A Course for Physiotherapists commenced on 30th July 2018. Registration is now closed! x

 Week by Week

The topics for each week of the Physiotherapy Management of SCI MOOC are outlined below.

Please note: The content will become available at the beginning of each week. You will receve an email at this time.

Week One – Commences 30th July 2018

  • The health essentials
  • Principles of management

Week Two – Commences 6th August 2018

  • Assessment
  • Setting goals
  • Upper limb function
  • Wheelchair mobility

Week Three – Commences 13th August 2018

  • Bed mobility and transfers
  • Gait: understanding movement

Week Four – Commences 20th August 2018

  • Strength training
  • Contracture management
  • Motor skills

Week Five – Commences 27th August 2018

  • Cardiovascular fitness
  • Respiratory management
  • Pain management


 Intended Audience

This course is suitable for physiotherapy students and junior physiotherapists who have a good understanding of the key principles of physiotherapy but little prior experience in spinal cord injuries (SCI).

 Time Commitment

Participants will be required to devote 5 hours per week for 5 weeks to this course. The course will take longer if participants follow links in the elearn lessons for further information. These links will move them away to other lessons or activities that can become very time consuming to complete. So if time is limited, participants should not click on links but instead just follow the screens sequentially.

 Course Structure

Participants will be given 3 tasks each week, namely:

  1. Complete 2 to 3 lessons that are part of www.elearnSCI.org – this is a website that provides freely accessible online training modules
  2. Look at additional readings, videos and resources
  3. Contribute to an online discussion

The aim of this course is to equip physiotherapy students and inexperienced physiotherapists with sufficient knowledge to manage a person with SCI. This includes assessing impairments, activity limitations and participation restrictions, setting appropriate goals of treatment, formulating an evidence-based treatment plan, implementing treatment and evaluating its success.


Participants must be either enrolled in a physiotherapy course or have completed a physiotherapy course. This prerequisite has been set to ensure the online discussion is appropriate.

 Forum for Online Discussion

The online discussion will be an important aspect of this course and participants will be expected to post at least one comment each week. Only participants of the course will be able to post and read discussions within this group.


The course will be run in English although participants will only require basic English skills. The physiotherapists modules from the www.elearnSCI.org site are available in Chinese, Portuguese and Spanish. Participants will be encouraged to be respectful and empathetic to those in whom English is not their first language.

 Accreditation, Assessment and Certification

Participants will receive a certificate of completion from ISCoS with their final assessment score on it provided they:

  1. Registered through this website within 2 weeks of the commencement of the course
  2. Contributed to the online facebook discussion each week
  3. Completed the pre-course quiz
  4. Completed the post course assessment (20 multiple choice questions)
  5. Completed a course evaluation form
 Course Co-ordinators

The course co-ordinators for this course are Professor Lisa Harvey and Dr Joanne Glinsky. Both Lisa and Jo are committed to the philosophy of providing free education to all and believe that well educated physiotherapists can help improve the lives of people with SCI in all corners of the world.


Click here to watch a short video of the course co-ordinators introducing themselves.


Professor Lisa Harvey, Australia. Lisa has 20 years clinical experience in SCI and 30 years teaching experience. She currently holds an academic position at Sydney Medical School, University of Sydney where she teaches, supervises research students and runs her own research program. She has taught extensively in different parts of the world and is currently chairperson of the Education Committee of the International Spinal Cord Society, Editor-in-Chief of Spinal Cord, and Clinimetrics Editor for Journal of Physiotherapy . She has written a textbook on Physiotherapy Management of Spinal Cord Injuries.


Dr Joanne Glinsky, Australia. Jo is a physiotherapist with over 10 years clinical, research and teaching experience in SCI rehabilitation. She has a PhD and multiple publications relating to SCI. She currently works as a senior researcher at Sydney Medical School, University of Sydney.

 Course Contributors

This course will be based on the physiotherapy modules that are part of www.elearnSCI.org which was an initiative of The International Spinal Cord Society. You can view a video explaining the evolution of the elearn website here.

The physiotherapy modules were developed by many, many very senior SCI physiotherapists from around the world. Sincere thanks to all of them for donating their time and knowledge to make this resource freely available to all. You can see the full list of contributors here.

 General Structure of the Course

Participants will be given 4-6 tasks each week. For example:

  1. Complete 2 to 3 lessons that are part of www.elearnSCI.org – these are freely accessible online training modules.
  2. Look at additional readings, videos and resources.
  3. Contribute to an online discussion run through a closed facebook group.
  4. Design an exercise program using www.physiotherapyexercises.com.

There are also several optional learning activities each week that participants can complete.

Below are the links to the two main resources that will be used throughout this course. You can use the same log on details for both this MOOC website and the elearnSCI.org website.

 Course Textbook

Elsevier has kindly allowed registered participants to read Professor Harveys' text book online during this course. The relevant chapters will be released each week. The book is:

Harvey L (2008) Management of spinal cord injuries: a guide for physiotherapists. Elsevier: London. ISBN-13: 978 0 443 06858 4 (published in English, Korean and Spanish).


This course was first run in 2014 through the Physiopedia website. We are grateful to Rachel Lowe and Tony Lowe from Physiopedia for inviting Lisa Harvey and Jo Glinsky to run the first course through their website and for the coordination of the first course. The course in 2014 and this course are based on the modules of www.elearnSCI.org - these were developed by members of ISCoS from all over the world. We acknowledge their contributions.

 Additional References
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