EDUCATION. Sahlgrenska Academy has now produced its first open online course as part of a university-wide project aimed at anyone interested in physical activity. The course provides basic knowledge about changes in lifestyle and how to scientifically measure physical activity.
The course is called “Lifestyle Habits – an Introduction to Physical Activity and Health” and is held in English. It consists of three different modules. The first module provides basic knowledge of the health benefits of physical activity, the second module is about behavioral changes, and the last module teaches the best way to measure physical activity.
Aimed at a broad public
The course has been developed over the past year by a group of employees at the Center for Health and Performance (CHP), a university-wide center of research run by the Department of Food and Nutrition and Sport Science and Sahlgrenska Academy. Both senior and junior researchers developed the course. For the doctoral students, this has really topped off their doctoral studies, since developing the modules has allowed them to apply and present their knowledge. One of these doctoral students is Frida Nilsson, who has focused on the first basic course module.
“I enjoyed working with the course material. It is a very fun initiative, and a good way to enable the research and make it available to the public.”
Gradually more advanced
The course consists of several short, filmed lectures and reading material. All the material has been fact-checked, but once the course is launched, the initial period will be a trial period for the course’s animations. The three modules end with automatically corrected test that must be passed to move on to the next module.
“The course gets more advanced with each step. The last part is about how physical activity is measured, which offers more detail. Understanding how to best measure different forms of physical activity is very much a topical issue for us researchers as well. Although care professionals are not the primary target group, we see the advantage of staff prescribing physical activity understanding the opportunities and pitfalls of measuring physical activity,” says Mats Börjesson, a professor of Sports Physiology at Sahlgrenska Academy and one of the directors of the Center for Health and Performance (CHP) and the subject matter expert responsible for the DURK lifestyle habits project.
Potential to expand
This course is Sahlgrenska Academy’s contribution to the Sharing Culture for Education, Recruitment and Knowledge Development (DURK) project at the University of Gothenburg, where each faculty has been tasked with developing an open online course. More of these courses are now complete and are available in an external version of Canvas, which does not require the users to have an account.
Daniel Wennerlund has served as a local project manager for the course at CHP, providing coordination and technical support: “Our aim was to develop a concept. We held joint workshops that resulted in deliberately choosing to present the course at a basic level, with the intention of it being easy to scale up by adding more modules. We already have a lot of material that we stripped off during our work on the course that can be included if we later expand the course.”
Final report soon
The DURK project intends to develop models and structures for open, online and free-of-charge education. Its purpose is to strengthen the University’s relevance as a force in society and to develop forms of cooperation between academia and society.
“The focus on open online courses for the public is fully in line with the University of Gothenburg’s mission, goals and strategies for promoting lifelong learning, expanding recruitment to underserved communities, and expanding participation,” says Pauli Kortteinen, Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Education.
So far, the DURK project has been financed through funds from the Government’s initiative to support distance education and increase open courses at higher education institutions. The project will be evaluated at the end of the year, and its working group will submit suggestions for how to progress.
“Based on the final report from DURK, we will consider whether, how and to what extent funding will be allocated to continue developing and marketing these courses in the spring of 2022,” says Pauli Kortteinen.
These courses are currently available through the DURK project:
- Independent Film Making, Rhythm
- Sustainable Development through Tourism and Events
- Lifestyle Habits – an Introduction to Physical Activity and Health
- The Problem of Antibiotic Resistance
- Teaching and Learning About Sustainability
- Toolbox for Sustainable Studies
BY: ELIN LINDSTRÖM