Advancing global health through engineering: a perspective on teaching an online global health course to engineers during a global pandemic

Seema Biswas, Oren Dahan, Evgeny Solomonov, Igor Waksman, Orit Braun Benyamin

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: The effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on higher education has been felt worldwide. There are many lessons to be learned about teaching and learning in the digital age. While we evaluate the full impact and prepare ourselves for the new normal, it is worth reflecting on some of the positive aspects of online teaching and learning and understanding how students, teachers and the wider faculty have been able to support each other through the challenges of the pandemic. In this article, we offer a perspective on teaching an online Global Health course to engineering students. Results: The course, taught by a physician, provides a grounding in basic medical, scientific and engineering principles and is available to students of diverse engineering specialties. Students developed skills and gained confidence in active listening, sourcing and critical appraisal of information, interdisciplinary teamwork, needs assessment, problem analysis, problem-solving, effective communication, and organisation and delivery of information (in English). Students learned the importance of engineering in landmark historical public health projects, the delivery of modern health care, and the pressing need to develop engineering solutions to current global health problems. Course assessment was formative: 20% attendance and active participation in online classes, 30% problem-solving, 30% student presentations, and 20% written abstracts for two class projects: historical innovations and medicine in the future. Conclusions: We show how, through conversion from a classroom to an online format, we were able to deliver a rich curriculum with sound assessment where students were able to innovate together and discover the importance of engineering in health and well-being as we all experience an unprecedented global health pandemic.

Original languageEnglish
Article number82
JournalBioMedical Engineering Online
Issue number1
StatePublished - 11 Aug 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s).


  • Assessment
  • Engineering Education
  • Global Health
  • Innovation
  • Online learning


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