Commonwealth Games’ inclusive values at heart of new online Griffith course

Swimmer Monique Murphy has benefited from the support she received after a serious fall.
Swimmer Monique Murphy has benefited from the support she received after a serious fall.

Griffith University’s partnership with the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games (GC2018) is a key component of a new online course now available for enrolment on global social learning platform, FutureLearn.

Starting on 12th March, ‘Major Sport Events: Winning through Diversity and Inclusion’ offers participants an opportunity to gain a unique insight into what it takes for an elite athlete and para athlete to compete on the international stage, using the Commonwealth Games as an educational backdrop.

The Massive Online Open Course (MOOC) focuses on the traditions of the Commonwealth Games, the underlying values behind the Games as they have grown and evolved since 1930, and on inclusion and diversity as it is promoted through the well-known sporting event.

Integral to development

The free online course also uses Griffith University’s GAPS (Gather, Adjust, Prepare and Sustain) Programme as a case study.

“GAPS was designed to train, support and provide resources to elite athletes and para athletes from developing countries in the Oceania region,” Associate Professor Clare Minahan, School of Allied Health Sciences and one of the course’s lead educators, said.

“The principles of equity and inclusion which were integral to its development also aligned with the ideals on which Griffith’s partnership with GC2018 was forged.”

The new online course, which was developed by Associate Professor Minahan with Dr Alana Thomson, Department of Tourism, Sport and Hotel Management, will also follow the journey of a para athlete from a developed country as they prepare for a major sports event.

“Participants in the course will learn how athletes prepare for major sport events and what is required in terms of support to be successful at international level,” Associate Professor Minahan said.

Monique Murphy, a Bachelor of Social Work student at Griffith University, has benefited from the support she received after a serious fall caused the amputation of her right foot. The 23-year-old won silver for Australia in the swimming pool at the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games.

The support of family, sports community and sponsors enabled her to manage the financial pressures brought on by the costs of prosthetics. When she moved to Queensland she was also in a strong position to apply the expert knowledge on biomechanics, physiotherapy and nutrition she had gained through the Victorian Institute of Sport, and continue her development as an elite level swimmer.

“I was incredibly fortunate to have the opportunities I was given after my accident,” she said.

“The culture of support and motivation that exists within the Australian Paralympic team is immense. We think of it as ‘our team our family’.”

FutureLearn’s Nigel Smith said that sport plays an intrinsic role at all levels.

“Major sporting events contribute immensely to diversity and social inclusion. There’s huge interest in what goes into preparing these events, and what’s involved for athletes,” he said.

“Regardless of your individual involvement, sport can provide everyone involved with a shared story and shared objective, so it’s wonderful to bring all of this together in Griffith’s online course for our global community of learners.”

As with most FutureLearn courses, the course can be taken for free or there is the option to upgrade to receive additional benefits.

About FutureLearn

Founded by The Open University in 2012, FutureLearn is a leading social learning platform, enabling online learning through conversation. With almost 7 million people from over 200 countries across the globe – a community that is continuously growing – it offers free and paid for online courses from world-leading UK and international universities, as well as organisations such as Accenture, the British Council and Cancer Research UK. FutureLearn’s course portfolio covers a wealth of areas to promote lifelong learning for a range of applications including general interest, an introduction to university studies, continuing professional development and fully online postgraduate degrees.