The power of exercise + the power of the internet = #PEPA16

1- Ann Gates Gym Ball (3)

Ann Gates a.k.a. @exerciseworks

I have a lot to share this morning, but I am writing an intro to a guest blog post…and so I shall be brief.

I’ve got ‘exercise on the brain’ of late.  We’re only three weeks away from the beginning of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) Annual Meeting and the coincident 7th World Congress on Exercise is Medicine taking place in Boston, which I’ll be attending.  Here at CJSM, we just released our May issue which features a couple of highly discussed research studies:  a meta-analysis on physical activity and the risk of lung cancer and an RCT on the effect of rock climbing on low back pain.

And to top it off, I’ve ‘met’ Ann Gates, founder and CEO of Exercise Works, aka @exerciseworks for those of you, like me, who have followed that Twitter handle for years. Last week I noticed on that feed an announcement that Exercise Works would hold a MOOC this summer — ‘Physiotherapy, Exercise and Physical Activity’ #PEPA16. And it starts July 4 2016.

What is a MOOC you say? What exactly will go on in #PEPA16?

Let’s hear from Ann.

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#PEPA16? It sounds like a rock group… but it’s a mission.

It’s a passion. It’s an opportunity to support health care professionals interested in exercise medicine and disease: from Africa to Afghanistan, doctors to community outreach workers, and to embed physical activity into making every contact count, every consult.

So what’s a MOOC, and what’s happening this summer? A MOOC is a massive, open online, course run by expert educational organizations (in this case Physiopedia). It’s also a unique opportunity to learn, participate, contribute, engage, and share on a global scale! The excitement of it all is that the course has been designed and evaluated to deliver high quality learning outcomes on the role of physical activity in health. It provides a global, level playing field, to gain knowledge on the health benefits of exercise and chronic disease prevention and treatment. It’s also the final part (phew!) of my three year project to change the way we educate health care professionals in prevention medicine (in this case using exercise as a medicine).

I set out in 2014, to disrupt the way in which physical activity medical education is delivered. I wanted most of all to open up the opportunities to all, and to deliver learning and implementation science of physical activity opportunities, into everyday patient care. We’ve achieved this for doctors and health care professionals in the UK- but I wanted to take this global, and provide educational support for all, in any country, for any health care professional interested in learning more about the benefits of physical activity in health.

So, #PEPA16 is the result. A global, online, “rocking”, opportunity to care and share the knowledge, that indeed, exercise is best medicine! Join us, this summer, and please register here.

What’s in the #PEPA16 MOOC Resources? Read more of this post

Q: What is a MOOC?

A:  A “Massive Open On-line Course.”

Have you ever taken one?

I’m enrolled in one right now:  “Exercise Physiology:  Understanding the Athlete Within,”   taught by Professor Mark Hargreaves from the University of Melbourne.  I think it is the fourth MOOC I’ve ever taken, and it is the first one that has any direct relation to my profession.  The course began last week, and I was able to do most of my lecture viewing this past weekend.  While my kids are enjoying their summer vacation at an overnight camp, I’m back in school!

Before I get much further, I suppose I should spend a moment describing, at least in my terms, what a MOOC is, most especially for those folks that ticked “No” in the poll above.

Massive Open On-line Courses (MOOCs) have been around now for a few years.  I believe there are several providers, the largest ones being Coursera and edX.   One can better understand the nature of a MOOC by deconstructing the phrase itself:  MOOCs are typically ‘massive’ (they have large enrollments);  ‘open’ (they are typically free, and enrolling is a matter of  simply ‘signing up’); ‘on line’  (you’ll need internet access); courses (they are educational sessions which last for several weeks, and include syllabi, lectures, assignments).

edX describes itself on its twitter home page thus: “A global community committed to bringing quality education to everyone across the globe through an innovative MOOC platform–founded by Harvard and MIT.” Read more of this post

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