University Launches MOOC to Bridge the Dementia Divide

The University of Derby has launched a new free Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) titled ‘Bridging the Dementia Divide’ to inform family members who want to care for someone living with dementia and as a continuing professional development (CPD) tool for health and social care professionals.

The MOOC will be introduced from July 13, 2015 and has been developed by the University’s Academic Innovation Hub and University of Derby Online Learning (UDOL) in conjunction with the University’s College of Health and Social Care.

MOOCs are short, free courses run by major learning providers to share their knowledge of a particular academic topic or to help students develop a specific skill.

An estimated 850,000 people in the UK are living with dementia and 670,000 people act as primary carers for them. Dementia costs the UK economy an estimated £26.3bn or £32,250 per person per year, comprising social care, health care and unpaid carers. While there is no cure for many forms of dementia, it is possible to improve lives and save costs.

Course Instructor and Academic Lead for Health and Social Care at UDOL, David Robertshaw, said: “Dementia is a syndrome, usually of a chronic or progressive nature, caused by a variety of brain illnesses that affect memory, thinking, behaviour and ability to perform everyday activities.

“The number of people living with dementia worldwide is currently estimated at 47.5 million and is projected to increase to 75.6 million by 2030. The number of cases of dementia is estimated to more than triple by 2050. Dementia is overwhelming, not only for the people who have it, but also for their caregivers and families.

“There is a lack of awareness and understanding of dementia in many countries, resulting in stigmatisation and barriers to diagnosis and care, impacting caregivers, families and societies physically, psychologically and economically. This course provides a platform for people to come together to make the world a better place for people living with dementia.”

David is a UK Nursing and Midwifery Council Registered Nurse with a background in adult acute care. He maintains strong links with practice and local hospitals, and is Programme Leader for three programmes at UDOL including: BSc (Hons) Nursing Studies top up, MSc Integrative Health and Social Care and a University Advanced Diploma in Dementia Care.

This self-paced six-week free course will help individuals learn how to improve the lives of people with dementia, adopting a person-centred and integrated approach.

The units include:

  • introduction to dementia
  • communication and compassion
  • independence, control and quality of life
  • dementia as a global health priority
  • integrating care
  • end of life care.

This course is suitable for anybody who is interested in dementia and its effects on society, culture and economics, including health and social care professionals, policy makers and families of people with dementia. It will enable learners to develop a better understanding of communication and compassion and how to help the person living with dementia to maintain independence, control and a good quality of life.

Munib Hadi, Head of the Innovation Hub at the University of Derby, added: “One of the primary reasons we undertook the MOOCs project was to reduce the barriers to Higher Education and give a flavour of the high-quality teaching on offer at UDOL. As part of our open education strategy, our courses have no prerequisite requirements.

“Even though they are free courses, University of Derby MOOCs have gone through a similar quality review process as our paid for courses. This ensures our MOOC learners get a quality learning experience.

“Typical retention for MOOCs is around 5%. At the University of Derby we believe the traditional methods of calculating retention are obsolete in the MOOCs context due to the free and drop in/drop out nature of some of these courses. A great deal of learners who log on to MOOCs do learn but don’t have the time to complete a typical six to eight weeks course.

“With this in mind we are developing tools and mechanisms around our proposed MOOCs to record these micro learning achievements. As part of this approach, our learners will be able to gain digital open badges even if they are completing part of the course. This would interest learners who enrol on MOOCs to learn about specific aspects of a course but are not interested or don’t have time to complete the whole course.”

The University has also launched a second MOOC titled Digital Me: Managing Your Digital Self, which will be launched on July 6 and is aimed at anyone wanting to manage their digital presence and profile.

All MOOCs will be delivered through Canvas Network, the second largest provider of free online courses in the world. Canvas Network specialise in delivering MOOCs to learners all over the world, helping to break barriers to learning, efficiently, safely and responsibly.

Upon completion of the courses an E-Certificate will be issued as evidence. Enrolment opens on the June 10, 2015, for more information go to:

The University of Derby will be implementing more free MOOCs from November 2015.

The University of Derby Online Learning (UDOL) is the thriving distance learning division of the University of Derby.













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