Trauma will be the subject of online course

May 22, 2014 11:00 AM

Barri Bronston

Tulane University will soon go live with its first massive open online course (MOOC), but before it does, it wants students enrolled in a summer school class on trauma to test it out and provide feedback. 


This scene is from the video game called TraumaQuest, which will be part of the upcoming MOOC 1000: Trauma! course from Tulane University that is scheduled to go live on Oct. 6. (Image from Charles Figley)

MOOCs, a new trend in higher education, enable individuals worldwide to enroll free in classes that they otherwise would not have access to or be able to afford.

Charles Figley, social work professor and director of the Tulane Trauma Institute, developed the MOOC based on his book, Encyclopedia of Trauma. The course features video links, exam questions, readings, discussion questions and a video game called TraumaQuest. 

In the game, which simulates disaster and promotes resilience, students select quests that reinforce the course materials and progress through a series of challenges to better integrate the trauma concepts being taught in the course. 

First, input from Tulane students is crucial, Figley says. 

“These students will be the first to try out the MOOC online and discuss the application,” he says. “The students will be extremely important in providing feedback on how they experienced the MOOC and how to improve the course and game experience.”

Figley developed the MOOC with software engineer Gina Moylan. Other team members include Meredith Feike, a disaster anthropologist and the course’s academic lead, and project manager Natalie Baker. 

Figley says Michael Bernstein, Tulane provost, was instrumental in the project.

“He came up with the idea of my developing a MOOC that is unique, that helps Tulane stand out from the pack.” 

Feike says the university’s culture of public service makes its first MOOC on trauma “remarkably appropriate. It will empower students around the world to mitigate traumatic experience in their own lives and communities.”

Only Tulane students can register for the summer course, Trauma! A Hybrid Survey Course (20615, SOWK-1000-01). It starts July 1 and runs through July on Tuesdays from 2 p.m. until 5 p.m.

Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000