Recently, I have been filling my spare time (when not binging on Netflix…) with completing short courses relating to nutrition. As a health blogger and a science student with a keen interest in nutrition, it is very important to me that any education that I undertake has been supported by a proper academic institution, but I wasn’t sure what, if anything, I would find online. I noticed that the Open University has a library of free short courses, and then was recommended the FREE Aberdeen University’s Nutrition and Wellbeing course, run through Future Learn (fun fact: Aberdeen was my second choice uni so I could have been blogging from way up north instead of Wales and Germany!).
Unlike the OU courses, which you can start as and when you like, the Future Learn courses all have set start dates and take you through the course week by week in order to create a more interactive experience as you and others complete the work. For this course, there is an estimated 3 hours worth of work. You can work through the course much quicker, or take your time to read the suggested further resources to deepen your knowledge.
The course features articles, videos and forums, with each section headed by an Aberdeen researchers and nutrition experts. Each week is divided into sections, starting with nutritional basics, and moving onto food choices, disease and learning to sift fad from fact. The course assumes that you have no prior knowledge or nutritional training, which means that the course doesn’t going into really great depth, but keeps it very accessible. The comment section in each page gives course members a chance to discuss topics, offer suggestions and share knowledge, which I thought was a very valuable part of the course. It was really interesting to read other people’s thoughts and see where everyone else was in their health journey.
Whilst doing these short courses won’t give you any qualifications (although you can purchase a certificate of completion, which may be of value if you are applying for a relevant training course), they give you scientifically-backed information to help widen your understanding and help you potentially improve your own health. With so many online courses offering to make you a “nutritionalist” or so-called expert, this course only offers to help you understand the scientific basis behind nutrition, which to me is far more responsible.
I would love to see slightly longer courses that go into more depth but don’t necessarily demand that you undertake an entire degree. Something like a three month long course that perhaps acts as a platform for people wanting to study further, or even looking to take a full degree but needing a foundation course to make them eligible.