Friday, November 16, 2018

Renowned Alzheimer’s researcher creates online course at UTSA

Renowned Alzheimer’s researcher creates online course at UTSA

(July 24, 2017) -- George Perry, the Semmes Foundation University Chair in Neurobiology and dean of the College of Sciences at The University of Texas at San Antonio, has created a massive open online course (MOOC) focusing on the progression of Alzheimer’s disease from molecular and genetic perspectives.

Perry is one of the most prolific Alzheimer’s disease researchers in the United States and is the 10th most cited Alzheimer’s disease researcher in the world. His new course is one of the first of its kind.

“This is a great opportunity for an undergraduate or graduate student to gain a baseline knowledge of Alzheimer’s disease,” Perry said.

The MOOC was created in collaboration with the UTSA Office of Online Learning and the Video Production Group under the UTSA Office of Information Technology. It allow students to explore the history of Alzheimer’s disease and identify the major scholars who contributed to the advancement of the research in addition to helping them understand the correlation between clinical disease, morphologic changes and molecular pathways. Also, students will learn to identify the contribution of healthy lifestyle habits to prevent or delay the development of the disease.

The top-tier course is free of charge and available online. It consists of a variety of audio-visual lessons to appeal to several different learning styles. Perry will open the lessons through short videos to provide an overview of the knowledge about to be imparted. Students may earn a passing grade by scoring 80% or higher on their quizzes.

“We want to increase literacy on the issue,” said Perry. “To do that, we knew we had to work with a wider audience, and that meant going online.”

The course is crafted to give undergraduate and graduate students a strong understanding of neurodegenerative disease. It also works effectively as an introduction to brain health research, which has a home at UTSA in several institutes including the UTSA Neurosciences Institute, the San Antonio Cellular Therapeutics Institute, the South Texas Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases, the Center for Innovative Drug Discovery and the Institute for Health Disparities Research.

Additionally, Perry designed the course with frequent collaborator Rudy J. Castellani, professor of pathology at the University of Maryland at Baltimore to be useful to the medical community. Medical professionals treating Alzheimer’s patients could benefit greatly from the course by gaining a greater understand of the disease as well as neurodegenerative diseases in general, he said.

The course launches on August 28 through edX, a massive open online course provider created by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University. Online enrollment is open now.

- Joanna Carver

Learn more about brain health research at UTSA.

Learn more about George Perry.

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