Not a dream: Take online courses from famous universities for FREE!!!


Will the poor one day have free access to high quality education from the most famous universities in the world? A website called “coursera” is a step in this direction.

A colleague of mine, Hamzeh Itum (Thanks a lot 🙂 ), sent me a link to an online English course that covers research basics for medical professionals (See the course description and the link at the end of post). It is taught by doctors from the University of California, San Francisco. There are online lectures 2-3 times weekly with homework and online quizzes. I thought that it would cost at least tens of dollars. At the end, it turned out that this course, and all courses in this website, even from famous universities, are all FREE! There are thousands of courses that take place in this website in more than ten languages and in different branches of knowledge. However, to get a verifiable certificate at the end of the course, you need to finish assignments before deadlines and pay 60$. Attendance is again FREE.

A lot of respect to whoever came up with this idea and I hope that humanity will invest more money and effort in such websites!



Understanding Research: An Overview for Health Professionals


About the Course:
This course looks at the various aspects of research as it pertains to health.

The course objectives are as follows:

  • Summarize the format of research articles and the research methods included in each section of an article.
  • Analyze and critique research questions, study design, methods including sample selection, bias, data collection procedures, measures, and analysis plan, results, discussion and interpretation of findings.
  • Compare and contrast different quantitative study designs.
  • Analyze the validity and reliability of measures.
  • Understand the ethical and cultural issues related to research methods.



Update 21.08.2014:

Thanks to a Facebook comment by another colleague of mine, Hamza Ayman Arabiyat, I discovered that another website offers “great online courses from the world’s best universities”. It called edX (

Jordanian researcher [Dr. Munir Abu-Helalah] wins best cancer research award in the Arab world د. منير أبو هلالة يفوز بجائزة أفضل بحث سرطان في الوطن العربي

Congratulations my dear doctor and supervisor in more than five researchers 🙂

Source: QS News2WOWU, QS Asia, August 2014,


News in Arabic:

• موقع قناة العربية، 9/4/2014، “سعود بن نايف يدشن جائزة أمير الشرقية لأبحاث السرطان”، الرابط.

• موقع عمون نيوز، 13/4/2014، “الدكتور منير أبو هلاله يحصل على المركز الأول لابحاث السرطان”، الرابط.

• وكالة سرايا الإخبارية، 20/4/204، “د.أبو هلالة يفوز بالمركز الأول لجائزة سعود بن نايف لأبحاث السرطان”، الرابط.

• صحيفة الرياض اليومية، 14/4/2014، “وزارتا الصحة والحرس الوطني تقرران بحث الآثار النفسية على مرضى السرطان بالسعودية”، ، الرابط.

• جريدة الغد الأردنية اليومية، 15/4/2014، “أستاذ في مؤتة يفوز بجائزة الأمير سعود لأبحاث السرطان في الوطن العربي”،  الرابط.

… وهناك أيضاً العشرات من المواقع التي نشرت الخبر. هذا رابط لبحث جوجل عن “منير أبو هلالة” جائزة أبحاث السرطان.


An interview with Dr. Munir about the prize on Al-Jazeera Channel:

How to know/find out if a Journal is PubMed-indexed? A link and explanation

PubMed-indexed Journal

You can find out if a journal is PubMed-indexed through the website of PubMed by searching something called “NLM catalog”. This is a link and above is a screen shot of the page. I noticed that you need to place your search terms between quotation marks (” “) in order for the desired journal to appear. Not using quotation marks will result in many unprecise results. I do not know why. For example, I want to search for the following journal: “Archives of Medical Research“.

Without quotations:

94 results and the journal does not appear within the first 20 results (link).

Archives of Medical Research


With quotations:

Three results and the journal’s name appears the first (link)

Archives of Medical Research (2)


Finally, after the journal’s name appears, click on it to move to its page. Look for the “Current Indexing Status“. Next to it, it will be written if the journal is currently indexed or not indexed for MEDLINE. Example of an indexed Journal: Archives of Medical Research (link):

Archives of Medical Research - Currently indexed for MEDLINE

Optical illusion in Qasr al Abd ,`Iraq al Amir, ِAmman, Jordan – خداع بصري داخل قصر العبد، عراق الأمير، عمان، الأردن

These photos were taken on 22/06/2014 inside of Qasr al Abd (literal translation from Arabic: palace of the slave) (Wikipeida article) close to the village of ‘Iraq Al Amir (Wikipedia article), Amman, Jordan.

