Massive open online courses in U.S. healthcare education: Practical considerations and lessons learned from implementation

Whitney D. Maxwell, Patricia H. Fabel, Veronica Diaz, Janet C. Walkow, Nicole C. Kwiek, Sukon Kanchanaraksa, Maria Wamsley, Angel Chen, P. Brandon Bookstaver

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Background and purpose: Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) offer an innovative approach to pharmacy education and are expected to challenge traditional pedagogy and foundational knowledge acquisition practices. A survey of the literature reveals no current publications describing implementation of MOOCs in pharmacy education and limited information about MOOC implementation in other healthcare disciplines in the United States. Educational activity and setting: A few colleges of pharmacy (COPs) and other health professions’ educational programs have recently started offering MOOCs. Findings: Herein we provide an overview of MOOCs and describe the early implementation stages of MOOCs being conducted at two COPs, an interprofessional MOOC, and a variety of MOOCs offered by a public health program. This overview and the four case studies on MOOC implementation in healthcare education provide practical information about course development, descriptions of selected course engagement outcomes, insight into lessons learned by the institutions, and practical considerations for development of future MOOCs. Discussion: MOOCs prompt diversification of models of teaching and learning, transformation of pedagogical frameworks, and innovation in the scholarship of teaching and learning. MOOCs offer exciting opportunities to distribute knowledge on a massive and global scale to a diverse population of learners.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)736-743
Number of pages8
JournalCurrents in Pharmacy Teaching and Learning
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2018


  • Healthcare education
  • MOOC
  • Massive open online course
  • Pharmacy education
  • Technology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacy
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)


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