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April 15, 2016

Introduction to Dental Medicine MOOC Starts May 2

Left to right: Course developers and teachers Dr. Eric Stoopler, Associate Professor of Oral Medicine; Dr.  Uri Hangorsky, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Student Life; and Dr.Thomas Sollecito, Professor and Chair of Oral Medicine.

Left to right: Course developers and teachers Dr. Eric Stoopler, Associate Professor of Oral Medicine; Dr. Uri Hangorsky, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Student Life; and Dr.Thomas Sollecito, Professor and Chair of Oral Medicine.

Philadelphia — The mouth is the window into human health and through Penn Dental Medicine’s upcoming MOOC (massive open online course), Introduction to Dental Medicine, participants will be able to understand more fully the ways in which the oral cavity functions and what affect that has on the rest of the body. The course is scheduled to run May 2 – June 26 through Penn’s Online Learning Initiative and its partner, Coursera. The widely popular course debuted last June, attracting 8,656 enrollments and 5,742 active learners worldwide and putting it among the top performers among Penn’s Coursera courses for engaging active learners.

The course covers a full range of topics within dental medicine, starting from basic concepts and proceeding to review trends in current research and technology. For this upcoming session, the course content has been enhanced with four new topics – fluoridation, a typical visit to the dentist, local anesthesia, and the oral implications of disease. These new areas are supplementing the full content of the original course.

Along with those individuals contemplating a career in dentistry, a key target audience for the course is health-care professionals working in fields outside dental medicine. “By taking this course, our hope was that other health-care professionals will be able to better integrate dental health with the overall health of their patients,” says Dr. Uri Hangorsky, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Student Life, who developed and teaches the course with Dr. Thomas Sollecito, Professor and Chair of Oral Medicine, and Dr. Eric Stoopler, Associate Professor of Oral Medicine.

In addition to the lectures of Drs. Hangorsky, Sollecito, and Stoopler, case studies and lectures on various areas of dental specialties are presented by Dr. Markus Blatz, Professor and Chair of Preventive & Restorative Sciences; Dr. Bekir Karabucak, Associate Professor and Interim Chair of Endodontics; Dr. Helen Giannakopoulos, Associate Professor of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery; Dr. Sam Kadan, Clinical Associate, Dept. of Orthodontics; Dr. Eva Anadioti, Assistant Professor of Clinical Restorative Dentistry; and Dr. Joan Gluch, Professor of Clinical Community Oral Health. Recent Penn Dental Medicine graduates Arturo Lobell (GD’15) and Matt Paradisgarten (D’15, GED’15), as well as current DMD student Katherine France (D’16) also contributed to the course.

One of the key goals of the course is to break down misconceptions about the field of dental medicine and begin to paint a more complete picture of its integral role in overall health.

“Dentistry is much more encompassing than most people believe,” Dr. Hangorsky says. “It’s not just drilling, filling and doing six-month check-ups. It’s much more complex. In this course, we will focus on the relationship between oral health and systemic health; this is what modern dentistry is all about.”

To register for the course and for additional information, visit the course site. Plans are also in development to translate the course to Mandarin.

Penn launched its Online Learning Initiative in 2012 with all 12 Penn schools now having presented a course through Coursera, the education platform that partners with top universities and organizations worldwide, to offer courses online for anyone to take.

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