Understanding Dementia February 2020

Enrol in Course


The Understanding Dementia MOOC was developed by the Wicking Dementia Research and Education Centre based in the College of Health and Medicine at the University of Tasmania.

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, over 200,000 people have enrolled in the course from all around the world. We are pleased that you have joined them to learn about the diseases that cause dementia, how the condition affects the person with dementia, and how we can provide the best quality care.

At any time over the coming weeks you will be able to log in to engage with the course content and activities, and share perspectives with other participants. The course is scheduled to close on 1st May, 2020 at 5:00pm AEST.

To get the most out of this experience, you should expect to spend approximately 3 hours per week completing the course activities for the 7 weeks of scheduled content. The additional 3 weeks that the course is open is to allow you to catch up or revisit content.

The release of course content will occur at 9:00am (AEST) on the following dates - 

  • Module 1: Orientation - 18th February, 2020
  • Module 2: The Brain - 20th February, 2020
  • Module 3: The Diseases - 5th March, 2020
  • Module 4: The Person - 19th March, 2020
  • Module 5: Completion - 9th April, 2020

You can work through the content at your own pace within this release schedule, including revisiting earlier released content. 

Once you have completed the course, you will be eligible to download a free personalised certificate of completion. We also offer paid enhanced certificates and lapel pins in addition to the free certificate option. There will be more information about this in the Completion module.

We look forward to your contribution, as an important member of the Understanding Dementia community.

Course Outline

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



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 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

Frequently Asked Questions