Many people have asked us why we don't charge at least a little. First, we (and, we believe, the courts) don't think that it's legal or ethical fair use to charge a student to access material that we've neither developed nor posted, and which has been posted by others for free. Second, we have seen other organizations try different (but always monetized) systems, and no one else has succeeded in offering what we do: accredited and free courses and degrees. And third, we've figured out how we can give it away, so why should we charge? (That's the .org in us :-)
Questions about courses and trainings
Anyone/Anywhere/Any time -- The first method of use is that anyone, anywhere can take these courses anytime they'd like. If you'd like a certificate of completion, you must have obtained the prior degree so we can feel confident that you would have the pre-requisites to understand the materials we're offering. So, for example, for our Master’s in Public Health, you need to produce a diploma for a Bachelor’s Degree or higher from a certified university.
A Student Enrolled in a University -- Individual students enrolled anywhere in the world can sign up to take the courses directly -- all of our trainings are certified by universities or specialty societies credentialed to offer courses. Alternatively, your institution can offer the course in part or in its entirety, including helping students identify local peers and mentors for the hands-on trainings. Many respected institutions around the world are doing just that with NextGenU.org, from the U.S. Walter Reed Army Medical Center (requiring NextGenU.org's Emergency Medicine training for senior medical students) to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (both in the U.S. and abroad). These trainings could be helpful for fundamentals (especially in developing countries) or for electives not available at your many schools (in both developing and industrialized countries) -- a full list of the offerings are *here*.
A Faculty Member or Dean at a Traditional University -- Maybe you are a Professor in or a Dean of a School of Medicine and you want to teach your students pre-clinical and clinical sciences, but you can't afford to hire another basic scientist or clinician for this purpose, or this hire wants/needs to spend most of their time researching and/or seeing patients (this is the situation faced by many institutions around the world). A NextGenU.org solution to this would be using our online trainings to teach facts and create significant interactions with an international community of mentors and peers interested in the course topic. Additionally, a university could identify local mentors and peers to help students acquire and practice skills, with scarce faculty members made available to answer higher-level questions.
A practitioner who'd like to learn more -- You may need to take continuing education for ongoing certification, or perhaps you'd like to grow professionally, but barriers like cost and time away from home and work always seem too high. NextGenU.org can allow you to train with a global community of peers anyplace there's a computer and at least occasional connectivity, and we provide a structure for local opportunities to observe and practice your skills with a mentor.
Perhaps there are other categories of learners we've missed? -- Please let us know how you use NextGenU.org (at QualitativeResearch@NextGenU.org). Whatever role you're in, it is worth noting that trainees should not be charged for using the openly posted learning materials that are the foundation of our free training, as this is likely not fair use of this openly posted intellectual property – but institutions may indeed charge for providing mentors and evaluation for full degrees.
- a link to and description of the course training, so they can see the components of it
- your work products, such as the required case study and multiple choice questions, and any other optional shared materials that you produce and authorize to share with them
- your evaluations -- the mentored-, self-, and peer-to-peer-assessments, and your final exam scores (with comparisons with the median scores of others at your level of training, and with everyone who's taken the course). In our prior work, NextGenU.org's faculty has supervised thousands of students using more traditional courses, clerkships, internships, and other "visiting rotations", and we feel confident that the metrics that NextGenU.org provides to home universities are far richer than the feedback schools typically get when faculty outside the home institutions provide some of their trainees' education. NextGenU.org can also provide final exams that your university could directly supervise your taking, and we can also videotape your taking the final exam and give other test use metrics (time/websites visited during the exam, etc.) to your home university (of course, all for free). We're also happy to hear requests from institutions for other metrics that would provide even more information about their students' performance. We suggest that, as with any course you take outside of your home institution, you check in early with your university to be sure they'll allow the credit, and that you emphasize the accredited cosponsoring organizations offering the course, and the multiple evaluation metrics you'll be giving your school so they can determine your level of effort and accomplishment.
- a copy of your certificate of completion, with the cosponsoring universities and other organizations listed.
- the silhouette of an apple for the teacher: the apple signifies health (traditional North American icons of education and health)
- a heart/love symbol, because NextGenU.org is the product of the enormous generosity of tens of thousands of smart, kind, eager people around the world, because we have warm senses of humor, and for many of the other attributes cited for the heart symbol here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heart_(symbol)
- an academic shield or a mortarboard (the hat worn at many formal graduation ceremonies)
- the biblical 10 commandments in silhouette (we told you it was quite a rich list!)
- the fullest expression of our name that we can fit in a small space (including the .org, because that's where our URL is, and that's where our philosophical foundation rests)
- the "bright green" colors that we use to denote intelligent and meaningful sustainability
What does our logo symbolize to you? Click here to tell us!
