Alice Yin, Campus Editor

A Northwestern professor will be teaching a sex ed class as part of a new series of massive open online courses this fall that will also add two specialized programs.

The “Sex 101” class will start Sept. 28 and will cover sex organs, contraception, sexually transmitted diseases and more — with some topics portrayed in three-dimensional animations and videos. The course was created and will be taught by Teresa Woodruff, the vice chair for research in obstetrics and gynecology at the Feinberg School of Medicine.

In particular, Woodruff said incoming first-year students could benefit from a demystification of reproductive health — a misunderstood realm — when they enter college.

“This is everything first-year students need to know about sex and reproduction, and didn’t know to ask,” Woodruff said in a news release.

Woodruff said male students might not be aware alcohol can cause erectile dysfunction, and that female students might not know that arriving at college can cause fluctuations to their menstrual cycles. The implications of these gaps in knowledge can be anything from confusion to unintended pregnancies and disease.

“Having sex is not the same thing as knowing how it all works,” Woodruff said. “And most students have issues beyond sex, like changing menstrual cycle lengths and questions about exercise and testosterone levels. They need to know because it impacts their health. This class fills a huge gap.”

Middle school or high school sexual education is often not thorough enough, Woodruff said. However, she said, when students arrive at college, accurate knowledge of sexual health is even more crucial.

The course will also discuss sexual violence and consent, as well as discuss signs of prostate cancer. Women and men will obtain knowledge of the reproductive biology of the opposite sex and even oncofertility — a field specializing in expanding fertility options of cancer survivors.

These courses are taken through a website called Coursera, which has provided NU-created online courses since fall 2013. Any user can access the website for free or register as a premium user and receive a certificate upon completion.

Another new course, “Social Marketing: How to Profit in a Digital World,” launched through the Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications on Sept. 15 as a specialized course. It is made up of five MOOCs and a final capstone project.

The final new MOOC, “Organizational Leadership,” will begin Oct. 15 featuring faculty from the Kellogg School of Management, Medill, the School of Communication and the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science. Also containing five MOOCs, the specialization will be an interdisciplinary approach to learning.

“These new MOOCs showcase some of Northwestern’s leading thinkers, excellent programs, intellectual and research leadership and global outreach,” said Marianna Kepka, the assistant provost for academic administration. “They cut across a variety of programs, disciplines and schools.”
Twitter: @alice__yin

Source: The Daily Northwestern