A MOOC, an ‘End of Life Care’ MOOC. Yes! I’ll do an online course with the University of Glasgow.
I did. If you’re considering it I hope this review will either get you moving or stop you in your tracks! It’s being offered again in February 2020.
Time commitment: 12-20 hours or as much as you want to commit
End of Life Care, challenges and innovation. What was good?
The End of Life Care academics are knowledgeable. Even better the community of learners brings rich perspectives, from social work, palliative care, aged care, personal experience, gerontology, general medical practice, the arts, community health and policy.
The course introduces key aspects of contemporary death literacy: what is meant by end of life today; community oriented initiatives such as Death Café and Compassionate Communities; assisted dying; personal options at end of life, including funerals.
One area of study struck me as most thought provoking – ‘rational suicide in old age’. Worldwide, it is the most common suicide demographic when chronically ill, and many consider it. The ethical issues raised are not dissimilar to assisted dying, but other concerns came to the fore for many learners.
What might not be as satisfying for some learners?
End of Life Care is an academic course, not a practical introduction to end of life care. The central discipline is sociology with some interdisciplinary elements especially from Palliative Care and Community Development. However the perspectives from the many different learners introduced some practice aspects.
The case studies are very much U.K. and somewhat Commonwealth focused. Interesting that there was little attention to fantastic academic and community work in Australia and the U.S.
The course is minimally moderated so there’s no great opportunity to explore subject matter in depth.
For those in Victoria, NSW and WA where there has been long and sophisticated debate on assisted dying this theme was presented in a tentative and hypothetical way.
Summary, End of Life Care, MOOC
Do it if you’d like to upskill in death literacy. It’s free, provides some great readings and a network of serious learners.