Student Spotlight: Human Reproduction with Rhaneela Punitham

Meet University of Adelaide student, Rhaneela Punitham.

She is in her final year of university, studying a Bachelor of Health Sciences/Bachelor of Mathematical and Computer Sciences, with majors in microbiology/immunology, pharmacology and statistics.

She is also a student co-creator in the upcoming Sex and Human Reproduction MOOC, working collaboratively with AdelaideX, Professor Mario Ricci and other members of the Sex101x course team. The course is set to launch on July 12, and is currently open for enrolments.

We chatted to Rhaneela about her involvement with the course, her future aspirations, and what she thinks is the biggest misconception about human reproduction.


What made you want to be part of the Sex101X MOOC?

Rhaneela: There are so many reasons that made me want to be a part of Sex101x. The reason that stands out most is that sex and reproduction is a topic that makes a lot of people uncomfortable, so being able to use the edX platform as a way to delve into the topic to educate people on a global scale really drew me to the project.

Prior to joining, I also knew a lot of the academics and researchers on the Sex101x team, so as an undergraduate, being able to work collaboratively with them was a once in a lifetime opportunity I just couldn’t resist.


What have you learned during the process of making the MOOC? 

Rhaneela: The amount of effort behind the scenes was astounding. We had an academic team, production team and student team that all contributed towards every aspect of the MOOC, and at the beginning of the process I never could have imagined how much work it would be but also how much fun I would have. It was a wonderfully massive effort to refine the topic of sex and reproduction into 6 weeks of content, ensuring that the information we were releasing was at a level that people with varying educational and cultural backgrounds would understand.

The entire process taught me that working in a big team requires compromise and that speaking up when you have an idea or an opinion almost always adds value.


In your opinion, what is the biggest misconception about human reproduction?

Rhaneela: I think a common misconception is that taking the contraceptive pill prevents the spread of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), when in reality condoms, which are physical barrier contraceptives, are the most effective method (apart from abstinence) to prevent spread.


Who would you recommend the Sex101x course to?

Rhaneela: Anyone and everyone! The best thing about health-related courses, specifically Sex101x, is that everyone has a reproductive system, so everyone will find this MOOC fascinating and relatable!

I would highly recommend Sex101x to anyone who is interested in human health or those who want to work in the sexual health field.


Going forward, what are your career aspirations?

Rhaneela: I am really passionate about health on a big scale, so going forward I would really like to work in the health care system whether that be working in biotechnology, healthcare consulting or using my statistics skills to model chronic and infectious diseases – there are so many opportunities and I can’t wait to get out there and see what I can do and where I can go!


Want to hear more from Rhaneela?

Join Rhaneela and the rest of the Sex101x course team in the Sex and Human Reproduction MOOC.

In this foundation course, you will learn about sex and reproduction by exploring the underlying biology, the most common myths, and the latest medical advances.

Enrol here.

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