Brief description of available courses


Peoples-uni Open Online Courses are short, available free for all, and usually contain 5 topics. You can earn a certificate of completion, but there is no accreditation for these courses. Each one would take around 5 hours to explore and contains links to relevant resources on the web. These courses are continually under review and new courses regularly added.

Public Health

Public Health - the basics: provides basic introduction to key aspects of the discipline of public health.

  • Definitions and roles of Public Health

  • Epidemiology

  • Health systems

  • An evidence base for Public Health

  • Health inequalities

  • Health promotion

  • Workforce needs in Public Health

Public Health practice - understanding diseases and effective actions: this course builds on the course Public Health - the basics to explore the burden, causes and interventions of major diseases, and how to evaluate the interventions to reduce the burden of illness:

  • Patterns and major categories of disease in developing countries
  • Evaluation

Environmental Health: provides an introduction for health professionals to the causes of environmental threats to Public Health, the size of the problem and how to utilise an evidence based approach to reducing these environmental threats to health.

  • Interaction between the environment and health
  • Methods used to identify environmental hazards and the health risks associated with exposure to these hazards

  • Health impacts of chemicals, air pollution, water and sanitation, and waste

  • Mitigation measures

  • Review and action

Climate Change and Public Health: the Public Health aspects of climate change and its impact on populations

  • Introduction to climate change

  • Climate change and human health

  • Climate change in the context of environmental sustainability

  • Climate change, policy and politics

  • What can we do about climate change?

Global Health Informatics: this course aims to provide a framework and some resources to help those in low resource settings meet knowledge needs.

  • What is information/informatics and why is it important

  • Produce, Collect and Collate information

  • Access information - make it available

  • Use information for evidence based practice and policy

  • Evaluating the benefits of health informatics

Prevention: provides basic introduction to key aspects of the prevention of ill health (some duplication from Public Health – the basics)

  • Population-wide strategies for prevention

  • Social Determinants of Health

  • Health Promotion

  • Policy implications of prevention

Human Rights and Public Health: designed to help understand the importance of Human Rights to Public Health.

  • General introduction
  • Humanitarian crises
  • Reproductive health
  • Universal health care
  • Provision of health services
  • Legal aspects of Human Rights

Burden of disease

Disease in developing countries: provides the opportunity to find out about health in a particular country, or region, and about major disease categories facing populations in the world.

  • Global burden of disease

  • Communicable diseases

  • Non-Communicable diseases

  • Neglected Tropical Diseases

  • Injury

  • Mental illness

Maternal Mortality: Maternal morbidity and mortality remain major problems in many parts of the world - one of the most important threats to Public Health. The purpose of the course is to provide the people who may be able to help tackle the problem with the knowledge and skills to do so. We will focus on identifying the size of the problem, the causes, and the evidence base behind interventions to improve the situation. We will end by identifying ways to implement evidence based solutions in your own setting.

  • Magnitude of the problem of Maternal Mortality
  • Causes and epidemiology
  • Evidence based solutions within the health system
  • Evidence based solutions outside the health system
  • Implementing an intervention

Injury prevention: how to collect information on the burden of injury, understand the causes and risk factors for injury, and develop and evaluate relevant intervention programs. Underpinned by the principles and characteristics of a public health approach to prevention.

  • Burden of disease from injury

  • Principles and conceptual frameworks

  • Risk factors and causes of injury

  • Development of interventions

  • Implementation of prevention strategies

Global Mental Health: aims to help you understand some of the risk factors, and size of the burden of mental illness and think about policies and interventions that can help tackle this neglected public health issue.

  • Introduction to global mental health
  • Health promotion and epidemiology
  • Suicide - epidemiology and prevention
  • Evidence-based interventions
  • Planning and implementing mental health interventions

Non-Communicable Disease: The course aims to help practitioners understand the size of the NCD problem in low resource settings and its causes, and to develop policies to reduce the growing burden on developing country populations.

  • Burden of disease
  • Causes
  • Appraising  the evidence for international prevention
  • How can we make health policy to reduce the burden
  • Implementing intervention programmes

Physical inactivity and Obesity: Because of the relationship between obesity and physical inactivity, we are considering both in the course, which is designed to help understanding of not only the size of the problem, the causes, health effects and benefits of prevention and management of both issues through exercise and weight loss, but also to explore the relationship between obesity and physical inactivity.

  • Physical inactivity and health
  • Obesity and health
  • Physical activity and obesity - are they related?
  • Evidence based interventions

Refugee Health: designed to provide information on the threats to the health of refugees and asylum seekers, and canvass potential methods to help improve the situation. The focus is global, but there is a focus on refugees settled in developed countries

  • The refugee problem

  • Details of health effects on refugees

  • Models of healthcare for settled refugees

  • Politics - a global issue

  • What can we do?

Preventing Child Mortality: the course will help students understand the burden that childhood mortality places on populations, the causes, and the major interventions to reduce the burden of disease.

  • Magnitude and Causes of Child Mortality
  • Interventions and policies to reduce child mortality
  • Diarrhoea and pneumonia among children
  • Financing etc
  • Implementing an intervention

Health Systems

Health systems: the course aims to explore health systems, focusing on those in low- to middle-income countries

  • Health systems - attributes, governance and strengthening

  • Health care financing

  • Quality and information

  • Case study - vaccines

  • Health workforce


Basic Epidemiology – from the University of Nottingham: free access to some excellent e-learning packages prepared by the University of Nottingham in basic Epidemiology

  • What is epidemiology?

