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Guide on transitioning to distance teaching and learning in postgraduate education in public health

About this Guide

Guide.pngThe School of Public Health (SOPH) at the University of the Western Cape (UWC) hosted a two-part workshop series in May and October 2015, as part of its ongoing work with sister institutions in Africa and the global South. The overall aim of the workshops was to explore emerging opportunities for expanding access to, and delivery of, post-graduate training in public health for people working in or managing health services/systems. Various distancebased delivery modes were explored, including web-based and e-learning technologies, with focus on workplace-based learning and creating authentic learning opportunities for students.

Workshop 1

The focus of the first workshop was on mapping the field of e- and flexible learning, exploring the concept and practice of workplace-based learning, and bringing together and taking forward some of the work conducted between some of the participating institutions. Information about the participants and contributors can be found on the initial pages of the Guide. 

Workshop 2

Workshop 2 built on work done by participants between Workshop 1 and 2 to take their programme and curriculum development forward, culminating in a ‘working week’ for those participants who were in the process of designing curricula and courses in post-graduate public health education.

This Guide has emerged from this workshop process as both a record of what was covered, and a practical reference guide and resource for public health educators who are working on the process of transitioning from face-to-face to distance teaching and learning.

​Institutions that participated in developing this Guide

UWC, SOPH has a long history of collaborating with our academic sister institutions throughout the world, and in particular in the global South, to develop curricula, materials and training projects. From 2010 to 2015 the UWC, SOPH worked closely with the following institutions:

  • The Universities of Addis Ababa in Ethiopia, National University of Rwanda, and Eduardo Mondlane University in Mozambique, developing curricula and materials and training staff in their universities and Ministries of Health in human resource development for health 
  • The Institute of Tropical Medicine in Antwerp, Belgium, exploring new educational online technologies in public health education
  • The Consortium for Health Policy and Systems Analysis in Africa (CHEPSAA) collaboration, developing open access educational materials which are available on the consortium’s website.

It was therefore a logical progression to invite two colleagues from these different academic sister institutions, together with other interested institutions to a two-part workshop to explore new models and practices in post-graduate public health education.​

Who is this Guide for?

This Guide is geared towards public health researchers and educators, specifically those focused on post-graduate public health education, who are developing courses and their accompanying resources for blended and distance learning. However, the process that is outlined is generic and can be used and/or adapted for other fields. We ask that you acknowledge the original source in line with the OER guidelines described on page 2 and that you share your adaptations with us in the interest of refining and developing this as a useful resource for all. Feedback about your own experiences can be emailed to the School of Public Health, University of the Western Cape at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..​ 

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