Global education programme to tackle antimicrobial resistance


University of Dundee set to offer its first Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) in partnership with FutureLearn

The University of Dundee, in collaboration with the British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy (BSAC), is set to offer its first Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) after signing a partnership agreement with the FutureLearn platform.

MOOCs are free learning courses on the Internet that offer university-level training. Dundee and BSAC’s first course will be on antimicrobial stewardship – a global education programme for healthcare professionals. The eight-week course will launch on FutureLearn, a private company wholly owned by The Open University, in September 2015, and will be repeated regularly. Interested parties can now register their interest in the first run of the course.

The announcement of this project in advance of European Antibiotic Awareness Day on 18 November reinforces the need for urgent action to reduce antibiotic resistance through education of healthcare professionals, patients and public. The World Health Organization identifies antimicrobial stewardship as one of the most important key interventions in combating antimicrobial resistance, a global problem that is increasingly affecting healthcare professionals’ ability to treat infections.

Free online courses offer an innovative way to educate healthcare professionals

This MOOC will enable healthcare professionals to understand what stewardship is and how it can be applied in practice. Participants will interact with colleagues globally and develop skills that will support responsible prescribing, improve infection control practices and improve patient outcomes within their locality. The course is designed to meet the needs of practitioners across the globe in differing healthcare system and settings.

Karl Leydecker, Vice-Principal for Learning & Teaching at Dundee University, said: 'Our purpose as a university is to transform lives locally and globally, and a MOOC centred on a global healthcare issue such as antimicrobial resistance and antibiotic use, is one way we can do that.'

He continued: 'This is an exciting development for the University and we are already working on offering further courses with FutureLearn.'

Professor Dilip Nathwani, President Elect of BSAC, Honorary Professor of Infection at the University of Dundee and Consultant Physician in NHS Tayside, added: 'Free online courses offer an innovative way to educate healthcare professionals across the globe on the issue of antimicrobial resistance and how we can best tackle it, including making better and more effective use of antibiotics – the concept of antimicrobial stewardship.

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'The course will be developed by a training faculty comprising experts from different professional societies and organisations internationally, and this diversity of experience and skills will ensure we address both generic and local training needs. We want to deliver a multifaceted and interactive course that aims to meet the needs of a broad range of healthcare professionals and policymakers that will be free at the point of access.'