The human body as a free online course

Human body by Shutterstock

The human body – its structure, its systems and how it works – will be explained in a new free, online course offered by Flinders University in its first collaboration with Open Universities Australia.

The Human Body as a Machine, written and presented by Professor Colin Carati, uses four modules to give participants an overview and basic understanding of the human body.

Professor Carati, who has taught human anatomy in the School of Medicine at Flinders for more than 20 years, said the human body is made up of many individual parts that work together in a highly interactive and coordinated way.

“The human body is made up of parts, but the body is greater than the sum of those parts,” Professor Carati said.

The course begins with an introduction to the building blocks that make up the body, and how these are structured and maintained from the cellular to the organismal level. It then highlights the cardiovascular, hormonal and nervous systems in their critical role of coordinating and controlling parts of the body.

The next module investigates the structure of the musculoskeletal system, and how it helps us move through and manipulate our environment.  Finally, the course reviews how the body works to replace itself, and how it creates a “new” human being.

The course will be launched in Open2Study, the Open Universities Australia free online learning platform. Flinders is the first South Australian university to partner with the platform.

Open2Study is unique in that the courses are self-contained, with all the resource materials, student community connections, videos and interactive quizzes all accessible on the one page.

“I hope people get something useful in terms of stimulating their interest in this particular topic of the human body, and that it leads them to an interest in finding out more,” Professor Carati said.

“This is one of the powers of the MOOC, or the open online environment: people can have a taste and if they like it, they can easily move on to further study or another topic.”

The course is the second MOOC offered by Flinders, and is likely to be followed by several others.

Enrolments are now open for the course, which begins on November 11. For more information and to enrol, go to


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One thought on “The human body as a free online course

  1. Good morning Colin, I think it’s fantastic that Flinders is the 1st SA university to be in on this.
    I’m sure it’s all down to your hard work. it sounds fascinating. Congratulations, All the best

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