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End of Time at U of M – Regrets? (Open Courseware)

July 19, 2017

In my previous post End of Time at U of M – Regrets?, I mentioned that I had planned to take a health analytics course and mentioned what a cool idea it was. You’re thinking this doesn’t sound so cool but, I assure you, it is. Please read on…

On-line Courseware
First of all, some of you don’t realize this, but there is a lot of on-line courseware available and at no cost. I’ve seen courses where you can also pay modest fees to get a class certificate to show that you took a course and passed its exercises, quizaes and tests, or you can actually pay full price and take it as an accredited class to go toward a degree.

The most famous is probably OCW (Open CourseWare) from MIT but many, many other schools have them, as well. They’re called MOOC (Massive Open On-line Course). University of Michigan has these, as well.

U of M Health Analytics
So, let me return to the story – my work group asked if we’d like to take a health analytics course together. We would get a conference room, probably scheduled over lunch since we would have to do it on our own time, and would take the on-line course, together. This way we could have topical discussions, work on homework together, that sort of thing. Here is the course:
Data Science and Predictive Analytics (UMich HS650)

In my previous post, I did mention that some of this was the basis for my early career. And I was quite excited for this opportunity to be part of the group because, after all, if you wait long enough, opportunity finally comes to you, doesn’t it?  😉

The Outcome
But you now also know the story that I won’t be around for this group’s venture into health analytics. However, it’s a free course and I’m actually quite excited to see what I can do with it. I plan to at least start it and see how things go. After all, it could be fun, right? (says the person with a math degree)

But the reason I’m writing this is encourage all of you who want to take a course, don’t have the time or money to take it on a college campus, and have colleagues that have a similar interest to do it as a group learning. It could be fun and, if you doubt you can do it on your own, this would be a great way to see if you can accomplish it and possibly have some help.

I mentioned this Health Analytics course but when you get out into the on-line courses, you’ll find just multitudes of things from which to select and in many, many categories.

Any Reader’s Done This?
If any of you have done this at your organization, please speak-up. I haven’t yet run across anyone else doing this, together, but if you have, it might be interesting to hear what course you did this with and any details around the experience.

Gloria Metrick
GeoMetrick Enterprises

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Marc permalink
    July 19, 2017 8:39 am

    I have done it at MGH. Analytics is basically what was data mining, but with a new name. Some of it was interesting, there were a few exceptional cases that the doctors involved wanted to search old records for cases that started the same or were similar, test results, treatments and outcomes. The worst part of healthcare DB work, many of the DBs are object relational DBs – very fast at transactions, VERY SLOW with querying.

  2. July 19, 2017 8:52 am

    One of the topics I see listed in this course is “Optimization of Computation” and I’m hoping this will focus on the efficiency you mention.

    I saw a triangular diagram that described which databases are best used for various applications (I can’t remember if the issues are transactions, querying, and security because I now can’t find it) but, even if you know you could improve one or the other, that’s probably fine if you’re building something new but, as you’re saying, these are DBs already in-place and it’s probably a situation where you have to leave them as they are rather than finding the optimal database environment to serve all the purposes.

  3. July 19, 2017 10:17 pm

    Gloria, thanks for posting this. I did not know about MOOC and I went and explored around. It is a goldmine of courses. Absolutely fabulous. MOOC aggregates open courseware from open source courseware apps like moodle or edX. I searched the word LIMS on MOOC and it came up with nothing. I searched Informatics and came up with this:

    I think there is an opportunity for those with a vested interest to create open courseware on LIMS and Lab Informatics. It works for so many other disciplines and it helps promote the profession.

  4. July 20, 2017 7:57 am

    John, I felt about the same way you did, I think – I was totally blown-away when I started seeing what was available.

    But I’ll warn people looking for them that they aren’t necessarily called MOOC, so it can be a bit of work to find them. As I mentioned, MIT calls theirs OCW (Open Courseware). I actually don’t know what University of Michigan calls theirs because the course I mentioned is listed under SOCR but that’s the “Statistics Online Computational Resource” not the open courseware listing, per se.

  5. July 21, 2017 9:25 am

    Here is a video I found that explains nicely what particularly a MOOC is:

    Apparently it is far more than just a course. It is a collaborative learning experience. For me that is better than simply a course. When I was in college, that is how all of us engineering learned. We worked collaboratively on assignments and helped each other with our work. We learned a lot and were highly engaged. We spent hours in the lab well past midnight doing our own experiments. I wish the internet had existed as it does today when I was in school.


  1. End of Time at U of M – Regrets? (I’m Still Glad I Did It?) | Out on a LIMS®: The Blog For People Who Risk Life and LIMS™ on a Daily Basis

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