Conservative talk show host Bill O’Reilly of Fox News blasted University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) for offering a free MOOC to the public on abortion, Abortion: Quality Care and Public Health Implications, which started this month on the Coursera platform.
The criticism is due to the fact that the University of California system is funded by California taxpayers, and are presumably paying for the development and running of this course. The course is meant to offer education around health policy issues regarding abortion, something that many healthcare professionals have limited exposure to. Bill points out that the pro-life perspective doesn’t appear to be represented in the course and labels it “propaganda”. Here is the segment on his show:
It is unlikely a MOOC from UCSF was designed for the purpose of propaganda, but this certainly raises an interesting point about public funding of programs that are available to the general public. Of course it won’t be long until companies start catching on to the popularity of MOOCs and we’ll have free courses like “Essentials of Early Infant Care by Johnson & Johnson”. But quality will hopefully rise to the top, and this is why sites and services like BestCerts will be important to help provide more information about these free courses.