14 December 2016

New Coursera course ‘Diabetes – the Essential Facts’


A unique collaboration between the School of Global Health and Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research has led to a new Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on diabetes, this time targeting a global public audience.

Scientists, on a daily basis far from each other, are working on very different aspects of diabetes, from microbiology to global public health. What ties them all together is the belief that there is a global responsibility to combat diabetes, and this fight can only be won through new knowledge and global awareness.

“We think that combatting diabetes needs not only to be driven by scientists and doctors but as well by the wider society. Following this course the learners will get an overview of diabetes and related co-morbidities such as obesity and infectious diseases,” says one of the initiators to the course, Associated Professor Signe Sørensen Torekov.

A threat to public health

Across the world more than 420 million people are living with diabetes. Two thirds of these have not yet been diagnosed. When discovered late or managed incorrectly, diabetes can damage your heart, blood vessels, eyes, kidneys, and nerves, leading to disability and premature death.

“This free course is for anyone interested in diabetes and offers global perspectives on diabetes in the context of improved prevention and treatment. Furthermore, we will highlight the importance of risk factors other than obesity such as infectious diseases like tuberculosis, malaria and HIV but also low birth weight and malnutrition. ” says MD Nicolai Wewer Albrechtsen, who introduces the course online and who applied for the initial funding from European Institute for Innovation and Technology, EIT Health.

A brand new MOOC format

The three-week course ‘Diabetes – the Essential Facts’ is produced by SUND’s Centre for Online and Blended Learning in a new MOOC format. Rather than being based on video lectures as traditional MOOCs, this time learners in this course are met by health journalist Richard Steed who presents the complex aspects of diabetes and explores the latest evidence and up-to-date research through interviews with a wide range of diabetes scientists.

“We have developed this format, a blend of video interview and narration, from a believe that the learners, and specifically the broader group this course is targeted towards, will perceive this type of educational videos as more natural, vivid and engaging than the typical ‘talking-head’ videos we see from most universities,” says Anne-Marie Mosbech, Head of Centre for Online and Blended Learning.

Among the course contributors are Professor Sir Steve Bloom from Imperial College London, Professor K.M Venkat from Emory University, Atlanta, Professor Arne Astrup from Science and from SUND Professor’s Ib Bygbjerg, Juleen Zierath, Torben Hansen, Jens Jul Holst and Associate Professor’s Dirk Lund Christensen and Signe Sørensen Torekov.

‘Diabetes – the Essential Facts’ is open for pre-enrolment and will go live on the Coursera online platform from the 16th December 2016.

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UCPH’s MOOC Unit who has produced Diabetes – the Essential Facts, is hosted at SUND's Centre for Online and Blended Learning (COBL).

Coursera is the leading global platform for Massive Open Online Courses, MOOCs.

The University of Copenhagen became a Coursera partner institution in February 2013 and has to date produced 12 MOOCs, thereof five from SUND.

Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research
School of Global Health
Centre for Online and Blended Learning
EIT Health