Online course a success

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December 30, 2014 9:06 AM

From registration numbers through to completion rates, Lakeland College’s first massive open online course (MOOC) was a huge success.

Of the 102 people who registered for introduction to mental health, 36 successfully completed the free 14-week online course. It is the first course in mental health practitioner, a new continuing education certificate program.

“It was very successful. From what I’ve read most MOOCs have a completion rate of less than 10 per cent so we were pleased that 35.3 per cent of our students completed the course. They were truly invested in learning more about mental health,” says Melissa Rothwell, program head of the mental health practitioner program. About 90 per cent of the people who didn’t complete the course notified her and explained why they weren’t able to finish.

Students learned about work-related mental illness, mental health in children, youth and older adults, substance abuse, poverty and discrimination. They reviewed new content each week, participated in online discussions and were required to complete an assignment and three exams to pass the course, says Rothwell. The majority of the course content was Canadian.

“The online discussion boards were very active. On average there were about 50 posts every week. Students were very interactive and they were teaching each other too,” says Rothwell. Many students who took the continuing education course work in professions such as nursing, social work, emergency services, human resources and education.

The next two courses in the mental health practitioner program are ethics and law and understanding trauma, which covers topics such as post-traumatic stress, acute stress, childhood trauma, and gender differences and trauma. Introduction to mental health is not a prerequisite for these courses which start Jan. 19 and end March 21.

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