Rethinking Foundations for Public Health

Professor Sue J. Goldie redesigned a third iteration of her online orientation course, Foundations for Public Health, in order to prepare and support incoming Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health students for remote learning. A new series of lessons and modules intended to orient students to the most pressing global public health challenges, from COVID-19 to complex emergencies, were introduced alongside core public health principles.

Watch an excerpt from a video introduction given to students before they began Foundations for Public Health over the summer. Professor Goldie touches on her instructional style, discusses course goals and provides tips to navigate the media.

Creating an Inclusive Virtual Environment and Integrating COVID-19 

In order to incorporate the current public health crisis of COVID-19 into her teaching, Professor Goldie created an optional Zoonotic Infection and Pandemic Risk module to augment the core concepts taught in previous lessons. This lesson in a four part series on Coronavirus 101 reviews how COVID-19 makes people sick and asks students to consider how different mechanisms of transmission will affect policy decisions and public health interventions.

In addition, video lessons were supported with interactive quizzes or “knowledge checks,” sketch-notes of the drawings to promote conceptual understanding, and curated resources from GHELI’S digital repository. Watch this overview video as Professor Goldie navigates an online tutorial of the COVID-19 Teaching Toolkit which includes ten individual collections curated to support teaching and learning about the pandemic.

Transcript for “Understanding Pandemic Risk: Coronavirus 101 Part 3” (PDF)

Neighborhoods and Learning Communities

During orientation week, Professor Goldie met with students virtually to provide an overview of the class, share helpful resources, tips and advice, and answer student questions. During past orientations, students voiced an interest in connecting more deeply with their peers and faculty around a series of focused topics in public health. Motivated by this, and in line with the school’s efforts to create new, innovative ways to engage students during this off-campus semester, Professor Goldie guided the creation of “Neighborhoods and Learning Communities.” These novel topic-centric portals provided students with curated resources, faculty and expert-led events, and discussion boards designed to expand knowledge and foster community engagement. Students have also been invited to attend casual conversations hosted virtually by GHELI teaching staff and Professor Goldie. These “early morning coffee” sessions are held in small groups and provide an opportunity for making deeper connections and discussing shared topics and interests.

In the News

Read more in this Harvard Gazette Article that reports on university-wide efforts to prepare students for remote learning featuring Professor Goldie and the course.