Yale Center for Teaching and Learning

Poorvu Center Helps Build the Executive Online Master in Public Health

October 26, 2021

By Staff Writer

The Poorvu Center for Teaching and Learning’s Digital Education Team is helping to launch the School of Public Health’s Executive Online Master in Public Health (MPH).

“It’s a collaborative effort,” says Sara Epperson, the Poorvu Director of Digital Education. “We have been working on projects supporting the School of Public Health since 2018, and this project is really putting all we’ve learned into practice for these working professionals earning their MPH online.” Epperson and her team previously created and continue to support Coursera MOOC courses that are available to the public, working from ideation and outlines to production and operations. This experience, and many more residential projects experimenting with digital education, informed their build of the executive online degree program from the School of Public Health.

“We are able to make evidence-based decisions based on our years working in residence and online with Coursera,” says Epperson. “We know that all students like well-organized Canvas sites and faculty who communicate regularly. We are able to standardize this material for the students and create templates.”

Designed for working health professionals, the Executive MPH blends comprehensive online education with three in-person management and leadership training sessions on the Yale campus. It is a two-year, part-time program open to students at different levels of education and experience, and offers four different tracks: Health Informatics, Environmental Health Sciences, Applied Analytic Methods and Epidemiology, and Critical Topics in Public Health. The School of Public Health (SPH) wanted to make sure that this online version had the same faculty excellence, individualized attention, curricular innovation, and interdisciplinary approaches to public health challenges.

“There are more than 20 online courses to build, and we are collaborating with YSPH to handle this book of work,” says Epperson. “My team and I worked directly with the faculty on all aspects from creating video lecture content to launching the class for the first time.”

Epperson’s team also collaborated closely within the Poorvu Center itself, especially with the Broadcast Studio, which oversees and facilitates filming course content. The professionally filmed lectures created there are a big step up from faculty doing their own videos at home, and it shows in the finished product. “We also worked with Poorvu’s Canvas team and with Digital Accessibility Specialist Michelle Morgan,” says Epperson. “And then implemented the work and innovations with the School of Public Health.”

Those innovations won’t stop there. “We’re already using what we’ve learned while building the online program, for those courses taught on campus,” she continues. “And hopefully, we will be helping Yale’s other professional schools create similar programs in the future.”