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Peer Review

The History of Public Health

by Graham Mooney


Overall Numeric Rating:

4.5 stars
Content Quality: 4.5 stars
Effectiveness: 4.5 stars
Ease of Use: 4.5 stars
Reviewed: Oct 16, 2008 by Health Sciences
Overview: Through Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health OpenCourseWare, this online lecture series and materials listing offers a detailed overview of the history of public health from 1700 through the mid-2000's. The learning material was designed as a college level course and includes MP3 audio files, lecture notes, and reading assignments.
Type of Material: The learning resource is classified as an online course. The materials are consistent with college level course work and are offered at no cost without college credit. There is an option for students who wish to receive college credit. The lectures are MP3 audio files and are available on the web at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
Recommended Uses: This material could be used:
  • As a supplementary learning tool for individuals interested in the evolution of public health practice and policy.
  • As a study resource for students taking courses in public health history.
  • Supplementary learning resource for high school history students or college level nursing or history students covering particular time frames or topics.
Technical Requirements: A broadband Internet connection, web browser, and audio capabilities are required. As stated in the lecture series section of the site, "Lecture files for this course are provided in .mp3 format. Users will need an MP3 Player (iTunes, Windows Media Player, RealPlayer, etc.) to listen to them. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License. Your use of this material constitutes acceptance of that license and the conditions of use of materials on this site."
Identify Major Learning Goals: The stated objective of the course maintains that, upon completion, the course taker ". . . will be able to examine public health through its historical context and use this information in the evaluation of current public health issues." After completing the online course the learner should be able to:
  • Discuss the forces which helped to shape the public health system.
  • Discuss the societal influences that created the current health system.
Target Student Population: This material is recommended for upper level undergraduate and graduate students in the healthcare or public policy fields. Some of the learning resources may be appropriate for high school students.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: College level reading ability is recommended.

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 4.5 stars
Strengths: Provides broad overview of public health history without becoming overwhelming in detail. The learning resource is easily accessed.
Concerns: Students who access this online course may be mistaken, believing that they are accessing a "watered_down" Internet version of the information, when in fact, they are getting a college course with quality learning resources.

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 4.5 stars
Strengths: This tool would be very good as a supplementary learning tool for graduate students and some undergraduate students studying history or policy making in regard to public health. This tool would also prove useful for individuals wishing to learn more about the more modern history (1700 to near present) of public health or gain historical perspective on current public health issues. The course could be very effective as part of a continuing education program or as an adjunct to professional education for nursing or public health providers.
Concerns: The depth of the information covered may prove daunting to individuals without public health backgrounds who approach the tool with a desire to receive simply a basic overview.

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 4.5 stars
Strengths: The files are easily accessed and played on most computing systems. This course requires no additional software or expertise from the students. There are a limited number of file formats required for access to the learning materials. The tool is designed in a simple, straight forward manner.
Concerns: While navigation of the tool is simple, individuals must click through several links on the main navigation bar before accessing the heart of the tool which is the lectures section. In addition, individuals not having adequate sound capabilities on their computer or individuals with hearing impairments who do not have software capable of making the verbal content accessible will not be able to use the site.

Other Issues and Comments: Overall, level of information provided is excellent.