priority Partnership Locations around the world,” said DGHI assistant professor Eric Green, one of the funding recipients.

“The project gears towards Duke global health students in Durham, our students at DGHI’s priority field locations, as well as to students and fellows at DGHI global partner institutions,” said DGHI assistant professor Joseph Egger, who also received funding. 

In addition to benefitting from a broader reach, many global health concepts are best expressed through a technological medium and therefore lend themselves particularly well to an online format. 

“Many of the core concepts in epidemiology are best demonstrated through video animation, graphics and other visual media, so translating this to an online learning framework is a natural process,” said Egger. 

Funded DGHI Projects: The Details

The following global health projects were chosen to be developed over the 2016-2017 academic year: 

  • Infectious Disease Epidemiology in Global SettingsWendy Prudhomme O’Meara, Matthew Rubach and Gayani Tillekeratne 
    The first fully online course offered by DGHI, it will feature a flipped classroom design with pre-recorded lectures. Virtual discussion groups will link Duke students with the three instructors, who are all based overseas.
  • Global Environmental Health Problems: Principles and Case StudiesJunfeng (Jim) Zhang 
    Students from Duke, Duke Kunshan and potentially Peking University will enroll in this online course on global environmental issues. The course will use examples from the U.S., China, and other countries and will feature online lecture videos, guest speaker lectures, online discussions and video or web conferencing.
  • Global Health Research Design and Methods – Eric Green
    Green will develop interactive, online teaching materials on global health research design and methods that will be used for two Duke courses. These resources will also be made available to students, faculty and staff at DGHI priority partner locations across the world. 
  • Advanced Global Health Epidemiology – Joseph Egger
    Egger will develop set of online resources that will be used to improve the existing graduate-level Advanced Global Health Epidemiology course and make it possible for the course to be offered online to students at DGHI’s priority locations around the world. 

This article was adapted from “New Global Online Education Projects Selected for Duke Support,” by Lynne O’Brien.

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Laptop and World Map

We wanted to develop learning materials that could be used in flipped courses for Duke students and made available to colleagues at DGHI’s Priority Partnership Locations around the world.

Eric Green, assistant professor

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