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Course Review! Re-thinking aging, are we prepared to live longer?

Since I have finished my formal studies at university, I have really enjoyed signing up for free online courses and attending seminars and lectures in Copenhagen. Currently, I am participating in an massive online open course (MOOC) from the University of Melbourne on the topic of Re-thinking aging:  are we prepared to live longer? The free course is offered through Coursera, one of my go-to platforms for MOOCs and online learning. This course started the last week in April and runs for 5 weeks. It requires 2-5 hours per week to watch the video lectures, answer short questions, provide the weekly assignment (that takes about an hour itself) and to peer-review your classmates’ answers. I tend to watch the videos during my yoga time 🙂

You can read more about the course and sign up for future offerings at: https://www.coursera.org/learn/ageing/home/welcome

We were encouraged to keep a journal or blog about our journey through the course, particularly to note where our opinions and ideas have changed from the beginning of the course to the end. I thought this would be a great opportunity to share the course information and my opinions with you – a bit more than my typical review 🙂

Overall, I enjoyed this course. Having a professional degree in Gerontology and having specialized in gerontechnology during my PhD, not a lot of this content was new to me, but I still found many valuable insights. For example, the information and work on design and planning was really interesting and provided a slightly different perspective on the physical layout and architecture of spaces than my work on smart homes did. And the information on economics is always useful to me (financial stuff just doesn’t stick in my brain as well as other information about aging). Finally, some of the really insight-provoking activities were the backcasting – where you think about what your life will be like when you are a certain age or what you envision for future self. Somehow, it seems easier to imagine what I would want my life to be like then, in order to take steps now to work towards that – gives some concrete ideas and goals which I have started to put in place already!

The social aspects of this course were not as strong as in other courses I had taken, and I got the impression that there were not many participants, judging by the number of comments in the discussion forums. In other courses, there can be long and detailed discussions, all kinds of additional topics organically spring up, and people connect with one another (including outside of the course forum) to share ideas, readings, etc. But, I did connect with 2-3 fellow learners and shared my email with them. One will be coming to Copenhagen from the US this summer to study technologies for aging, and I really hope she contacts me to meet up while she is here!

You can click on each of the links below to go to the week’s topic and read my coursework and ideas. I would really enjoy your opinions and insights in the comments, please share what you think!

Week 1: Worldwide Population Aging Trends

Week 2: Lifelong participation

Week 3: Planning and design for an aging population

Week 4: Economics of ageing

Week 5:  Ageing well

 

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