|LETTER TO EDITOR
|Year : 2016 | Volume
| Issue : 3 | Page : 127-128
Strengthening clinical research education in India: The massive open online course
Ganesh Singh Dharmshaktu1, Tanuja Pangtey2
1 Department of Orthopaedics, Government Medical College, Haldwani, Uttarakhand, India
2 Department of Pathology, Government Medical College, Haldwani, Uttarakhand, India
|Date of Web Publication||24-Nov-2016|
Ganesh Singh Dharmshaktu
Department of Orthopaedics, Government Medical College, Haldwani 263 139, Uttarakhand
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
|How to cite this article:|
Dharmshaktu GS, Pangtey T. Strengthening clinical research education in India: The massive open online course. Digit Med 2016;2:127-8
Indian medical education system, as a matter of fact, is neglectful of teaching the basics of clinical research methodology and its appreciation. No wonder, the Indian medical research scenario is overburdened by shoddy publications lacking depth and possibility of significant clinical implication to society at large. The standard is further compromised in the event of a large number of alluring and "predatory" platforms. The rational appraisal of a research work is an art that is nurtured under the guidance of seasoned and worthy teachers and comes through patient learning over the years. Lack of able guidance is leading young researchers shun painstaking hardship of pursuing pure research. Most publish for the sake of desired eligibility for promotion while one can become thought leader in the backdrop of a large number of cases and research opportunities available in our country. Similarly, the dismal representation in the medical innovation, patents, and new invention underlines the hurdle of delivering research outcome to bedside. Inclusive clinical research education in the undergraduate and postgraduate curriculum is desirable but seems distant dream as of now.
Massive open online courses (MOOCs) are new age web platforms providing anytime education and are increasingly becoming popular. MOOC usually follows model of short modules of online courses on various topics and is free with user-friendly interface. These courses can be used for value addition in selected area of interest at the convenience of user through widely popular platforms such as Coursera, EdX, Stanford online, Academic Earth etc. There are some articles pertaining to clinical research education, for example, 14 modules under the category of "clinical science" under "Life Sciences" section in Coursera among others.  A recent search under headings "medicine and health care" in same platform reveals about 64 of related courses. The courses cover various topics including those pertaining to clinical research and categorized into many subdivisions such as methodology, basic statistics, data interpretation, understanding systematic review, and meta-analysis. Preliminary observations suggest that more and more scholars are either enrolled or have completed courses on clinical research and it clearly shows an unmet need. Most of the courses have been found to be useful to young researchers including postgraduates in their medical training. 
More and more scholars should create and publish their courses that suit the sensibility and work ethos of our country and that specifically answer problems and queries of researchers here. Besides it, better promotion of these courses is needed for larger penetration aiming the benefit of most students if not all. Many leading universities such as Harvard Medical School, John Hopkins, Stanford are leading in offering MOOC on various aspects of health and other topics. The coming times will see improved courses in variety and content which may be recognized and curated by leading universities or centers of excellences. Every thoughtful scholar should propagate and prescribe suitable course of high quality as refresher course on clinical research for a sound foundation of knowledge and aptitude.
A study in Indian context concludes that most of the resident doctors require proper training for better clinical research but the lack of facilities or time is major constraint.  MOOC, in this regard, may come handy as the knowledge is available at the suitable time. A well-structured course for clinical professionals and online training modules for Ethics Committee members is advocated by thought leaders for a good foundation of clinical research future of the country.  Overall, it seems a welcome trend, however, juvenile in its current stage, and promises a medium worth utilization by appropriate authorities to imbibe it within contemporary education.
Financial support and sponsorship
Conflicts of interest
There are no conflicts of interest.
| References|| |
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