Bioinformatics Class Becomes Online Open Course Pilot

This fall, a new “Big Data, Genes and Medicine” course represented Oswego’s pilot project in the evolving world of mass open online courses (MOOCs) while preparing learners for an in-demand job field.

Isabelle Bichindaritz of the college’s computer science department taught the bioinformatics course, which supports an academic area that has a large unmet need at the intersection of health care, information technology and big data. The course provided training in analyzing medical data and created e-portfolios that document the skills of students.

The initiative worked with Coursera, an official partner with the SUNY system. Oswego was among the pioneers for the launch of the degree-oriented online learning platform Open SUNY in 2014 with its online MBA and MBA in health services administration programs. The college continues to look at new ways to deliver engaging, high-quality resources to motivated learners seeking these courses or content.

While not meant to replace or replicate a traditional undergraduate or graduate experience, MOOCs can offer an alternative for people who find location a barrier and can serve as a gateway into the traditional academic programs.

Oswego offers online graduate certificate programs in health information technology and integrated health systems, and has submitted a proposal to the state Education Department for a master’s program in biomedical and health informatics. SUNY Oswego also is creating a Biomedical and Health Informatics Research and Educational Lab, in collaboration with other SUNY partners and funded by a $1.4 million SUNY 2020 award.

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