MOOC Courses: Weeks 2 & 3

Course 01: Nutrition & Physical Activity for Health Weeks 2 & 3.

What we have learned so far:

  • Week 2, Module 3: Macronutrient Considerations, Carbohydrates.
  • Week 2, Module 4: Macronutrient Considerations, Proteins.
  • Week 3, Module 5: Macronutrient Considerations, Fats.
  • Week 3, Module 6: Vitamins.

I did not fully appreciate just how much I had either forgotten or plainly did not know. My British Army fitness instructor (class three) course taught me the very basics of carbohydrates, proteins and fats, with a cursory glance at vitamins.

Course 02: Exercise Physiology Weeks 1 & 2.

What we have learned so far:

  • Week 1, Module 1: Muscles (muscle contraction and energetics; muscle fibre types, recruitment and performance; and muscle adaptations to exercise).
  • Week 2, Module 2: Fuels (fuel for exercise; carbohydrate metabolism during exercise; and fat metabolism during exercise).

There is a marked difference between course 01 & 02. Course 02 goes way above anything I did at secondary school or with the Army, and to be honest it is a challenge. It is positioned as an “upper undergraduate” module, in contrast to Course 01 which is trying to cater to a wider audience (or lower common denominator).

Whereas Course 01 provides a basic and rounded understanding, Course 02 goes in depth with scientific principles and terms. Also, Course 01 lectures last approximately 15 minutes and can be watched once. However, Course 02 lectures last approximately 50-60 minutes and require repeat viewing in order for me to digest and comprehend what is being explained.

Another difference is the integrated quizzes. Course 01 has a quiz at the end of each module (all 12 quizzes provide 10% of final score) and can be taken up to 100 times (yes!). In contrast Course 02 has quizzes with each module that do not contribute to the final score (and can also be taken up to 100 times). Course 02 has two graded quizzes (end of weeks 2 & 4) which contribute 10% each of the final score, non-timed but one chance only. That said, lucky me is about to do the week 2 graded quiz (wish me luck).

Discussion Forums

Both courses provide discussion forums (an integral element of MOOCs) for interaction between students and lecturers. Engagement on both courses is good, with Course 01 having over 64 pages at the last count.

The good points of the forums is that students can:

  • Ask questions to other students and lecturers;
  • Gain answers from students and lecturers;
  • Share sources and references; and
  • Share experiences of eating and exercise habits.

The downside of forums is:

  • The large number of duplicate forums talking about the same topic/subject;
  • The negative comments delivered in a poor or derogatory manner;
  • That students share answers (which is forbidden) rather discussing principles and terms etc; and
  • That students can post anonymously (they are usually the negative people).

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