In Summary

A free course that will assist parents, families and carers who live and work with individuals on the autism spectrum will be launched at Swinburne University of Technology in April 2015. 

Running for six weeks, the MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) will use a unique scenario-based learning approach, which draws on the stories and experiences of individuals, carers and experts in the field. 

“We’re not aiming to educate people about the theory of Autism,” said Swinburne Associate Professor Mike Grimley. 

“Our hope is that the course will equip participants with skills and tools that will make a difference to their lives, or to the lives of those individuals who know someone with Autism.” 

Using the scenario-based learning approach, the course will emphasise that there is not one correct way to approach different situations with individuals on the autism spectrum and will instead provide a range of solutions for better social, emotional and educational outcomes. 

Swinburne Lecturer in Education, Emma L. Donaldson, said that the online nature of the course would allow people from anywhere in the world to participate. 

“The online and flexible design of the course will enable people who may not easily be able to get to in-person seminars or paid courses the opportunity to connect with other individuals who have similar experiences through the open and free platform.” 

Swinburne Lecturer Dr Joseph Voros, an early registrant and member of the stakeholder steering group has a dual interest in the course- as an academic interested in MOOCs, and also as a parent of a child with Autism. 

Dr Voros said that he is always looking for ideas and insights for dealing more effectively with the day-to-day reality of Autism. 

“When parents of special needs children meet other such parents, there is a sense of comradeship and shared experience that is difficult for others to fully understand. 

“While expert knowledge is obviously important, it is also often the ‘stories from the trenches’ shared with other parents or carers that can be just as useful.” 

Commencing in April this year, the free course will use a combination of real-world shared knowledge, combined with the latest expert opinion and current research. 

Community members interested in participating in the Autism MOOC can register for the course here.

If you have an experience with Autism that you would like to share, you can contact the Autism MOOC team

For more information on the course, including workload and teaching delivery, contact the Autism MOOC team.