  • Measuring disease

  • Ecological studies

  • Cross-sectional studies and measures of effects

  • Case-control studies

  • Cohort studies

  • Randomised controlled trials

  • Systematic reviews and meta-analyses

Principles of Evidence Based Medicine – from the University of Nottingham: free access to an excellent e-learning package prepared for the University of Nottingham

  • Recognise what is meant by evidence based medicine
  • Outline the steps of evidence based medicine
  • Ask a focused question using a framework such as the PICO framework
  • Apply an appropriate critical appraisal framework to appraise published evidence in the medical literature

Principles of Screening – from the University of Nottingham: free access to an excellent e-learning package prepared for the University of Nottingham

  • Describe the criteria that should be met before implementing a screening programme
  • Describe the concept of false positives and false negatives
  • Calculate and explain the sensitivity, specificity and positive predictive value of a screening test
  • Outline the benefits and disadvantages of screening programmes
  • Explain lead time bias and length time bias

Communicating Risk – from the University of Nottingham: free access to an excellent e-learning package prepared for the University of Nottingham

  • Understand and interpret key epidemiological measures of risk and risk reduction
  • Communicate risks to patients and the population in an accurate and accessible manner

Clinico-epidemiological conference: Report of an online conference for presentation and discussion of disease causation and prevention - from the patient to the population - to demonstrate how it is possible to draw generalisable lessons from in-depth consideration of the clinical course of an individual patient, how familial, social and cultural and environmental factors may influence causation and progression (natural history) of disease, and the importance of prevention. Lessons for improving the health of the population may be drawn from consideration of individual patients.

  • Case presentation

  • Epidemiology

  • Implications for the population

Technology assessment

Pharmaceutical or health technology product development: This course is designed to help with the development of pharmaceutical or healthcare technology products. It should help you:

  • Start a discussion with relevant partner and/or to take forward an idea into a phase of development that is regulated.
  • Identify appropriate future markets for your idea and how to navigate the regulatory practices that may be applicable
  • Evaluate risks and prepare safe conditions for the investigation of your idea

Improving practice

Medical ethics online: designed to cover key constituent parts of medical ethics; it is suitable for any healthcare professional wanting to acquire a basic grounding in the subject.

  • Rights and responsibilities:

  • Ethico-legal frameworks

  • Beginning and end-of-life

  • Governance

  • Healthcare

Medical Professionalism: designed to explore the concepts of Medical Professionalism and how they might be applied in various settings

  • Introduction and definitions

  • Altruism and commitment to patients’ interests

  • Physician self-regulation and maintenance of competence

  • Civic engagement

  • Relevance to today/tomorrow

Patient Safety: for all healthcare professionals across the world with an aim to equip them with the basic concepts

The course is divided into 11 topics. Each topic has:

  • Learning Outcomes

  • Resources: Real Patient Story followed by an introduction to the topic with links to the relevant WHO handout and optional reading.

  • Reflection: You will be asked a question related to the patient safety topic being studied to prompt you to apply the knowledge gained from the topic in the setting you work. You can post your reflection, and will then be enrolled in the forum and will be notified of others who may also post their reflections - you are welcome to reply to them also.

  • Quiz: MCQs are a useful self-assessment tool so at the end of every topic you are invited to answer a few MCQs

Reflection: the course aims to provide a practical guide to help health care workers understand the basics and start their journey of reflection to become more effective practitioners. The course includes two self-study exercises and covers:

  • The basics of reflection

  • How to do it

  • Getting started

Skills Online

A series of Internet-based training courses comprised the Public Health Agency of Canada's Skills Online program, which has now closed. The aim of this program was to provide continuing education opportunities to public health practitioners across Canada. The courses have been made available to Peoples-uni to allow the content to be distributed more widely for an international audience.

Outbreak investigation: The purpose of the course is to introduce the basic principles and steps involved in the investigation and management of outbreaks. Learning materials focus on a systematic, methodical approach utilizing epidemiology and statistics and also reinforce the need for communication during an investigation.

Planning for Public Health: The purpose of the course is to provide an opportunity for individuals to learn about the essentials of planning in a public health context. Various models and approaches to planning are described in this course, and there is no one approach that applies to all situations. Whatever models, frameworks or methods are used, best practice in planning involves evidence-based and systematic approaches in applying public health resources to public health problems.

International Health Regulations: The International Health Regulations (IHR) (2005), whose purpose and scope are “to prevent, protect against, control and provide a public health response to the international spread of disease in ways that are commensurate with and restricted to public health risks, and which avoid unnecessary interference with international traffic and trade”. Learning materials focus on the implementation and application of the IHR (2005) through an overview of their history, followed by their purpose, key requirements and responsibilities. 

Glossary of epidemiology terms: Covers and defines the terms most commonly used in epidemiology. Except where noted, the glossary is derived from Porta, Miquel. (Ed.), (2008). A Dictionary of Epidemiology. (5th ed.). New York: Oxford University Press and Porta, Miquel. (Ed.), (2014). A Dictionary of Epidemiology. (6th ed.). New York: Oxford University Press.

Last modified: Monday, 27 July 2020, 10:03 AM