E-learning platforms and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are picking up momentum in popularity and are an emerging new model for education and training that delivers videotaped lectures and other course materials over the Internet for students and scientists at many different levels. These novel educational technologies do not only represent tools for learning, but they have the potential to become a catalyst for changing the whole education system.
MOOCs can come in the form of active course sessions with participant interaction, or as archived content for self-paced study. These courses can be free, or there can be a charge – either on a subscription basis or a one-time charge. Free MOOCs sometimes have a paid ‘verified certificate’ option at the end.
However, besides its benefits, MOOCs also face some challenges (e.g. Intellectual property issues, high drop-out rates, impeded discussions amongst participants) and time will tell how they will shape the future of higher education.
Some of the most popular MOOC platforms and E-learning course providers are:
Coursera, Epigeum, FutureLearn, edX, Iversity, Pluralsight, Khan Academy, Udemy, Udacity and Eliademy.
As there are now thousands of MOOCs available worldwide from different sources, we will summarize and update in this section relevant MOOCs and online courses, which are related to the area of data integrity, data analysis and Good Scientific Practice:
Coursera: Data Science Specialization
This course covers the concepts and tools needed throughout the entire data science pipeline, from asking the right kinds of questions to making inferences and publishing results. It is divided into 9 parts: The Data Scientist’s Toolbox, R Programming, Getting and Cleaning Data, Exploratory Data Analysis, Reproducible Research, Statistical Inference, Regression Models, Practical Machine Learning Developing Data Products.
Epigeum: Research Integrity
This course will ensure researchers understand their professional responsibilities. It provides practical advice on dealing with the complex issues that can arise while planning, conducting and reporting research. This programme is suitable for undergraduate, postgraduate and early-career researchers, covering every stage of the research process and is available in five faculty versions. Research Integrity can help universities meet funding agency requirements, such as providing evidence of training in the responsible conduct of research. As a result, universities can be confident their staff are working to the highest possible integrity standards.
This online course provides an introduction to Good Laboratory Practice. The course is divided into the following seven learning modules: The Good Laboratory Practice Quality System, The Good Laboratory Practice Test Facility, Test Facility Responsibilities, National Compliance Monitoring, The Good Laboratory Practice Study, Study Performance and Study Completion. Each learning module is around 30 minutes in duration and includes self assessment to confirm gained knowledge.
edX: Fundamentals of Clinical Trials
This course will provide an introduction to the scientific, statistical, and ethical aspects of clinical trials research. Topics include the design, implementation, and analysis of trials, including first-in-human studies (dose-finding, safety, proof of concept, and Phase I), Phase II, Phase III, and Phase IV studies. All aspects of the development of a study protocol will be addressed, including criteria for the selection of participants, treatments, and endpoints, randomization procedures, sample size determination, data analysis, and study interpretation. The ethical issues that arise at each phase of therapy development will be explored.