Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Studying for MRCPCH Part 3 and Free Online courses

The best part of working in the Kingdom as a specialist is the availability of time to pursue other interests. A year ago, I discovered a website which offers free online courses on any or every subject under the sun. The courses are offered by arrangement with reputed international universities from all over the world. The first course I took from this website was on Preventive Healthcare and was an offering from the College of Public Health affliated to the Johns Hopkins University. I had enjoyed this course immensely and was inspired at that time to consider pursuing Public Health as a side-career and help the disadvantaged people of my country in some way or the other.

In between, things became a little tough for me, and I stopped doing those free courses as I studied and cleared the first two parts of the MRCPCH examinations. A year later, now that I was finally free from the study-exam cycle, I took a look again at the Coursera site, and signed up for a few courses. Currently, I am taking courses on Vaccines, Prescription Drugs Abuse, An Introduction to Global Health, and A Primer on Animal Behaviour. Last month, I completed a course on Mapping and the Geospatial Revolution - a fantastic course where we could understand the importance of making maps and also learned how to make your own maps. The teacher was Dr. Robinson from the University of Pennsylvania, and he has a strong sense of humour, and taught really well. 

Doing several online courses does need a lot of time, and I find myself pressed for time to complete the weekly assignments on each course. In the event of my not being able to complete all the courses, I will have still fulfilled one urge that is all-consuming for me: despite not getting the completion certificates, I will have still learned so much on each of the courses that I am currently taking!

I am planning to sit for the final installment of the MRCPCH examinations next April. However, through Facebook, and then, through Skype, I have managed to begin studying. We have formed a 15-member study group on FB, of which six of us are ACTIVE and have started studying cases in Paediatrics by group chat on Skype. These six include two Egyptians, three Indians and one Sudanese friend. All the six cleared part 2 this year in May, and are raring to go. Two of the members will appear this year in September. while the rest of us are all planning to appear next year. Our sessions last 40-55 minutes each night, and as we study patient-scenarios, we are all becoming a little more confident with each passing day. This is really reassuring.

That's it for now ... do leave your comments. Thank you.

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