Menu Search

MOOC to tackle Dementia 2020 Challenge back by popular demand

"We wanted people to look at those living with dementia as a person with feelings, hopes and dreams" David Robertshaw

Date posted: 8 February 2016

The University of Derby’s Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) titled ‘Bridging the Dementia Divide’ is back by popular demand after the University received high levels of requests to run the course again.

The MOOC was originally launched in July 2015 to tackle the Dementia 2020 Challenge set by Prime Minister David Cameron to improve care and reduce unnecessary hospital admissions for people living with dementia.

MOOCs are short, free courses run by major learning providers to share their knowledge of a particular academic topic.  

MOOCs have been known for poor retention rates but University of Derby Online Learning (UDOL) defied the trend, significantly exceeding the industry retention rate. The average retention rate is typically 5-8% but ‘Bridging the Dementia Divide' surpassed this by achieving 35.48% retention, attracting more than 3,500 learners from Australia and the Philippines to Aruba.

Rodney Coleman from Perth Western Australia, took part in the Bridging the Dementia Divide course, as his mother was recently diagnosed with slight on-set dementia.

He said: “This course has made a difference to my understanding of dementia and has helped me to better manage the care for my mother.

“Studying online was new to me so I was a little apprehensive in the beginning however, once I got my disciplines right, albeit, I had more time on some days than others but, I was able to manage it well. I also found the interaction online with other students very helpful.”

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.

David Robertshaw, Course Instructor and Academic Lead for Health and Social Care at UDOL, said: “We wanted people to look at those living with dementia as a person with feelings, hopes and dreams rather than just look at them as the person down the hall with dementia and leave them be.

“Bridging the Dementia Divide has made a considerable impact in the health care sectors, which has resulted in over 1,000 health and social care professionals and the general public showing a substantial interest in us running another course.

“As a result of the MOOC, the team were invited to a reception at Westminster by Pauline Latham, OBE, Conservative MP for mid-Derbyshire, to further discuss how our MOOC approach could tackle other long-term health care issues, building on the NHS approach to tackle other long term conditions, using existing and new care models to provide a platform for innovation and service transformation.”

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, culturally and economically, 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.

The MOOC has been developed by the University’s Academic Innovation Hub and UDOL in conjunction with the University’s College of Health and Social Care.

For further press information please contact Jenny McNicholas, University of Derby Press Officer, on 01332 592279 or email: J.McNicholas@derby.ac.uk

 Dementia mooc