The methods of behavioral and social science research are changing rapidly. Methodologic development and increasing trans-disciplinary thinking is creating exciting new opportunities for researchers and a need for ongoing educational efforts that can ensure researchers maintain cutting-edge facility with the evolving science. Such educational efforts need themselves to evolve and adapt both to teach current and innovative methods and to incorporate advances in our understanding of how to most effectively deliver educational content. We propose to develop a state-of-the-science, sustainable, and adaptable educational platform around innovative methods for the behavioral and social sciences. The proposed Methods INnovation eDucation Suite (MINDS) project will offer training in innovative methods in the behavioral and social sciences while taking advantage of the opportunities afforded by new technologies for innovative approaches to delivering this material. Overall our objectives are to (1) develop a comprehensive set of week-long short courses aimed at biomedical, behavioral, and clinical researchers and practitioners around key methodological approaches in the behavioral and social sciences (including issues of data visualization, modeling/simulation, innovative study design, adaptive data collection, and modern measurement issues), (2) enable a broad audience, untethered by geography, to participate in these focused short-courses through the development of digital versions of the same courses and (3) nurture a community of scholars interested in behavioral and social science research through the creation and curation of a dynamic digital space that includes essential resources and educational materials related to behavioral and social science research, opportunities for intellectual exchange, and novel tools that can help the behavioral and social science researcher in his/her daily work. Importantly, we aim to capitalize on a unique existing platform -the Epidemiology and Population Health Summer Institute at Columbia (EPIC)- that already offers weeklong courses in both in-person and digital formats and that has a track record of success to build the MINDS program, affording an effective, and cost-efficient approach to deliver educational opportunities to behavioral and social science researchers worldwide.
The proposed Methods INnovation eDucation Suite (MINDS) project aims to create educational opportunities in innovative methods relevant to behavioral and social science research, accessible to a broad range of learners using a multi-platform suite of educational opportunities. The project aims to enable a broad audience to participate in focused short-courses and, through the use of digital technology, to nurture a community of scholars interested in continuing education around behavioral and social science research.