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Using Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) to help with end of life

Using education to cope with end of live, for personal & professional growth

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Harry Smith has seized every opportunity to learn—whether for personal growth or professional advancement—during his fifty-year career. Now, facing a life-changing cancer diagnosis, he turns to Coursera for joy, community, and a connection to the top-tier university experience he’s always dreamed of. 

“I want to learn new things because that’s what brings joy to my life,” says Harry. “And I want to interact with others who feel the same way. Coursera takes me to a place where there is no illness, no pain, no fear, and no frustration, sometimes for an hour, sometimes for a whole day. It is always time well spent.”

Text from Coursera's Digital Storytelling YouTube video

Figure By Mathieu Plourde {(Mathplourde on Flickr) -, CC BY 2.0,

What is a provocation or insight that might inspire others during this challenge?

Most of us will be educating ourselves constantly to keep up with employment trends. MOOC courses are transforming access to education, and in turn, lives. How can we use MOOC as a platform for education - be it educating medical professionals about communication or patients about their EOL legal and financial rights?


Learner Story: Coping with Cancer through a Love of Learning Coursera - Published on Apr 20, 2016


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Shoshana Ungerleider - I am interested in hearing your thoughts on the viability/challenges for MOOC courses in medical education?
Disclosure:  I co-delivered an executive education program on patient experience to healthcare leaders. Through the education projects, I see a sustainability opportunity to marry consulting and learning via MOOC courses - e.g.  integrating a real-life problem with the education piece. Most not-for-profit organizations may not be able to afford executive education curriculum, and a MOOC course could be one way of integrating talent training with operations.