Young people’s views on a Massive Online Course (MOOC) entitled: Improving healthcare through research

By Liverpool YPAG,

Massive Online Course (MOOC): Improving Healthcare Through Clinical Research

What is a MOOC?

Improving Healthcare Through Clinical Research is a MOOC or ‘Massive Open Online Course’ available to anyone around the world and free to follow. The course was put together by the National Institute of Health Research Clinical Research Network (NIHR CRN) working with Leeds University and is hosted by FutureLearn.

You can watch a short video trailer here and read more here.

What’s this MOOC about?

The MOOC helps people find out about how medical treatments are discovered, tested and evaluated, to improve healthcare for everyone. It brings to life how research is carried out via case studies and includes topics such as:

  • How research is helping to find new ways of treating and providing care for some of the major diseases including cancer and dementia
  • Focusing on important ethical questions raised by clinical research

The MOOC ran for the first time from 2nd November 2015 for 4 weeks.

What did members of the GenerationR, Young Person’s Advisory Group YPAG in Liverpool think about taking part in the MOOC?

Here’s what three members of the group thought:

Fathima, (15 years old) thought:

When I first signed up to this course I wasn’t sure what to expect as it was being run by one of the top universities. However, when reading through the section of comments my nerves were calmed as I saw that people with all sorts of backgrounds had signed up!

As a teenager with very little experience, the information was incredibly interesting and had cleared up some of my previous misunderstandings. I had learnt about things I had never even considered such as how the team behind a clinical trial can range between completely different backgrounds, specialisms and professions.

The structure of the course was very engaging as it was full of short clips, which were backed up each week with a questionnaire to confirm what had been learnt. As the course was broken up into little sections, it enabled me to fit it in with my busy school schedule and was actually quite refreshing. In addition to this, I really enjoyed the opportunity for feedback in the comments section and further widening my knowledge. The only disadvantage was that I had to part with £35 to receive a certificate of participation! However looking past this, I would definitely recommend the course to anyone who has an interest in clinical research.

This is what Adit (15 years old) thought:

This course has helped me to understand in depth, everything that goes on through a clinical trial from why and how they are conducted to what happens through each stage of the process. You are also taught about the history of how clinical trials and research came about and different people who have conducted famous clinical trials before they even knew about it.

It was interesting to learn how clinical research was made ethical and respectful, which stemmed from concerns about how tests were carried out on people in history, for example from the Nazi concentration camps. Overall, it was a great course and a different experience. I would definitely recommend it to anyone that wants to learn more about clinical trials and the many processes involved in going through with them.

This is what Pratuysh (15 years old) thought:

What I liked about the course was the information was presented in video form, so it was more engaging than reading a paragraph. I also thought the course covered all aspects of clinical research including ethics and this gave me a clear understanding of research in general. I would recommend this course to anyone with scientific interests, or interested in research in general.  

Overall the course was enjoyed by all and highly recommended.

When does the MOOC run again?

The course is set to run again twice in 2016. The next course starts on 6th June and again in November (date tbc)

How do I register, find out more?

You don’t have to wait until June to register for the course! You can register now at:

Do I have to study the course when it runs in June?

As long as you have registered for the course you have access to all the materials to study at anytime that is convenient for you after the course has started. Its nice to study with friends or to fit it in with other learning you might be doing too.