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E-learning Biostatistics for medical sciences, nursing science, health sciences and epidemiology.



Dear visitor,

This page contains information on the e-learning course Practical Biostatistics.

In this e-learning course the basic principles of biostatistics are introduced. The aim of the course is to enable students/researchers to describe and to analyse their own data with the appropriate statistical tests and learn how to interpret the obtained results. The topics covered are descriptive statistics, the principles of statistical tests, the most common tests to compare categorical and numerical variables and different univariable and multivariable regression techniques including linear regression, logistic regression and survival regression. The theory is guided with exercises in the statistical software package SPSS. The course is thereby also a good way to become familiar with SPSS.

The module contains 30 to 40 hours of course material, targeted at (post-) graduate level. By the end of the course, one should be able to understand and be able to perform the most common statistical analyses and to select what is the most appropriate statistical test to analyse their own data.

You can find the extensive goals of the e-learning course here.

The course is developed by the methodologists and statisticians of the Clinical Research Unit (CRU) from the Academic Medical Center (AMC) in co-operation with SOWISO - a company that develops educational software in the field of mathematics and statistics.

Both institute-wide and individual licenses are available. Individual applicants can register through the application form. The course is available for all universities and other institutions active in the field of medical-education through institutional licenses. It's possbile to use the course in unaltered form, but alterations in content, presentation, lay-out and functionalities are possible as well.

Click on the screenshots on the right to take a look at some example-elements of the course.


Please contact us if you have any questions!


March 2015, Elearning Practical Biostatistics contributes to nursing curriculum in Indonesia.

International Nurse Associations strongly support the building of a sound scientific foundation for clinical practice. This implies that nurses all over the world should at least have competences in conducting nursing research or using research findings to solve clinical problems. The new nursing curriculum, prescribed by the Indonesian government, also requires that students and teachers have basic knowledge of nursing research and should be able to do simple research projects. In this context, the e-learning course Practical Biostatistics, developed by the Clinical Research Unit of the Academic Medical Center in co-operation with SOWISO – was recently offered to nurse teachers of the University of Sari Mutiara in Medan, Indonesia. The educational program was voluntarily given by the head of the CRU and was funded by PUM, a Dutch organization that connects entrepreneurs in developing countries with senior experts from the Netherlands.


June 2013, the e-learning course Practical Biostatistics was awarded as the best course of the AMC Graduate School.

The AMC Graduate School organizes almost 40 courses annually, and the the AMC PhD students association APROVE, representing approximately 800 PhD students in and liaised with the AMC, selected this course by votes. The award is a great acknowledgement that the e-learning courser is highly appreciated by the participants, who can benefit of several advantages of an e-learning environment (flexibility in pace, location and planning), but many participants also noted the pleasure to work through the theory and practical exercises of the course. The project team, consisting of statisticians and clinical epidemiologists at the AMC Clinical Research Unit, as well as Marc Habbema and Max Cohen of SOWISO are therefore congratulated with this great achievement.

How To Apply - Application Forms

With the application forms below you can register for the course. You may choose to start at any time, the course account that provides 3 months access will be provided to you upon receivement of the course fee. We offer two options.
  • AMC students and employees get reduced fares and are advised to register through the AMC intranet.

  • Computer Requirements

    The course is web-based, meaning the course does not need to be installed on a local PC, but it can be accessed from anywhere in the world using a web-browser. Some parts of the theory require a flash-player. These are common and can be downloaded for free. For performing the exercises in the course, you need the statistical program SPSS on your computer. Most Dutch research institutions have a contract with SURFspot for reduced price home versions of SPSS.

Course Goals

Global course goal

In the e-learning course ‘Biostatistics’ we introduce the basic principles of biostatistics. The aim of the course is to enable you to describe and analyse your own data with the appropriate statistical tests and learn how to interpret the obtained results. The topics covered include descriptive statistics, the principles of statistical tests, the most common tests to compare categorical and numerical variables and different univariable and multivariable regression techniques. The theory is guided with exercises in the statistical software package SPSS. These exercises make up about 50% of the study time. The course is thereby also a good way to become familiar with SPSS.

  • 1. Descriptive statistics
  • 2. Principles of statistical testing
  • 3. Comparing numerical data
  • 4. Comparing categorical data
  • 5. Correlation and linear regression
  • 6. Multiple linear regression
  • 7. Logistic regression
  • 8. Survival analysis: ­Kaplan­-Meier
  • 9. Survival analysis­: Cox­-regression
  • 10. Repeated Measurements


Goals per module


Module 1. Descriptive statistics
After studying module 1 you will know the definition and meaning of different types of data. You can choose appropriate measures of location and spread for describing your data and you are able to calculate some simple summary measures. Also you will be able to decide whether data can be described by a normal distribution or not.

Module 2 Principles of statistical testing
After studying this module you will know how to use the most important properties of the normal distribution; know how the standard deviation and the standard error represent sample and population behaviour; know how to calculate and interpret standard scores; know how to construct a confidence interval around an estimate and understand the link between confidence intervals and p-values.

Module 3 Comparing numerical data
After studying this module you will know how to decide which analysis to use when comparing 2 or more groups (without correcting for other variables) and how to perform and interpret the t-test, the oneway ANOVA, the Mann-Whitney U test and the Kruskal-Wallis test.

Module 4 Comparing categorical data
After studying this module you will be able to detect if proportions derived from counts differ by group, or, more generally stated, if two categorical variables are associated and how strongly. In particular, the learning objectives of this module are to understand four main issues: the 2-by-2 contingency table, the Chi-square test that is used to decide if proportions between groups differ, the concept of the risk ratio as a measure of the strength of an association between categorical variables, the odds ratio as a second measure of the strength of an association and how it distinguishes from the risk ratio.

