‘Statistics in Medicine,’ a Free Online Course, Begins June 11
Jun 7, 2013 - 10:02:18 AM
The course will be taught by Kristin Sainani, PhD, a clinical assistant professor of health research and policy and a recipient of several teaching awards from Stanford's graduate program in epidemiology. Sainani's first MOOC, "Writing in the Sciences," was launched September 2012. More than 43,000 people registered during the initial eight-week course, with 3,547 earning completion certificates. An additional 23,000 students have since registered for the self-paced version of the course, which may be taken at any time, minus peer-reviewed homework evaluations and teaching-assistant support.
"Statistics in Medicine" will use real-world examples from medical literature and popular media to reinforce its lessons. Each week's opening lecture will begin with a statistical brainteaser: Should you be worried about lead in lipstick? Should you play the lottery when the jackpot reaches a half-billion dollars? Does eating red meat increase your risk of being in a traffic accident? Sainani will guide students through data as they are presented in the popular press and in the original studies. In the process, students will learn how to read, interpret and critically evaluate statistics in medical studies.
Produced by the Stanford Medicine Interactive Learning Initiatives program, the course is part of the medical school's effort to reimagine and improve medical education through the "flipped-classroom model." In a flipped classroom, students watch videotaped lectures as homework before class, then use in-class time for discussions and activities that reinforce the newly acquired knowledge.
Although Sainani's videotaped lectures were designed for use in a Stanford class, "HRP 258: Introduction to Probability and Statistics for Clinical Research," the school faculty made the decision to release this foundational course as a MOOC, available worldwide and at no cost.
"Dr. Sainani is a very skilled teacher, and the content of her course is relevant to a broad range of learners both within and outside of medicine," said Charles Prober, MD, senior associate dean for medical education at the School of Medicine. "Her material will be potentially useful for learners along the continuum, from high-school students to practicing health-care workers. On campus, the target audience for this class includes undergraduate students, medical students, residents and fellows. The online population of learners could be much more diverse, supporting Stanford's educational mission to educate as broadly as possible."
Prober, who oversees the school's educational programs, explained the importance of embracing this instructional model in a May 2012 New England Journal of Medicine perspective piece, "Lecture halls without lectures: A proposal for medical education."
The School of Medicine's fourth MOOC, "Introduction to Statistical Learning," is being developed by the Biostatistics Division. Ultimately, the school's MOOCs will be made available in an online library of teaching modules that can be used by other research institutions under the stewardship of Spectrum, the Stanford Center for Clinical and Translational Education and Research.
To learn more about "Statistics in Medicine" and to register for the class, visit https://class.stanford.edu/courses/Medicine/HRP258/Statistics_in_Medicine/about.
Stanford students must be enrolled in the on-campus course, which also includes in-person meet-ups.