Guest post: Free online course now open!


Along with a great team from the Menzies Institute for Medical Research at the University of Tasmania (Australia) and Multiple Sclerosis Ltd., I have spent the past year building a 6-week online course about MS for the MS community and the general public. The course, entitled “Understanding MS”, has recently opened for enrolments and will begin on Monday 29 April 2019.

The course presents up-to-date, evidence-based information about many aspects of MS in videos, animations, and text. Over six weeks, it discusses issues ranging from the underlying biology of MS to the effect of MS on everyday life. But the course is not purely academic. It also highlights the many perspectives of the MS community. A diverse group, including people living with MS, their family and carers, service providers, allied health professionals, neurologists and researchers, have helped to shape this course. They share their experiences with MS in videos throughout the course.

Taking the course is free. It is open to everyone and anyone with an internet connection—via smartphone, tablet, or computer—can access the course. The course is broken down into six one-week modules covering the following topics:

  1. Biology and Pathology
  2. Symptoms and Diagnosis
  3. Demographics and Risk
  4. Risk Factors
  5. Disease Management
  6. Living with MS

The course is a fairly small time commitment, as each one-week module takes about two hours to complete.

For those interested, there will also be opportunities to participate in research related to the course and to provide feedback. Both will give the Understanding MS team valuable information and show us how to improve the course for future enrolments.

I am happy to report that over 1,400 people from more than 30 countries have already enrolled. We are very excited to share this course with the global MS community. We hope to see you there!

To enrol in the course, please visit:

About the author

Suzi Claflin is a postdoctoral research fellow at the Menzies Institute for Medical Research, University of Tasmania. She is the academic lead for the Understanding MS online course.

About the author



    • Hi, there are short quizzes at the end of each module to help review what you have learnt. These can have as many attempts at these as you need.

  • How does the course deal with areas of pathology that are not thoroughly understood, the interpretation of which often being subject to opinion?

    • Hello and thank you for your question! When a topic is not well understood or well supported by scientific evidence, we simply state that this is the case.

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