Understanding Dementia

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What is the Understanding Dementia MOOC?

The University of Tasmania’s Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), Understanding Dementia, is an easily accessible online course that builds upon the latest in international research on dementia. It’s free and anyone can enrol.

The ageing of human populations across the globe has contributed to dementia being identified as one of the public health issues of the 21st century. The MOOC curriculum addresses this health issue by drawing upon the expertise of neuroscientists, clinicians and dementia care professionals from both within the Wicking Dementia Research and Education Centre, and beyond.

Since 2013, 140,000 people have enrolled in the course from more than 180 countries.

To obtain the most from this course, participants should expect to spend approximately 3 hours per week engaging with the content and completing related course activities. The 7 weeks of scheduled content is accessible across 9 weeks, with the additional 2 weeks providing time to catch up on (or review), content. After completing the final quizzes for all three units of the course: ‘The Brain’, ‘The Diseases’ and ‘The Person’, participants will be eligible to download a certificate of completion, as well as a record of the notes that they have taken throughout the course.

Course Outline

A background on basic brain anatomy and function

The Brain

The Brain provides background content on basic nervous system anatomy and function, followed by a discussion of the diseases that cause dementia, current dementia research and future directions.

  • Nervous system anatomy
  • Anatomy with Body Central
  • Pathology of dementia
  • Future directions of dementia research
Explores the differences between dementia and normal ageing

The Diseases

The Diseases explores differences between normal ageing and dementia, risk factors, issues surrounding diagnosis, as well as medical management.

  • Difference between normal ageing and dementia
  • Risk factors for dementia
  • Domains of dementia
  • Diagnosis of dementia
  • Younger onset dementia
  • Stages of dementia and focusing support
  • Medical management
The course addresses the difficulties in recognising symptoms, progression and staging of the disease and also what it is like to live with dementia

The Person

The Person addresses difficulties in recognising symptoms, living with dementia, palliation, pain, dementia friendly communities, dementia inclusive design, and non-pharmacological therapies.

  • Insidious onset of dementia
  • Living with dementia
  • Dementia palliation
  • Non-pharmacological therapies
  • Behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia
  • Pain and dementia
  • Advanced dementia symptoms and management
  • Dementia friendly communities
  • Dementia inclusive design