Photo Credit: Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

In keeping with its longstanding tradition of combining Jewish studies with cutting-edge science, Bar-Ilan University is debuting three new Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) in Genomics and Biomedical Informatics (GaBI), Physics, and Jewish Art. A Physics MOOC will be offered in Arabic later this year.

Genomics and Biomedical Informatics (GaBI)


Three innovations are driving the data revolution in medicine: Next Generation Sequencing, Electronic Medical Records, and the ability to mine huge datasets of medical records. Physicians need a new toolbox that is generally lacking in the medical school curriculum In order to take advantage of these technologies and participate in the revolution.

GaBI is the product of a decade of collaborative effort between researchers from the computational biology program at Bar-Ilan University, and clinicians from Sheba Medical Center. The extended program has been endorsed by the Israeli Medical Association and Ministry of Health. Now, for the first time, the team has developed a single condensed online course that will present clinicians and digital health enthusiasts with an overview of the data revolution in medicine, and how to take advantage of it for research and in the clinic. The course is being taught by a panel of experts led by Prof. Ron Unger, Head of the Computational Biology Program at Bar-Ilan University and Dr. Ronen Tal-Botzer, Director of the Genomics and Biomedical Informatics Program, Bar-Ilan University.

The course is being presented via edX, an online learning and MOOC provider founded by Harvard University and MIT that offers high-quality courses from the world’s leading universities and institutions to learners around the globe. For further information and to enroll click here.

Introduction to Physics-Mechanics

This course, developed by Dr. Yossi Ben Zion, Vice Chairman of the Department of Physics, together with Project Manager Shahar Gez, was filmed in the Department’s “transparent board” studio. The entire course is currently being translated and adapted into the Arabic language by Fatma Hamuda, a doctoral student in the Department of Physics. The Arabic version is expected to launch at the beginning of the upcoming academic year.

The current course, taught in Hebrew, requires no prior knowledge of physics. As such, it is geared towards students who study different disciplines, such as chemists, biologists, brain scientists, and more. The MOOC is offered with and without credit.

As part of the development of the course, a transparent board studio was created that allows the lecturer to teach without turning his back to the camera, but rather be filmed through the board. This method of instruction is gaining momentum worldwide and is already used by the largest and best universities in the world, including MIT, but is the first studio of its kind in Israel.

This MOOC is presented on the “Campus” platform, which was created by the Israeli Office for Social Equality as part of a national project for digital learning. Campus is an Israeli version of edX. For further information and to enroll click here.

Pioneers of Art: The Story of Female Jewish Artists

Jewish artists have been among the leading and most influential in the feminist art movement since its establishment in the 1970s. This course examines how art, feminism and Judaism are intertwined, and how the intersection of these fields highlights the unique contribution of Jewish artists to the art world and various Jewish societies over the past fifty years.

Students will become acquainted with the most important works in this field which were created through various artistic means: painting, sculpture, photography, installation and video art. The work of Jewish feminist artists in the light of theories of art, Judaism, feminism and gender will be examined, as well as their works against the background of the social, cultural and religious contexts within which they were created. Emphasis will also be made on the ways in which Jewish feminist art contributes to exposing the experiences, stories and perspectives of women who have been excluded from history and the art world for many years.

Fifty films of eight minutes each will be screened during the course, which is delivered in Hebrew, with English subtitles. All assignments are also translated into English. The course is taught by Department of Jewish Art scholars Dr. Mor Presiado, Dr. David Sperber, and Dr. Tal Dekel. Like the physics course, it is accessible via the Campus platform. For further information and to enroll click here.