14-18 March 2016
Hotel Novotel
Africa/Dakar timezone
Enabling Virtual Research and Education Communities

Experiences from an Online Educational Program in Public Health: Peoples-uni

17 Mar 2016, 17:00
Saly 1 (Hotel Novotel)

Saly 1

Hotel Novotel

Avenue Abdoulaye Fadiga, Dakar 18524, Senegal
Online Teaching and Learning PLENARY SESSION III – Paper Presentations


Mrs Sophia Osawe (People’s Open Access Education Initiative, Peoples-uni, UK, Institute of Human Virology, Abuja, Nigeria)


**Background** Public Health deals with combined efforts to promote a healthy population, prolong life and prevent a population from diseases. People's Open Access Education Initiative: Peoples-uni (Pu) was established to build capacity in public health in low-income and middle-income countries. Being a full online program, it gives students around the world the opportunity to study and attain postgraduate qualifications in public health. Providing this capacity, can lead to improvements in the health sector of these countries. **Methodology** Pu offers courses in “Foundation Sciences of Public Health” and “Public health Problems” and gives students the opportunity to enroll twice a year. The courses are designed to run through 5 topics in 10-12 weeks. Tutors are volunteers and Pu alumni, frequently volunteers are with full time teaching positions in different international institutions. The learning environment is built around Moodle and other open source tools for student administration. I have been an alumnus for almost 3 years now and volunteer as a tutor and student support officer. The online forum makes learning flexible and gave me personally the chance to work and school simultaneously. **Experiences** Pu has kept interactions with students that have graduated using an online alumni group; an interactive forum used to share information on further studies, collaborations and other opportunities. I was given the opportunity to volunteer as a tutor being the first set of graduates of the MPH program, collaboration between Pu and Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU). I have learnt how to effectively interact with students and make discussion forums more interactive. It was important to keep in mind that there are students from different countries and languages and learn at different paces. Being an online course, support for students was also very important; Pu introduced Student Support Officer (SSO) in 2013. As a SSO I have supported students through their studies, guiding them to useful materials and observing their progress. Students have always provided positive feedbacks in terms of the reading materials, interactions and coordination during the modules. Success stories have been in the areas of collaborative studies and publications by tutors and alumni. **The Role for NREN** The National Research and Education Networks (NRENs) can do more to support the community to deliver sustainable capacity building frameworks. The Tanzania Education and Research Network (TERNET) is driving a collaboration with Pu and other stakeholders to facilitate mass training and this is expected to make an impact on public health capacity in Tanzania, especially with the emphasis on critical thinking and on an evidence based approach. The central idea is working with Pu tutors to accredit the programme through partnership with the local health science training university. This proposal will be sent to the Human Development Innovation Fund, a UK-Aid funded project in Tanzania. **Conclusion** Pu has created an excellent platform for learning and capacity building. I have had the opportunity to interact with other tutors and students and learn from their experiences in the public health field. There are many ideas that can be shared in this forum and opportunities for multi country collaborations. The world is growing through technology and the Internet has given us many ways to pass information faster and efficiently.


The abstract submitted describes experiences from a public health online educational platform that reaches out to students all over the world who are interested in public health.

Primary author

Mrs Sophia Osawe (People’s Open Access Education Initiative, Peoples-uni, UK, Institute of Human Virology, Abuja, Nigeria)


Mr Amos Nungu (Tanzanian Research and Education Network (TERNET), Tanzania) Mr Omo Oaiya (People’s Open Access Education Initiative, Peoples-uni, UK)

Presentation Materials