EMS Education Tips

Course Review: Cardiac Arrest, Hypothermia, and Resuscitation Science Week 1 #MOOC

This Coursera massive open online course (MOOCs), Cardiac Arrest, Hypothermia, and Resuscitation Science, was one of the first I enrolled in sometime in 2012. The start of the course was delayed many times and it finally launched this week.

Like other Coursera MOOCs a subject matter expert delivers a series of video lectures on a specific topic. The learning experience is enriched with quizzes, assignments, and discussion forums. My initial impression of this course is generally positive, especially with the quality of the lecture content and the activity of other EMS professionals in the discussion forums.

My week 1 impressions:

  1. The content in week 1 lectures is primarily for the lay person or student with little existing knowledge of cardiac arrest. Since much of the content was familiar to me I focused on how topics and concepts were presented and the educational methods used by Dr. Abella and the Coursera instruction team. 
  2. The video lecture is presented with a split screen. The speaker’s slides are on my left and a talking head video of Dr. Abella is on the right of my screen. I prefer the split screen, especially on my large desktop monitor, to a video that toggles between the speaker and their slides. I might change my mind on this if I watch a few videos on my iPad or laptop.
  3. Other video segments break-up the lecture nicely. Dr. Abella and several of his colleagues deliver short vignettes from the resuscitation room in the emergency department or the hallway near an AED. I think this is very effective and good to hear from other subject matter experts. (Note: a tripod for these “on location” videos would help the video quality tremendously).
  4. A course glossary might be helpful for the medical terminology used in this course. Especially for lay people or BLS providers that haven’t taken ACLS or other advanced healthcare training.

My top two learning items were:

  1. Use of a “Survival Curve” to show how survival rates can be changed by interventions like bystander CPR or AED use. This is a great teaching tool.
  2. Discussion about in-home AED use and whether an in-home AED is analogous to having a fire extinguisher.

Are you enrolled in this MOOC?

Make sure to participate in the discussion forums with other EMS professionals from around the world.


By Greg Friese

Greg Friese, Stevens Point, Wisconsin, is an author, educator, paramedic, and marathon runner.

Greg was the co-host of the award winning EMSEduCast podcast, the only podcast by and for EMS educators. Greg has written for,, Wilderness Medical Associates, JEMS Magazine, and EMS World Magazine, and the NAEMSE Educator Newsletter.