CME Credits Now Available for UCSF's Online Courses

By Kevin Eisenmann

Massive Open Online Courses – known as MOOCs screenshot

UC San Francisco has started offering continuing medical education credits for select Massive Open Online Courses – known as MOOCs – making it among the first universities in the nation to do so.

“We are thrilled to provide health care professionals from throughout the nation and world, with a new opportunity to access online UCSF courses that offer continuing medical education credit,” said Joseph I. Castro, PhD, vice chancellor for UCSF Student Academic Affairs. “This is the beginning of many exciting new online education initiatives planned by UCSF over the coming months and years.”

In the U.S., health care professionals are required by the state in which they practice to earn a minimum number of continuing medical education credits each year. Such training helps clinicians maintain competency and learn about new and developing areas within their fields. California requires at least 50 hours of training every two years. UCSF has been identifying ways to provide such credit for its MOOC’s hosted by Coursera, a company that offers coursework online.

Last July, the University partnered with Coursera in an effort to explore the growing market for online education and offer top-rated health science education for free to anyone who sought it. UCSF is among the nation’s premier health sciences campuses and world-renowned for educational excellence and commitment to reaching underserved populations throughout the world.

In a pilot run, more than 30 people registered for credits in the online UCSF School of Nursing course “Nutrition for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention.” That course was worth 14 credit hours through the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), and 14 credit hours for registered dieticians and registered dietetic technicians through the Commission on Dietetic Registration.

The upcoming UCSF School of Medicine course “Clinical Problem Solving,” taught by Catherine Lucey, MD, vice dean of education in the UCSF School of Medicine, also will offer continuing education credits through ACCME, though the credit amount has yet to be determined. The deadline for enrollment in “Clinical Decision Making” is Friday, Feb. 22. Students will receive information about registering for education credit after enrolling in the class.

A prerequisite to earning education credits includes enrolling in Coursera’s verification program, Signature Track. Signature Track is a program that securely links coursework to the student’s identity so that they may earn a verified certificate of completion.

Although all Coursera courses are available at no cost, there are additional fees for Signature Track and CME credits. Students must also complete the class with a passing grade of 70 percent or higher.

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