This article originally appeared on the Hub

The Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research will launch an open online course on gun violence prevention research this spring that will be taught by some of the world's leading gun violence research researchers.

The course will help participants understand relevant legal issues and effectively use data that are most relevant to policy debates on gun violence. It will also help them gain an understanding of the interventions with the greatest impact on gun violence and common concerns and arguments made about gun policies. The course will be offered at least two times per year and will be tuition-free.

"The passion we are seeing from students who want safer communities with fewer shootings is unparalleled," said Daniel Webster, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research at the Bloomberg School. "Our goal in offering these new courses is to help young people understand what is known from decades of public health research about reducing gun violence, and apply these findings to their advocacy work.
"This is a great opportunity for anyone who volunteered on behalf of a pro gun-safety candidate, participated in the marches earlier this year, or who cares about gun violence in their community," he added. "We want people to understand the facts on how to reduce gun violence."

Previous MOOCs at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health have attracted a total of more than six million registrants from around the world.

Webster and colleagues will also offer a four- to five-day summer program at Johns Hopkins University for motivated high school students. The program will enhance students' understanding of pertinent scientific evidence and policy options relevant to preventing gun violence, build advocacy skills, and foster networking opportunities between youth representing numerous states and diverse backgrounds. Scholarships will cover room, board, travel expenses, and instructional fees for 50 students. Students from across the U.S will be recruited, with special attention to involve communities most impacted by gun violence. Classroom sessions will be balanced with experiential learning exercises and activities to help students advance their goals through thorough understanding of policy and effective use of data in their advocacy.

Webster is a leading national expert in gun violence prevention policy. His primary research interests include the prevention of gun violence, gun policy, youth gun acquisition and carrying, intimate partner violence, and youth violence prevention. Over the past 25 years, his research and policy analyses have helped shape local, state, and federal policies on gun violence prevention.

Additional Johns Hopkins faculty involved with this project include Cassandra Crifasi Jon Vernick, Alex McCourt, Beth McGinty, Shannon Frattaroli, and Colleen Barry.

The MOOC and summer program are made possible from a grant from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation.