Coursera - The Science of Safety in Healthcare by Cheryl Dennison and Peter Pronovost

Krista Urchenko
Krista Urchenko

Krista is currently a Medical Laboratory Science student at The Michener Institute of Applied Health Sciences in Toronto, ON. She previously completed her Bachelor of Science in Microbiology at the University of Manitoba in 2011. She also blogs about her adventures as a woman in science at

I became interested in Coursera courses after seeing another blog post about someone who had taken a course on criminology. As a current student, I thought it would be interesting to compare the quality of learning in this course to what I learned at my school and hence ended up taking this course.

I was enrolled in The Science of Safety in Healthcare through Johns Hopkins University. The content provided was very well done - full of quality video lectures by the instructors and information about how to create positive change to better patient safety. They supplied videos by other lecturers too including nurses, physicians and allied professionals. I could tell a few were record at lectures for their Medical Students.

The course was short, only 5 weeks in length. This is a relatively ‘new’ field so there is a limited amount of theory and material available but is very important for patient advocacy and safety. It was a great way to refresh my prior knowledge from class and get other ideas and opinions from classmates and instructors.

Coursera Cheryl Dennison

There was a quiz and two peer assessments which made up the evaluation components. The quiz was available to be completed across the 5 weeks and was focused on the theory of the course. The two peer assessments were application based and involved creating plans on how to improve a mock hospitals policies based on a case study, as well as analyzing faults in their healthcare system. If you received 60 out of 80 or higher, you received a certificate of completion for the course.

Overall, I felt the course was well done. The lecture material provided enriched the course and the quality was above what I was expecting. I would definitely say it was on par with other college courses I have taken. I do have one word of caution that if you are taking Health Care related courses to avoid the discussion boards. I have taken 2 health care related courses now and both times there have been people with their own agenda trying to derail the discussions. I found it was best for my own sanity to stop checking them. If you do have questions there is an instructor area, which is typically heavily monitored where you can get accurate information about assignments.

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