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Published on 19 November 2014

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Global education programme to tackle antimicrobial resistance

The University of Dundee, working in collaboration with the British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy (BSAC), is set to offer its first Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) after signing a partnership agreement with the FutureLearn platform.

The University of Dundee, working in collaboration with the British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy (BSAC), is set to offer its first Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) after signing a partnership agreement with the FutureLearn platform.

MOOCs are web-based, free-access learning courses that offer university-level courses. Dundee and BSAC’s first course will be on antimicrobial stewardship – a global education programme for healthcare professionals. The eight-week course will launch on FutureLearn in September 2015, and will be repeated regularly. Learners can register their interest in the first run of the course from today – https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/antimicrobial-stewardship

The announcement of this project in advance of European Antibiotic Awareness Day on 18 November reinforces the need for urgent action to reduce antibiotic resistance through education of healthcare professionals, patients and public. The World Health Organisation identifies antimicrobial stewardship as one of the most important key interventions in combating antimicrobial resistance, a global problem that is increasingly affecting healthcare professionals’ ability to treat infections – both common and complex.

The free Antimicrobial Stewardship course on FutureLearn will enable healthcare professionals to understand what stewardship is and how it can be applied in practice. Participants will interact with colleagues globally and develop skills that will support responsible prescribing, improve infection control practices and improve patient outcomes within their own specific health care locality. The course is designed to meet the needs of practitioners across the globe in differing healthcare system and settings.

Karl Leydecker, Vice-Principal for Learning & Teaching at the University said this “Our purpose as a University is to transform lives locally and globally, and a MOOC centred on a global healthcare issue such as antimicrobial resistance and antibiotic use, is one way we can do that.” He continued “This is an exciting development for the University and we are already working on offering further courses with FutureLearn.

Simon Nelson, Chief Executive of FutureLearn said, “I’m delighted that in welcoming the University of Dundee to the FutureLearn partnership, we can also offer a platform to connect healthcare professionals around the world to discuss the critical issue of antibacterial resistance, and to disseminate vital information from the University and BSAC. This course will be an important addition to our growing portfolio of healthcare courses and we look forward to working with the University and bodies like the BSAC to create more topical programmes for our global community of learners.

Professor Dilip Nathwani, President Elect of BSAC, Honorary Professor of Infection at the University of Dundee and Consultant Physician in NHS Tayside said “Free online courses offer an innovative way to educate healthcare professionals across the globe on the issue of antimicrobial resistance and how we can best tackle it, including making better and more effective use of antibiotics – the concept of antimicrobial stewardship. A training faculty comprising experts from different professional societies and organisations internationally will develop the course, and this diversity of experience and skills will ensure we address both generic and local training needs. We want to deliver a multifaceted and interactive course that aims to meet the needs of a broad range of healthcare professionals and policy makers that will be free at the point of access.” He continued:
I am delighted to be participating in a debate at Scottish Parliament on 18 November. Hosted by Jim Eadie MSP and organised by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society in Scotland the debate ‘New Antibiotics, Better Antibiotics, Better Use of Antibiotics’ offers a perfect opportunity to speak about the importance of global education such as this MOOC will deliver.

Tracey Guise, Chief Executive Officer for the British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, said “The Society is delighted to be collaborating with Dundee in the development of this landmark course on FutureLearn. We have been aware for a long time that there are a lot of institutions investing time, energy and expertise in delivering education on antimicrobial resistance to their local communities. The MOOC will harness this expertise and produce a global course, allowing local resources to be directed at delivering stewardship programmes rather than designing and continually updated them. We see this as a resource that has the potential to offer significant improvements in global healthcare.

Professor Peter Davey, Lead for Clinical Quality Improvement in the University’s Medical School said, “This course will help deliver examples of best practice to an international audience, particularly those involved in healthcare or with prescribing responsibilities, but also for those in the general public who simply want to learn more about the issues.



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