Background: The development of new global health academic programs provides unique opportunities to create innovative educational approaches within and across universities. Recent evidence suggests that digital media technologies may provide feasible and cost-effective alternatives to traditional classroom instruction; yet, many emerging global health academic programs lag behind in the utilization of modern technologies.
Objective: We created an inter-departmental University of Southern California (USC) collaboration to develop and implement a course focused on digital media and global health.
Design: Course curriculum was based on core tenants of modern education: multi-disciplinary, technologically advanced, learner-centered, and professional application of knowledge. Student and university evaluations were reviewed to qualitatively assess course satisfaction and educational outcomes.
Results: 'New Media for Global Health' ran for 18 weeks in the Spring 2012 semester with N=41 students (56.1% global health and 43.9% digital studies students). The course resulted in a number of high quality global health-related digital media products available at http://iml420.wordpress.com/. Challenges confronted at USC included administrative challenges related to co-teaching and frustration from students conditioned to a rigid system of teacher-led learning within a specific discipline. Quantitative and qualitative course evaluations reflected positive feedback for the course instructors and mixed reviews for the organization of the course.
Conclusion: The development of innovative educational programs in global health requires on-going experimentation and information sharing across departments and universities. Digital media technologies may have implications for future efforts to improve global health education.
Keywords: academic programs; digital media; education; global health; multimedia learning; technology.