Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Funerals: Experiences of Participants in the 2020 Dying2Learn Massive Open Online Course

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Abstract

A Massive-Open-Online-Course (MOOC) on death and dying (Dying2Learn) was offered in 2020, designed to build conversations about death as a natural part of life. In week 1, the content focused on how today’s society engages with death through the language we use, humour, public mourning and funerals. This study investigated 2020 MOOC participants’ responses to an online activity reflecting on funerals and memorials during the time of COVID-19. From this activity, n = 204 responses were analysed qualitatively. Themes included the positives and negatives of virtual funeral attendance (e.g. opportunity to have a way to participate when travel barriers existed, versus a sense of impersonal voyeurism); and the challenges related to the inability to physically comfort the bereaved due to physical distancing requirements. Comments made as part of this MOOC activity provide a unique insight into the community’s experience of funeral changes necessitated by COVID-19, with important implications for the grieving process.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages23
JournalOmega (United States)
Early online date24 Feb 2022
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 24 Feb 2022
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • death
  • dying
  • funerals
  • massive open online course

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