Introduction to reproduction: Online education for the millennial learner

Megan Castle, Laura Kick, Heather Haseley, Harlan Wallach, Teresa K. Woodruff*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Despite staggering rates of sexually transmitted infections and unplanned pregnancies, reproductive health education is not yet standardized across secondary or postsecondary curricula. The Women's Health Research Institute and Northwestern University Information Technology created Introduction to Reproduction, a massive open online course to encourage global students to learn the biological foundations of reproductive health. This digital education experience appeals to the Millennial learner and offers unique opportunities to explore topics in reproductive biology via lectures, animations, and three-dimensional anatomical illustrations. Data were collected anonymously from deidentified learners who elected to self-report on their experiences while completing the course as well as through Coursera datasets. Northwestern University's Institutional Review Board classified this research project as an exempt status due to the deidentified nature of the collected data. Participants from 47 countries report on reproductive health content knowledge, past reproductive health education, and level of engagement with the topic. These data indicate that the Introduction to Reproduction course has a meaningful impact on its participants and presents the information in a concise and accessible format. Distribution of this course to a wider audience is the goal for the program and important to the field of reproductive health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number29
JournalBiology of reproduction
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2016


  • Introduction to reproduction
  • MOOC
  • Massive open online course
  • Reproduction
  • Reproduction courses
  • Reproductive education
  • Reproductive health
  • Reproductive online courses
  • Women's health research institute

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Cell Biology


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