According to Wikipedia, this palace dates back to almost 200 B.C. In it, I saw the largest building stones in a historical place in Jordan. The next photo gives an indication about how large the stones of this palace are.

A nice tourist serving as a scale for this photo

A nice tourist serving as a scale for this photo


These are general views from inside the palace:

Qasr al Abd Qasr al Abd Qasr al Abd


Inside of the palace, my brother and I did the following “risky” stunt:

Optical illusion inside of Qasr al Abd ,`Iraq al Amir, ِAmman, Jordan خداع بصري داخل قصر العبد، عراق الأمير، عمان، الأردنOptical illusion inside of Qasr al Abd ,`Iraq al Amir, ِAmman, Jordan خداع بصري داخل قصر العبد، عراق الأمير، عمان، الأردن (2)


Concerning the two of me in the above photo, my brother took two photos of me at two different times from almost the same spatial ponit. Therefore, I could put the two photos on top of each other using PowerPoint and then cropped one photo to only show me. Following are the two original photos:

Optical illusion inside of Qasr al Abd ,`Iraq al Amir, ِAmman, Jordan خداع بصري داخل قصر العبد، عراق الأمير، عمان، الأردن


Cropped part

Cropped part

Concerning that my brother and I did a risky stunt, we did not do that because what you see is an optical illusion. Actually, we did not plan that. We just disocvered the illusion while viewing the photos on PC. He and I jumped not from the second floor but from the column in which I am standing on in the second photo. The landing point is not the ground but a continuation of wall. That means a less than meter difference in altitude between the two points. So, it is not as dangerous as it seems. Actually, I do not think it was dangerous at all. Therefore, the next time you happen to pass by Qaser al Abd, you know where and in which position to take a photo.

More photos from our visit:


Ein Sprecher in einer Konferez zum siebten Mal

Heute war ich ein Sprecher in der zweiten jordanischen italienischen Konferenz. Ich bedanke mich sehr für die Organisationskomitee der Konferenz, nämlich Dr. Khaleel Hadadeen, Dr. Hisham Hammam, und Dr. Adel Dabdoub.  Natürlich danke ich auch meinen Professoren und Kollege.

Der Titel der Forschung war “Vitamin D Status among Jordanian Patients with Allergic Rhinits”. Folgend ist Bilder. Das Video des Vortrags ist am Ende:

Dr. Jameel Khaleel Hijazeen الدكتور جميل حجازين Dr. Jameel Khaleel Hijazeen الدكتور جميل حجازين


Proudly a graduate from Mutah University, 2013 Batch. The hand is of a doctor who wanted to ask a question.

Proudly a graduate from Mutah University, 2013 Batch. The hand is of a doctor who wanted to ask a question.


DAAD’s 2015/2016 English Master Programs Scholarships for Jordanians (Two are Medicine-Related out of a Toal of 36 Programs)

DAAD Amman Jordanien
This is a copy-paste from a post published today by DAAD Jordan’s facebook page:

DAAD proudly presents its brand new brochure of its next intake for its Master portfolio “Developing-Related Postgraduate Courses”!!!

The funding line comprises 36 English Master programmes at different German universities in the fields Economic Sciences, Development Cooperation, Engineering,Mathematics, Regional Planning, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Public Health, Social Sciences and Media Studies.
All programmes are open for Jordanian applicants and there is full scholarships available.
Note: Applications have to be directed to the respective university and NOT to the DAAD. All information on the programmes can be found here :
Application deadlines differ from programme to programme but most deadlines are between September and October. Good luck with your application!

Source: DAAD’s Jordan Facebook Page,

Notes from me:

# Prerequisites and Requirements for DAAD scholarhships: Are you eligible for a DAAD scholarship?

# There are only two Medicine-related master programs and they are in Public Health. Their full details are on pages 101-108 of the DAAD’s brochure on You can see the embeded Brochure below starting at page 101 (Master of Science in International Health (Berlin)). Alternatively, you can click here to go directly to page 101 on the Scribd website.


