Indian students set to benefit from Harvard varsity’s free online course

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on August 10, 2012 Published on August 10, 2012

As part of a new collaboration between Harvard University and MIT called EdX, a new introductory course, Quantitative Methods in Clinical and Public Health Research, will be offered online by the Harvard School of Public Health to students in India and around the world beginning in October 2012.

The course is an online adaptation of material from the Harvard School of Public Health’s classes in epidemiology and biostatistics and will be taught by two well-known faculty members of the School of Public Health.

Swati Piramal, Vice-Chairman, Piramal Enterprises, an alumna of the School of Public Health, said such a course would be a great opportunity for physicians in India.

Such courses offered by the new Harvard-MIT EdX initiative will be available to anyone in the world with an Internet connection, and in general, there will not be an admissions process, she added.

Going beyond the standard model of online education that relies on watching video content, this course would offer students an interactive experience.

“The lack of research curriculum in our medical training is a major shortcoming of India science. The country has over 9 lakh doctors but few are trained to be physician scientists. This is a glaring gap in our country,” she said.

Swati Piramal, who is a member of the Board of Dean’s Advisors at the Harvard School of Public Health and a member of the Board of Overseers for Harvard University added, “Providing medical doctors an introduction to the science of quantitative methods can be the first step to get more of our physicians to become top professionals in clinical research and become investigators for clinical trials.”

Though, clearly, more than a single course is needed to create highly qualified clinical investigators, an online course can be an initial step toward raising the standards of medical research, she said

To check out the three-month online course click on

Published on August 10, 2012
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