- Directly supervised at your home institution: If you give us the name, job title, and email address of a University official who wishes to proctor your exam, we will email them your test to have you complete it online under their supervision.
- Indirectly supervised anywhere: We can automatically generate multiple test validity metrics, including the amount of time taken for each question, other sites visited by your computer while you take the test, and a videotaped record of your test-taking.
- Self-assessment -- Students complete questionnaires that help them reflect on what they have learned and to help them (and us) more deeply learn from their experience in the course.
- Peer assessment -- Students interact with other students who are taking the same course. These peers may reside in the same geographic area; if this is the case, students may interact mainly in person. Regardless, students interact with others in the course via built-in real-time chat rooms, asynchronous forums, and other electronic media. Students will create, be peer assessed, and perform peer assessments on three multiple-choice questions and on other peer-reviewed activities for each course. As this is a competency-based system, students can re-do assignments until they pass all the criteria.
- Mentor assessment -- Except for basic science courses (where a mentor is optional), students interact with a mentor, ideally in person (although distance mentoring is acceptable if available and no one is available locally), completing learning activities, observing, and getting valuable hands-on experience. At the end of the course, mentors will fill out a standardized questionnaire about the students’ skills, knowledge, behavior, and attitudes.
- Objective knowledge assessment -- Students take quizzes throughout the course,along with a final multiple-choice exam at the end of the course. The content of the quizzes and final exam come directly from the learning materials student are asked to study as part of each competency.
Questions about mentors
Questions about peers
How can I help?
- What topic will the training address?
- Who are the likely learners, and why is this training needed?
- Who could do the work of identifying the online resources, designing the peer and mentored activities, and/or creating an initial bank of multiple-choice questions?
Peer-Reviewed Research on NextGenU.org
1. Galway L, Corbett K, Takaro T, Tairyan K, Frank E. (2014). A novel integration of online and flipped classroom instructional models in public health higher education. BMC Medical Education; 14:181. https://doi.org/10.1186/1472-6920-14-181
2. Coops N, Marcus J, Costrut I, Frank E, Kellett R, Mazzi E, Munro A, Nesbit S, Riseman A, Schultz A, Sipos Y. 2015. How an entry-level, interdisciplinary sustainability course revealed the benefits and challenges of a university-wide initiative for sustainability education. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education. 16:5:729-47. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/280731205_How_an_entry-level_interdisciplinary_sustainability_course_revealed_the_benefits_and_challenges_of_a_university-wide_initiative_for_sustainability_education
3. Clair V, Mutiso V, Musau A, Frank E, Ndetei D. 2016. Online learning improves substance use care in Kenya: Randomized control trial results and implications. Annals of Global Health. 2016 May 1;82(3):320-1. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/306351641_Online_learning_improves_substance_use_care_in_Kenya_Randomized_control_trial_results_and_implications
4. Frank E, Tairyan K, Everton M, Chu J, Goolsby C, Hayes A, Hulton A. (2016). A Test of the First Course (Emergency Medicine) that is Globally Available for Credit and for. Free. Healthcare. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2213076416300264?via%3Dihub
5. Nadkarni A, Weobong B, Weiss HA, et al. (2017). Counselling for Alcohol Problems (CAP), a lay counsellor-delivered brief psychological treatment for harmful drinking in men, in primary care in India: a randomised controlled trial. Lancet (London, England). 389(10065):186-195. https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(16)31590-2/fulltext
6. Patel V, Weobong B, Weiss HA, et al. (2017). The Healthy Activity Program (HAP), a lay counsellor-delivered brief psychological treatment for severe depression, in primary care in India: a randomised controlled trial. Lancet (London, England). 389(10065):176-185. https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(16)31589-6/fulltext
7. Rossa-Roccor, V, Malatskey, L, Frank, E. (2017). NextGenU.org’s Free, Globally Available Online Training in Lifestyle Medicine. American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine. 11. 132-133. https://doi.org/10.
8. Heller R, Madhok R, Frank E. (2018). Building Public Health Capacity through Online Global Learning. Open Praxis. https://openpraxis.org/index.php/OpenPraxis/article/view/746/427
9. Clair V, Rossa-Roccor V, Mokaya AG, Mutiso V, Musau A, Tele A, Ndetei D, Frank E. (2019). Peer and Mentored Enhanced Web-Based Training on Substance Use Disorders: A Promising Approach in Low-Resource Settings to Teach Knowledge and Skills and Decrease Stigma. Psychiatric Services. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31551043
10. Sian Tsuei, Frank E. (2019). Becoming a Health Advocate: An Interview with Erica Frank. https://ubcmj.med.ubc.ca/becoming-a-health-advocate-an-interview-with-erica-frank/