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How the course is taught

Take a look at the types of activities, such as home practicals, on the free online course Heart Health: A Beginner's Guide to Cardiovascular Disease.
Students using microscopes in a laboratory at the University of Reading.
© University of Reading

We’ve designed this course to take into account your own learning style and the time that you have available.

Each week we’ll present the core content in a series of videos delivered by experts in each area of heart health. This will provide you with a good grounding in the subject and if you don’t have much time available you can stop at this.

However, it’s one thing to be able to recite the chambers of the heart but it is another to fully understand how and why they are structured that way. So to help you get a good grasp of the subject there are various activities you can take part in each week, such as discussions and practicals, as well as an opportunity to test what you have learnt in an ‘end of week quiz’.

There are a few aspects to the course that you might not have come across before, so here’s a brief introduction:

Home practical: Each week we have set up an exercise you can try in your kitchen, using easily available materials. It’s a fun way to apply your understanding of the topic you have just learnt. Don’t worry if you aren’t able take part as the videos should give you a good enough understanding to take part in discussions and to fill out the worksheet provided. Make sure to read through and listen to the health and safety guidelines before attempting to take part in the exercise.

Food and activity diary: This is an exercise that you can take part in throughout the course. It involves taking note of your daily intake of food and physical activity, so that at the end of the course you can assess your own heart health and compare this to UK standards. We’ll explain more and provide you with a template later in the week.

Research, evaluate, share: Ever wondered if the health-related stories you see in the news are true? This activity will give you the chance to research the science behind statements that have been made in the media. If you don’t have time to do your own research, you can read through what other learners have found out. You can find an additional resource under the ‘Downloads’ heading at the bottom of this Step for guidance on how to evaluate sources.

Meet the expert: A behind-the-scenes extra at the end of each week where educators give some insight into their practice and interest in heart health.

Additional resources

To help you as you move through this course, we’ve provided some additional materials which you may like to keep to hand as you work through each week:

Glossary Get to grips with the terminology used within the course. The glossary can be found at the beginning of each week.
Weekly supplement A handy supplement containing all the diagrams for the week, found under the Welcome Steps.
Related links Some useful links suggested by previous learners from our past runs. These links can be found at the bottom of the relevant Step under the ‘see also’ tab. Please note we don’t take responsibility for the content or availability of external websites recommended by learners.
The British Heart Foundation resources The University of Reading is delighted to partner with the British Heart Foundation for this run of Heart Health. Throughout the course we have provided you with many optional resources from the British Heart Foundation which will give you a better understanding of the different types of cardiovascular tests and treatments that we mention.

Each week, we will also give you the opportunity to let us know your general progress and comment on features of the course.

Now let’s start learning about heart health by starting with cardiovascular anatomy and physiology.

© University of Reading
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Heart Health: A Beginner's Guide to Cardiovascular Disease

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