Background: The University of Dundee and the BSAC developed a massive open online course (MOOC) to address the global need for education to support antimicrobial stewardship in low- and middle-income countries.
Methods: An interactive course, Antimicrobial Stewardship: Managing Antibiotic Resistance, was developed and delivered via the FutureLearn© platform. The course ran over four 6 week periods during 2015 and 2016 supported by educators and was evaluated via data on uptake and feedback from learners on impact on clinical practice.
Results: In total, 32 944 people, 70% of them healthcare professionals, from 163 countries joined the course from Europe (49%), Asia (16%), Africa (13%), North America (9%), Australia (8%) and South America (5%). Between 33% and 37% of joiners in each run completed at least one step in any week of the course and 219 participants responded to a post-course survey. The course was rated good or excellent by 208 (95%) of the participants, and 83 (38%) intended to implement stewardship interventions in their own setting. A follow-up survey 6 months later suggested that 49% had implemented such interventions.
Conclusions: The MOOC has addressed a global learning need by providing education free at the point of access, and learning from its development will help others embarking upon similar educational solutions. Initial quantitative and qualitative feedback suggests it has engaged participants and complements traditional educational methods. Measuring its real impact on clinical practice remains a challenge. The FutureLearn© platform offers flexibility for MOOCs to be sustainable through modification to remove educator facilitation but maintain active participant discussion.