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The MOOC Factory

The Centre Virchow-Villermé is developing internet-based and freely accessible online courses, so-called MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses), which are offered on different online-plattforms.


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Production of MOOCs at the Centre Virchow-Villermé

The Centre Virchow-Villermé Paris has designed and produced 17 MOOCs in the field of Public and Global Health between 2014-2016, which were visited by almost 45,000 participants. The first four MOOCs were developed in collaboration with French IT specialists from the national research institute INRIA (Institut national de recherche en informatique et en automatique). The courses were offered free of charge on the FUN (France Université Numérique), Coursera and Iversity platforms. The curriculum covers the core disciplines of public health: biostatistics, epidemiology, medical history, demography, health management, health policy and social sciences in public health. For the period 2016-2019, the CVV Paris team was able to raise € 1,150,000 for the project "#MOCCLive" within the framework of the "Investissements d'avenir" support programme of the Agence nationale de la recherche (ANR). Together with partners 6 MOOCs, 6 short animations and 6 MOODs (Massive Open Online Documentary) were developed.

With its MOOCs, the Centre Virchow-Villermé pursues the following objectives:

  • to offer freely accessible training in public health and thus also address underserved regions (e.g. French-speaking Africa)
  • to offer innovative teaching opportunities within the European higher education landscape and explore the MOOC format
  • #MOOCLive: to produce material (in French) for prevention, information, communication and training of different target groups such as health professionals, students in health care, decision makers and the general public.

The "MOOC Factory" at the Centre Virchow-Villermé was supported by excellent international guest researchers who contributed their expertise to the design and production of MOOCs through the Sanofi Endowed Chair in Paris.

Some teasers of the MOOCs can be found on the Youtube-Channel of the Centre Virchow Villermé.



