MANHATTAN — As access to information on the Internet has increased, so has access to education.
Kansas State University Global Campus is launching its first massive open online course, or MOOC, titled Health and Wellness 101: Everyday Small Changes. This free online course teaches the small, realistic changes that can be made in daily lives to improve health, physical fitness and overall well-being. The first cycle of the course is taught Oct. 6 to Nov. 15, with content remaining open to students until Dec. 12.
The popularity of massive open online courses, which allow access to online courses without the tuition, has been growing steadily.
“MOOCs can reach people anywhere around the world in an efficient and asynchronous manner, making them ideal for outreach education in ways the traditional classroom can’t achieve,” said Linda Yarrow, assistant professor of human nutrition at Kansas State University.
When Diana Wilson, a registered dietitian and Kansas State University alumna, expressed interest in offering a massive open online course, she and Yarrow started investigating how to make it happen. Yarrow led the development team for the course and will teach its first cycle this fall. As an experienced instructor of online classes through K-State Global Campus, she always looks for new and entertaining ways to educate people.
“K-State does not currently have a MOOC, so this is a new concept for many people,” Yarrow said. “K-State Global Campus got excited about the idea of exploring new ways to educate and supported us in the startup.”
Health and Wellness 101 includes six modules containing fun, engaging activities, including videos and interactive games. It also uses message boards for student communication and weekly real-time chats with a registered dietitian to discuss how students can apply what they are learning to their own lives. Topics include meal planning, healthy cooking, body image, physical activity, substance abuse, stress management and other helpful information for living a healthy lifestyle.
Yarrow says the massive open online course process encourages instructors to be creative and innovative in their educational offerings and presents the opportunity to make a positive difference on a global scale.
“Developing a Health and Wellness MOOC with the potential of improving lives and health outcomes for all individuals clearly meets the mission of both K-State and the university’s human nutrition department: To discover, disseminate and apply knowledge to promote improved food choices, nutritional status and well-being of people,” Yarrow said. “We are very excited about the future possibilities and the opportunity to continue to promote K-State in a unique way via MOOCs.”
To find out more about this course or to register, visit http://global.k-state.edu/health4you.
(Editor’s note: Reprinted from News and Communications Services’s article published Aug. 28, 2014.)