University of Tasmania’s dementia course in most popular 50 online courses

University of Tasmania’s dementia course listed in most popular 50 online courses internationally

The university’s free online course Understanding Dementia has been ranked as one of the top 50 online courses of all time.

It was also listed highest in the health and medical category in the rankings put together by open online course (MOOC) aggregator Class Central.

The nine-week course has drawn over 70,000 people from 170 countries since it began in 2013 and was developed by the University’s Wicking Dementia Research and Education Centre.

Co-director James Vickers said the course had a completion rate of 38 per cent, which is very high for a free online course.

He credited its popularity to its role in offering a forum for people to talk about issues relating to dementia with others involved in either treating the disease or facing it in their own families.

Currently there are over 350,000 people with dementia in Australia, and this number is expected to reach almost a million by 2050.

It has also now surpassed strokes to become our second-leading cause of death after heart disease.

The course content covers three main areas: ‘The Brain’, ‘The Diseases’ and ‘The Person’ with the coursework taking about three hours per week.

Participants also received a free certificate of participation, as well as a record of the notes that they have taken throughout the course.

The Centre has now introduced a second online course called Preventing Dementia, which attracted 11,000 participants to its first intake and will be running again in 2017.

This course will be looking at the latest research into potential risk factors for dementia and whether these can be reduced to lessen the number of dementia cases into the future.

For more information, visit the course website here.

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A special thanks to our contributors

Caroline Egan

DCM Media, agedcare101

Caroline has a wealth of experience writing within the retirement and aged care sector and is a contributing journalist for the and agedcare101 blog and accompanying newsletters.

Ian Horswill


Ian is a journalist, writer and sub-editor for the aged care sector, working at The DCM Group. He writes for The Weekly Source, agedcare101, and the DCM Institute fortnightly newsletter Friday. Ian is in daily contact with CEOs of retirement living, land lease and the aged care operations and makes a new contact every week. He investigates media releases, LinkedIn and Facebook for a good source for ideas for stories.

Lauren Broomham

Retirement and Aged Care Journalist

Lauren is a journalist for, agedcare101 and The Donaldson Sisters. Growing up in a big family in small town communities, she has always had a love for the written word, joining her local library at the age of six months. With over eight years' experience in writing and editing, she is a keen follower of news and current affairs with a nose for a good story.

Jill Donaldson


Jill has been practicing as a clinical physiotherapist for 30 years. For the last 13 years she has worked solely in the Aged Care sector in more than 50 metropolitan and regional facilities. Jill has also toured care facilities in the US and Africa and is a passionate advocate for both the residents in aged care and the staff who care for them. She researches and writes for DCM Media.

Chris Baynes

DCM Media, agedcare101

Chris has been a journalist and publisher in the retirement village and aged care sectors for 11 years. He has visited over 250 retirement villages and 50 aged care facilities both within Australia and internationally. Chris is a regular speaker at industry conferences plus is a frequent radio commentator.

Annie Donaldson

Nurse and Carer

Annie has a long career in both nursing and the media. She has planned and co-ordinated the medical support from both international TV productions and major stadium events. In recent years she has been a primary family carer plus involved in structured carer support.