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MOOC Review: Nutrition and Physical Activity for Health

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Provider: Coursera (USA) [course page]
Lecturers: Amy D. Rickman, Ph.D., RD, LDN, John M. Jakicic, Ph.D.
Subject: Health
Delivery: Intake-based asynchronous study 
Completion Date: 08/25/2013

Description: This course discusses the links between nutrition and physical activity in achieving health outcomes by way of 10-20 minute videos and a quiz for each of the eleven modules covered over the 6 week intake period. This is followed by a final exam. The quizzes count for 25% of the marks, while the final exam counts for 75%. A result of 90% result in a certificate of achievement with distinction. A pass is a result of 80%.

Strengths: The course videos were well-structured and accompanied by PDF of the slides. The bulk of the course readings were freely available online, predominantly USA government nutritional and physical activity guidelines in PDF format. Being able to download the readings to later read on my iPad was a real plus. The pieces of the recommended text were shown in the slides, and when they weren’t there was an alternate source for the information.
The quizzes were relevant, and often required the participant to remember information covered in previous modules. Even though I was lucky to use half of the allocated time to complete the final exam, I can see how others might need 2 hours to complete it. Given that many MOOC participants have English as a second language rather than a primary and that some may also have a disability, the extra time does make it possible for them to be tested on knowledge rather than literacy or physicality. Having three shots at the final exam was also quite helpful when you consider the sort of technical issues that might arise in the middle of an exam.
Weaknesses: The lecturers felt automated at times, obviously reading off of a script. This is not a reflection on the quality of the material being read though.

Conclusion: I came into this course a few weeks late. As my first introduction to a MOOC of any kind, I was rather curious about how I would deal with the method of delivery and the long absence since studying. Thankfully, the lecturers paced the materials in a way that gave me time to actually digest the information. Best of all, I came out of the course more knowledgeable.

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Author: keikomushi

Reader, Writer, New Media Buff, Anime Fangirl, Gnome Hunter, Last Action Femme Fatale, Appreciator of Nature, Jack-of-all-trades.

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