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UB offering open online course on ADHD strategies

The University at Buffalo will offer its first massive open online course, or MOOC, beginning Monday.

Online education provider Coursera is carrying the course, titled, “ADHD: Everyday Strategies for Elementary Students,” designed and taught by Gregory Fabiano, professor and associate dean for interdisciplinary research in UB’s Graduate School of Education.

It is UB’s first foray into the world of MOOCs, which dozens of colleges and universities have been offering for years.

The course, which will provide an overview of ADHD diagnosis and treatment, is free and open to anyone. Participants may register at

The course does not count for college credit, but participants will learn how to identify the behaviors characteristic of ADHD, the components of a diagnosis, and evidence-based treatment procedures that can be used in the school or home. And for $49, participants who successfully complete the course can earn a certificate documenting it.

Fabiano said he was drawn to creating and teaching a MOOC because of its ability to deliver quality information and instruction to many people who might not otherwise be exposed to it.

“The reach is now international, as opposed to the 20 students I have in class at a particular time,” he said.

The State University of New York joined nine other public university systems in signing on with Coursera in 2013, and a course developed at SUNY Buffalo State College in 2015 became the first MOOC to be developed in Western New York.

The new UB course and the Buffalo State course, “Ignite Your Everyday Creativity,” are among 27 MOOCs that have been launched or are in production within SUNY.

MOOCs were hyped several years ago as a way to revolutionize higher education by dramatically reducing the cost of delivering course material to a much broader group of people across the globe. And some courses already have attracted tens of thousands of students.

The down side is that most students who sign up for a MOOC don’t stay with it for very long.

“Ignite Your Everyday Creativity,” for example, had nearly 41,000 people sign up, which is roughly the size of the combined enrollments of UB and Buffalo State.

After a couple of weeks, the course dwindled to 6,000 active students.

Still, the Buffalo State course was largely viewed as a success. The six-week MOOC was based upon a version of an introductory course in creativity that Buffalo State has offered in a traditional classroom on campus for decades.

So, if just 200 people completed the MOOC entirely, that’s as many students as could have taken the class on campus in an entire year.

Proponents also say that MOOCs allow students to see for themselves whether they learn effectively online, before they commit to spending lots of money on the credit-bearing courses for which many colleges and universities charge tuition.

Coursera is offering “Ignite Your Everyday Creativity” again beginning May 16.

The UB course will run in four modules over four weeks, with students expected to devote one or two hours per week to study.

“ADHD impacts between one and two children in every classroom in America,” said Fabiano, who took six months to develop the course. “It’s fair to say that every teacher is dealing with the challenging behaviors, which means a lot of parents are as well.”