Postgraduate Courses 2015-16 by Daad Amman

Review: Medical Writing: A Guide for Clinicians, Educators, and Researchers

Medical Writing: A Guide for Clinicians, Educators, and Researchers Medical Writing: A Guide for Clinicians, Educators, and Researchers by Robert B. Taylor My rating: 4 of 5 stars




What I most like:
• I did not know that medical writing is also a problem for native speakers. This book quickly gave me this conclusion. In addition, I now know that medical writing is a long process and one need a lot of time and effort to master it. Therefore, it is no wonder, as a non-native English speaker, that I am having problems in writing my first papers. Finally, I also concluded that writing a manuscript could not be finished in few days and by one person (I am not to be blamed then!).
• The book mentions real life examples from published papers. I wished they were more.
• The book have tables that summarize information regarding certain topics. For examples, “The origins of selected medical words,” p. 54. In addition, some common mistakes and corrections. 
• I like the author’s enthusiasm about the Etymology of words. I am a big enthusiast too. I think this is reflected in how detailed the author supports his points of view.

What I most dislike:
• I found many words and expressions in this book very hard to understand. I had to use the dictionary a lot. I would not say that I read a lot in English since years and think my English is good. This is very subjective. In comparison with “English for Writing Research Papers,” by Adrian Wallwork (…), I used the dictionary to look up new words at least 10 times more. I think this is ironic as the author warns against using hard words and expression. Moreover, I think that the greatest majority of those interested to read a book on medical writing would be people with English as their second language. Would it not be a good idea to use simple and commoner words? Examples of hard words include:

– “… Take ear infection, example, which most would describe as a mundane topic…”, p. 13.==> What does mundane means? One of the nice methods advocated by the author is to use the Microsoft Word Thesaurus. I have Microsoft 2010 and it gave me the following suggestions: “Ordinary, dull, routine, every day, commonplace,… among others.” Is not one or two of these words beautiful substitutes?
– “The review article is the Rodney Dangerfield of medical writing. Review articles get no respect, even though, as discussed in Chap. 5, they are often indexed and counted in calculating a journal’s Impact Factor…” To be like Rodney Dongerfiled? I do not have time to look who this person is and what it is supposed to mean if something is like him. This kind of expressions and hard words delayed my reading speed.
– “I think that highest accolades go to those case reports that change what we do in practice. p. 162” Accolades? 

• The title of the book is a little bit different than the content. Although the title contains “medical writing”, the concentration on writing in the book is little. I think that chapter two mostly address tips on writing. I wish that it was longer and it was more detailed. For example, the tables in it that mention wrong and correct pairs are amazing but unfortunately short. Nonetheless, this is somewhat understood as the book provides an overall view of the whole process of what to from what to do in case you had the idea of a research to getting your writing published. Adrian Wallwork’s English for Writing research papers is deficient in this late point, but without argument, much stronger in teaching writing skills. For this purpose, I highly recommend “English for Writing Research Papers”.

• I think that some technical recommendations needs to be updated. For example, the author dangerously says, ” The disadvantages [of EndNote Program] are cost (currently $299 for the full product) and the steep learning curve facing the new user. The program is not “intuitive” and the online instructions are challenging… EndNote software is great for experienced and prolific medical authors, especially if compiling long lists of citations.” However, in my opinion, beginning medical authors should use my more primitive “cut and paste” method, and spend their energy learning how to be better writers.” I think that the time wasted using the traditional “cut and paste” method in a writer’s first research is enough for him to learn using EndNote. However, I understand that the book was written in 2011 and referencing program might not have been famous back then. Moreover, the author wrote in page 7: “Not too many years ago, I was highly dependent on secretarial support; I dictated my articles and made corrections by hand to be changed on computer by my typist.” Therefore, Dr. Taylor reminds me of some old professors of me at medical school who found some “mundane” tasks in computer to be very hard simply because they started using computers at an old age. Finally, there are now many free professional alternatives to EndNote. The most famous one of them in my opinion is Mendely (

To sum up, the book is amazing because it gives a whole overview of the writing and publication process. However, I find some words and expressions in it very hard to quickly understand. I hope that it would be taken into consideration that many non-Native speakers will read such a book. The strongest advantage of this book is that it gives real-life examples from published papers. I hope that more will be given in future editions. Finally, I hope that more concentration will be given to writing skills. View all my reviews