General Medicine: Open Access

ISSN - 2327-5146


Evaluating the Acceptability of a Massive Open Online Course for UK Medical Students

Ka Ying Bonnie Ng, Usama Syed, Jack Garnham , Stephanie Smith , Ben Green , Mahiben Maruthappu 

Introduction: Massive open online courses (MOOCs) are teaching programmes consisting of a combination of online lectures, computer based assessments and discussion forums. There are already multiple examples of how the MOOC format has been employed in medical education, but little research has been done to clarify whether the format is considered a desirable teaching modality from the student perspective. Our study explores the acceptability of the MOOC structure to a medical student audience in the United Kingdom by assessing the feedback from a trial MOOC run by the UK Medical Student’s Association (UKMSA). Methods: The UKMSA designed and delivered a MOOC covering various medical and surgical topics between February and November 2014. We provided an online feedback form that asked participants to evaluate the presenters, the content and structure of the lecture, and the overall quality of the teaching. Results: 252 students attended the MOOC lectures. 68 feedback forms were collected, providing a response rate of 27%. All students agreed that material was pitched at an appropriate level, and 99% agreed that the material was relevant to their training. Over 90% of students agreed that there was a clear introduction, that the material was well organised, that the aims and objectives were clear, and that there was a clear summary and conclusion. All students agreed that the presenters appeared well informed and enthusiastic, and over 95% agreed that the presentation was informative and delivered at an appropriate pace. 67 of 68 attendees agreed that overall the teaching session was of high quality. Conclusions: We found that MOOCs were well accepted amongst our medical student cohort. MOOCs could be used to supplement traditional methods of learning in the undergraduate setting. They may offer an innovative, interactive and cost-effective way of addressing the learning needs of medical students.