  • Fighting against outbreaks of emerging infectious diseases, Prof. Antoine Flahault, Université de Genève
    This MOOC aims to train the participants in emerging infectious diseases surveillance but also in epidemic prevention and control. The course allows the participants to understand why an interdisciplinary approach is needed to understand emerging infectious diseases (epidemiology, biomathematics, virology, immunology, human and animal public health, entomology, clinical research on infectious diseases, sociology, medicine, political sciences, communication sciences on risk, health economics). This MOOC draws on a study on the Chikungunya epidemic that occurred in La Réunion in 2005.
  • Fundamentals in statistics, Prof. Avner Bar-Hen, Université Paris DescartesThis MOOC is an introduction to basic concepts in statistics and focuses particularly on practical application of statistics. Participants will learn when and how statistical tools can be used to analyze data; how to choose and apply statistical tools to data sources and how to interpret quantitative studies.
  • Has the demographic bomb been defused?, Prof. Yves Charbit, Université Paris Descartes
    This MOOC aims to answer to the following question: “How to explain the global decrease in fertility from a socio-demographic perspective?” The objective is to explain the complexity of a fundamental human behavior, fecundity, by showing that a multi-disciplinary approach is needed and not only a focus on the data itself. It shows that demographic evolutions make sense only in the view of economical, social, cultural and political factors, widely intertwined. This MOOC is associating theory and concrete case study, often from personal field research in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
  • SRAS: A revolution of global governance of epidemics, Prof. Patrick Zylberman, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Santé Publique
    This MOOC offers to analyze the SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) through the prism of social sciences. Through a multi-disciplinary approach (anthropology, sociology, history of epidemics, international relations, health economics and criticism of crisis communication), this MOOC aims to explain the role of globalization in the emergence of new infectious diseases and the notion of governance in case of health threats; to teach how to analyze relationships between the structure of States, the nature of political regimes and the management of infectious disease crises; and aims for the understanding of the role and evolution of precautionary measures and quarantines to prevent contamination.
  • Applied Regression Analysis, Prof. Stanley Lemeshow, Ohio State University´s College of Public Health
    Focusing on linear and multiple regression, this course will provide theoretical and practical training in statistical modeling. This is a hands-on, applied course where students will become proficient at using computer software to analyze data drawn primarily from the fields of medicine, epidemiology and public health.
  • Applied Logistic Regression, Prof. Stanley Lemeshow, Ohio State University´s College of Public Health
    This Applied Logistic Regression course provides theoretical and practical training for epidemiologists, biostatisticians and professionals of related disciplines in statistical modeling with particular emphasis on logistic regression.
  • Digital and research in health and life science: challenges and new practices, Célya Gruson-Daniel
    This MOOC aims to provide necessary elements to adapt to the evolution of practices in health research (from management to communication or scientific resources dissemination) and teaches how to master digital tools. It also aims to make participants understand new technological, social, legal and ethical challenges such as the open access to scientific publications, scientific data sharing and changes in methodology that the digital compound can introduce in research practices (data driven research, participative research).
  • Climate Change & Health for Policy-Makers, Prof. Rainer Sauerborn, Universität Heidelberg
    This MOOC was developed by four eminent scientists who together authored the health chapter in the recent 5th Assessment report of the IPCC. They offer you a short crash-course into the topic of climate change, tailored to senior policy-makers and negotiators of climate agreements, particularly as an input into the climate conference COP21 in Paris in December this year.
  • Climate Change & Health, Prof. Rainer Sauerborn, Universität Heidelberg
    So why is health not a more prominent topic in the debate on climate change and its impacts? We hear a lot about polar bears and smokestacks in the media, but very little on the many and the large health impacts of climate change. With this MOOC, we want to provide state-of-the art evidence of the link between climate change and the health of populations, and discuss best practices in terms of adaptation and co-benefits to health.  Participants will analyze their own country as a case study throughout the course and share this work with other course participants. They will understand the limits and strengths of their own country’s climate adaptation plan.
  • Ebola: fight together!, Prof. Antoine Flahault, Université de Genève
    This MOOC looks back on the international crisis that struck Western Africa. It should allow a better understanding of the disease in its clinical dimension; highlight the political and social implications of this epidemic and shed light on the societal impact of such a disease. The answers given by Africa and the international community will be analyzed at different levels. Care provided to sick patients, vaccine development, crisis management, role of the media will also be discussed and analyzed.
  • The Science of Global Health Implementation, Prof. Suzanne Babich, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis
    This MOOC is an introduction to emerging concepts of implementation science and implementation capacity of health programs at local and international levels. From designing change to its successful implementation, this MOOC offers tools and methods immediately applicable in a professional context.
  • In the footsteps of Zika...approaching the unknown, Prof. Antoine Flahaut et al.
    This MOOC has been produced by Université de Genève (, Institut Pasteur (, Université Paris Descartes and Centre Virchow-Villermé. With the help of the intervention of faculty members and international experts, we will explore together the recent Zika phenomenon, a previously rare benign virus that recently turned unexpectedly into the limelight when on the 1st of February 2016 it was declared by the WHO as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.
  • Changement climatique et santé dans le contexte africain, Prof. Rainer Sauerborn et al.
    Le MOOC «Changement climatique et santé dans le contexte africain» ne se contente pas de fournir des explications sur la réalité du changement climatique et de ses impacts sanitaires en Afrique, il constitue un véritable espace de réflexion en commun sur la meilleure façon de se préparer, s’adapter et prévenir au mieux les risques sur la santé. Différents experts en santé publique, en climatologie et en météorologie issus du centre de santé de Nouna au Burkina Faso et de l’université de Heidelberg en Allemagne interviennent sur ce MOOC pour décrire, expliquer et analyser les changements climatiques et aider les participants à envisager des initiatives pratiques de réponses en termes de prévention, d’atténuation et d’adaptation.
  • Global Health at the Human-Animal Ecosystem Interface: Interdisciplinary Overview, Université de Genève
    These and other major current global health challenges will be addressed in this MOOC using the One Health approach (i.e. integrated approach to human-animal-ecosystem health) and providing both a global and local perspective including the best guidelines, tools and applications from real programmes and experiences on the ground. The objective of this course is first to raise awareness on the interlinkages between human-animal-ecosystem health and then promote the application of the One Health approach for the prevention and control of diseases in global health.
  • Violences faites aux femmes
    Ce MOOC a pour objectif de fournir des connaissances afin d’améliorer le repérage et la prise en charges des victimes de violences. Il vise aussi à rompre l’isolement des victimes et à les rassurer sur la qualité de la prise en en charge dont elles peuvent bénéficier. Link Trailer 
  • Règlement sanitaire international
    Ce MOOC vise à former sur la prise en charge et la gestion des risques sanitaires majeurs d’ampleur globale et à mieux évaluer la mise en œuvre et l’application du RSI auprès des pays signataires du traité. Il sera associé au développement d’un simulateur d’apprentissage de type serious game permettant de tester les décideurs et personnels de santé sur leurs connaissances du règlement sanitaire international et de sa mise en application en cas de crise sanitaire. Link Trailer
  • Économie de la santé
    Le MOOC Économie de la santé présente l’application des principes de l’analyse microéconomique au domaine de la santé.Il donne aux participants la possibilité d’explorer la contribution de l’analyse économique à la compréhension des enjeux en santé, que ce soit en matière de financement, de production et d’évaluation de soins, ou en termes d’équité.
  • Répondre aux défis de santé en Afrique
    Ce MOOC a pour objectif de mettre en exergue l’importance du lien entre la santé et la pauvreté / les inégalités.  Il explique pourquoi il est important d’évaluer de manière rigoureuse les programmes de santé et il donne les bases méthodologiques pour comprendre l’intérêt et les contraintes de l’évaluation d’impact.
  • Aide au sevrage des fumeurs précaires
    Ce MOOC vise à former les professionnels à la mise en place de programmes d’aide au sevrage basés sur la théorie du soutien social, afin de les aider à répondre efficacement aux besoins spécifiques des fumeurs précaires.
  • Drugs, Drug use, Drug Policy and Health
    Ce MOOC propose d’analyser la question des addictions et leurs enjeux à l’échelle mondiale. Il permet de comprendre les régimes internationaux de contrôle des stupéfiants, de comprendre les failles de ce système et d’analyser les progrès et les échecs des politiques publiques menées en la matière dans différents pays.