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Curriculum Update

Chicago schools' first MOOC covers health care careers

Massive open online course connects students to different health professions

In partnership with Northwestern University, Chicago Public Schools has been offering its first-ever MOOC—or massive open online course—to the district’s high school students.

The course, called “Career 911: Your Future Job in Medicine and Healthcare,” aims to introduce students to the health care job field.

Comprised of six modules, the course not only connects students to different health care professions, it also imparts skills relevant for any career, including resume and cover letter writing, job search, interviewing and networking.

Along with live-taught online lessons, “Career: 911” includes lecture videos, videos of personal stories from health care professionals about experiences on the job, a resource toolkit with links to explore topics in greater depth like and discussion boards so that students interested in the field can connect and discuss projects.

More than 50 online guests and lecturers online, including faculty from Northwestern’s Feinberg School of Medicine, are also a part of the course.

“We aim to plant the seed of possibility and lay the groundwork for underrepresented and nontraditional students to translate their life experiences and talent into marketable skills relevant to the health care workforce,” says course author Melissa Simon, professor and vice chair of clinical research at Northwestern.

The course was first offered at Chicago Public Schools in April 2015. It runs for 13 weeks at a time and high school students are expected to complete three to five hours of work per week through the course.

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