The University of Tasmania has launched the world’s first Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) devoted to dementia, attracting ‘virtual students’ from more than 30 countries.
The free online course called ‘Understanding Dementia’ has been developed by the Wicking Dementia Research and Education Centre, based in the university’s Faculty of Health Science and already has 3000 students signed up.
MOOCs are the latest trend in open online education, with elite universities from around the world including Harvard, Yale and Princeton offering non-degree courses to an unlimited global enrolment.
Professor Denise Fassett, Dean of the Faculty of Health Science who officially launched the course on Tuesday, said there is strong interest internationally for quality dementia education.
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Students and Education) Professor David Sadler said the MOOC is designed to appeal to a broad range of people including health and aged care staff, policymakers, social scientists, as well as people in the early stages of dementia and their family and carers.
The 11-week comprehensive course has been developed with the goal of providing quality evidence-based information about dementia and the university has also established a pathway for formal recognition of a participant’s MOOC learning, via entry into the University of Tasmania’s degree in Dementia Care.
MOOC co-ordinator Dr Carolyn King said the material is delivered by experts in the field of dementia including neuroscientists, health scientists, clinicians, dementia care professionals, personal carers and people with dementia.
The course is divided into three primary themes: ‘the brain’, ‘the diseases’ and ‘the person’, and includes information about a wide range of topics including basic brain anatomy, dementia research, medical management and palliation.
It is presented in the form of video clips and activities where participants also have an opportunity to share their thoughts with peers online.
Registrations for the ‘Understanding Dementia’ MOOC are now open, with the course due to begin on July 29.
To register for the course see Understanding Dementia.
For more information visit: the UTAS site