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The swiftly rising prevalence of dementia is one of the most significant health, social and economic issues facing the world. The global challenge of dementia will require innovative solutions to improve the lives of people with dementia and their carers. Dementia will also have substantial impacts in other areas of society, from how we construct our built environment and make our communities ‘dementia-inclusive’, through to service industries who increasingly have interactions with people with cognitive impairment.

The breadth unit will involve access and participation in the Understanding Dementia Massive Open Online Course (MOOC). This dementia MOOC is one of the most highly rated online courses internationally and brings together a global community of learners with a common interest in dementia. Through XBR121, you will hear from international leaders from the Wicking Centre and universities across Australia and internationally on dementia, and you will also develop insight into the lived experience and clinical dimensions of dementia from individuals with this condition, carers and related health professionals.

Through XBR121, you will develop dementia literacy skills, which will be essential as a starting point for tackling the broad range of ramifications of the increasing numbers of people with dementia world-wide. The three modules of XBR121 include a focus on the diseases that cause this condition and issues around diagnosis and clinical management. In addition, the unit explores the individual experience of dementia, how we develop dementia-friendly communities and the evidence for the best models of care.  XBR121 captures the learnings and reflections of participants in this global learning community.

Your learning experiences will include presentations from leading experts in dementia, gamified learning of core concepts of brain structure and function, focussed discussion topics and the opportunity to engage in a global community of learners interested in dementia.

Assessment tasks are designed to assess development of dementia literacy and to use this knowledge to critically analyse media presentations of dementia and to conceptualise social and health care interventions to improve the quality of life of people with dementia and their carers.

Summary 2020

Unit name The Global Challenge of Understanding Dementia
Unit code XBR121
Credit points 12.5
Faculty/School College of Health and Medicine
Wicking Dementia Research & Education Centre
Discipline Wicking Dementia Research & Education Centre

Tony Cook

Teaching staff

Various staff associated with the Understanding Dementia MOOC. Staff of the College of Arts, Law and Education.

Available as student elective? No
Breadth Unit? Yes



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Mutual Exclusions

You cannot enrol in this unit as well as the following:



Teaching Pattern


  • Online quizzes (15%)
  • Posting to online discussion board (5%)
  • Critical Analysis (35%, 1500 words)
  • PowerPoint presentation (45%)
TimetableView the lecture timetable | View the full unit timetable



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