We are taking some time in the weeks leading up to Open edX Con 2015 to share a bit about the speakers and what they are working on. Open edX Con 2015 is October 12-13th, at Wellesley College in Wellesley, MA. Register today!

Nicholus Warstadt, Silvia Vaca, and Feroze Naina will be presenting Navigating Barriers to Implementation of an International Medical Training Course in Developing Nations as part of the Lessons from Open edX Implementations track.

Tell us a bit about yourselves

A photo of Nicholus Warstadt.

Our team is made up of Stanford University medical students Nicholus Warstadt and Silvia Vaca, and Carnegie Mellon graduate student in computer science, Feroze Naina. Collectively, we are driven by our desire to improve worldwide access to medical treatment.

What will you be presenting on at Open edX Con?

Clubfoot is a debilitating congenital deformity that, if left untreated, leads to lifelong physical impairment, social stigma, and economic disadvantage. Over 200,000 children are born with clubfoot every year, and the majority of cases in developing countries never receive treatment. Because the treatment course for clubfoot lasts 3-4 years, the lack of clubfoot experts near a child’s home forces a family to uproot and relocate to find a knowledgeable hospital, which is all too often prohibitively 

expensive and unrealistic.

A photo of Silvia Vaca

In order to disseminate knowledge of clubfoot treatment to achieve greater geographical reach, we have created a digital training solution utilizing the Open edX platform. In our presentation, we will discuss our experience in designing, testing, and working with international non-profit organizations to distribute this course, drawing from experience in India and Tanzania.

We will be discussing the implementation of our Open edX course in developing nations, with a focus on the results from the first implementation in Tanzania and the technological barriers we have faced. We will also describe our experience with distribution models to disseminate and monitor clinician access to the e-training.

A photo of Feroze Naina

How does working on the Open edX platform relate to your work?

When designing a solution for inconsistent or inadequate clubfoot training in developing countries, we wanted to create a solution using the best educational tools available. The Open edX platform is beginning to change the way that medical education is conducted in the United States, with a multi-university instance of an Open edX course being run at Stanford, Duke, University of Michigan, University of Washington, and University of California – San Francisco.

More than solely providing a mechanism to train clinicians to treat clubfoot, we viewed the Open edX platform as an opportunity to enhance how individuals in developing countries accessed and interacted with educational materials, acquired new knowledge, and used tools available to them (i.e. android phones) to learn.

What excites you about the conference?

We are looking forward to connecting with other Open edX users about experiences in medical education and edtech in developing nations. We are excited to talk to developers about user experience and offline capability improvements both big and small to increase the reach of the Open edX project to a global audience.

A classroom with students

Students learn using the Open edX platform, integrating it into other practical and classroom activities.

Edited for formatting and content.