Module 5 Correlation and linear regression
After studying this module, you will know the meaning of correlation and linear regression. In particular you will know how to calculate and interpret a Pearson correlation coefficient, the Spearman’s rank correlation and a simple linear regression equation.

Module 6 Multiple linear regression
After studying this module, you will know how to formulate a linear regression equation with multiple predictors, know when and how to use interaction terms and how they can be interpreted, know how to study a predictor with multiple categories, know the assumptions of a linear regression model and you will have some general ideas about how predictors can be selected in a multivariable model.

Module 7 Logistic regression
After studying this module, you will know the basic principles of logistic regression and its flexibility. Also, you will understand the relation between the regression coefficients and the odds ratio and be able to interpret regression coefficients in case of categorical and continuous predictors.

Module 8 Survival analysis: ­Kaplan­-Meier
After studying this module you will be able to describe and analyze censored numerical data. In particular, the learning objectives of this module are to understand the following three main issues in survival analysis. First, you will learn how to define survival analysis and censored data. Second, you will learn how to estimate and interpret the Kaplan-Meier survival curve. And third, you will learn to compare survival curves for different groups with the log-rank test.

Module 9 Survival analysis­: Cox­-regression
After studying this module, you will know the basic principles of the Cox regression model, know how to interpret the regression coefficients resulting from this model in terms of hazard ratio’s, know the assumptions of the Cox model and how to assess these. You will also obtain insight into the simularities between the Cox model, the linear model and the logistic model.

Module 10 Repeated Measurements
At the end of this module you will know what repeated measurements are, how they can be recognized and why we are using them, why incorrect analysis of repeated measurements leads to flawed results, several simple statistical solutions that are sufficient in many situations and some general considerations regarding repeated measurements, such as data format and missing values. Optionally, this module will give you an introduction into the analysis of repeated measurements using linear mixed effects models.

You will be trained in interpreting SPSS-output in all of the modules to enable you to perform your own analyses.


FAQ

FAQ on the e-learning course Practical Biostatistics

Q: What is the target audience of the course?
A: The course can be used by medical specialists, fellows, research nurses, PhD- and undergraduate students alike. The course assumes understanding of the English language and a basic knowledge of (medical) research methodology; no particular prerequisites other than high school math are required.

Q: What is the study load of the course?
A: The ten modules of the course contain approximately 30-40 hours of study load (depending on previous experience). The course can be further expanded by an exam. You may also choose to only follow the first 5 modules of the course, with a course load of approximately 15-20 hours.

Q: How much will the course cost me?
A: When you want to obtain an institutional license, the cost will depend on some factors, for example the number of licenses and the wishes for tailoring the course to you institution’s preferences. Please contact us for a quote. For an individual account to the current AMC course please see the application form.

Q: How is the theory presented?
A: In this course, the theory is presented on slides. These slides contain text, formulas, illustrations and animations. All slides are accompanied by a voice-over and the possibility to view the complete voice-over script. The number of slides per sub-chapter varies, but is at no time higher than 20. Please view the example theory-part on this website.

Q: What kind of exercises does this course contain?
A: During the course, at the end of the sub-chapters, exercises that advance the understanding of the preceding theory are presented. Different types of exercises can be expected, open-input, quizes or multiple-choice. Each chapter closes with a set of SPSS exercises that explain how to apply the statistical methods in practise through example datasets. The exercises contain step by step tutorials on the use of SPSS.

Q: At our institute we don't use SPSS, now what?
A: The current course contains tutorials and questions on SPSS. Most Dutch research institutions have a contract with SURFspot for reduced price home versions of SPSS. If you are interested in an institutional license, we can discuss the development of the same type of tutorials and questions in another statistical package. Contact us for more info.

Q: Can I get a demo-account?
A: On this site you can view some course-elements. If you want a more extensive look around the whole AMC-course, please send an e-mail to Noor van den Bosch.

Q: Is it possible to customize the course to our institute particular needs and wishes?
A: With this respect, a lot is possible. Chapters can be added (or deleted). Questions or tests can be added. Even creating tutorials for a different type of statistical package is an option. This will not be free as SOWISO will charge costs for these developments. It's also likely this will require input from the concerning institute: these alterations in the course are co-created. Please contact us for more information.

Q: Is it possible to integrate the course into an existing Learning Mangement System, for example Blackboard?
A: Yes, that is possible, the course is SCORM-compliant. Please mind that the default option is to present the course in a Moodle-environment.

Q: As a teacher, can I keep track of the progress made by the course-participants?
A: Yes, progress by all participants of the course (and its sub-chapters) can be viewed by the course-administrators.

Q: What kind of software do you need to view the course?
A: The course is web-based, meaning the course does not need to be installed on a local PC, but it can be accessed from anywhere in the world using a web-browser. Some parts of the theory require a flash-player. These are common and can be downloaded for free. For performing the exercises in the course, you need the statistical program SPSS on your computer. Most Dutch research institutions have a contract with SURFspot for reduced price home versions of SPSS.

Q: Can the course be viewed on an iPad?
A: No, unfortunately not. A newer version of the course may be more tablet-friendly. Contact us if you want to know more.

Q: Who will provide technical support?
A: For individual applicants, support is provided through the course forum and through the e-mail address e-biostatistics@amc.nl In case of an institutional license, SOWISO will provide technical support for the length of the license.

Q: Where will the course be hosted?
A: The course can be hosted locally, at your institution. External hosting by SOWISO is also possible. Either way, you will get support in the installation phase of the course.


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