1.2 Connecting learners

Some people like to learn alone, others find learning together is more interesting. This course is designed to be used in either way. If you are studying this online alongside a cohort of students working on it over the same time period there are opportunities to interact with other students, ask questions, exchange information or propose a ‘flash debate’ about a recent news story.

Whether you are learning on your own or in a group please contribute to the ‘comments’ section at the end of each unit. A wide range of people are doing this course, with lots of different experiences and perspectives to bring to the discussion. It’s always interesting to see how other people have responded to the materials or the ideas they have to share. You can also share comment on twitter #PDoCMediaWatch

Note: Before starting this course please be aware that it covers some difficult and challenging issues. Although the focus is on media representation the course necessarily addresses the realities of family experience, it also deals with some complex ethical issues such as end-of-life decision-making. Seek support if you find some of the materials distressing. Be kind to yourself. When engaging with other students also please be respectful of different feelings and opinions.

Who is doing this course? Complete the poll below and find out.

Which of the following best describes you?

Activity 1  – Introduce yourself and have a look at who else is doing the course

Please introduce yourself and tell us what interested you about doing this course by adding a comment in the section at the very bottom of this page.  (Scroll down to the very bottom)


Additional Note: some healthcare professionals  who have introduced themselves explain they work with ‘PDoC‘ patients – for anyone not familiar with that acronym it stands for ‘Prolonged Disorders of Consciousness” an umbrella term for coma, the vegetative and minimally conscious state.

Activity 2, optional…but recommended that you try this (unless you have direct experience of caring for someone in a vegetative state)

Just for yourself (you don’t have to share this!) do a sketch of how you imagine a patient in a permanent vegetative state. Don’t think too hard about this task – just give it a go! Try to include as much detail as possible. This isn’t a test of artistic ability, feel free to label parts of the picture to make things clear. Keep the picture safe (or photograph it on your mobile phone). You’ll be returning to it later to reflect on what might have shaped your own mental images of the vegetative state.


Tell us what interested you about doing this course by adding a comment in the section at the very bottom of this page. Also you might want to share your most recent or vivid memory of a media story about someone in a vegetative state.

Now mark this unit as ‘complete’ and move on to the next one.