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Learner Reviews & Feedback for Epidemics - the Dynamics of Infectious Diseases by The Pennsylvania State University

1,273 ratings
319 reviews

About the Course

Not so long ago, it was almost guaranteed that you would die of an infectious disease. In fact, had you been born just 150 years ago, your chances of dying of an infectious disease before you've reached the tender age of 5 would have been extremely high. Since then, science has come a long way in understanding infectious diseases - what they are, how they spread, and how they can be prevented. But diseases like HIV/AIDS, Malaria, Tuberculosis, or the flu are still major killers worldwide, and novel emerging diseases are a constant threat to public health. In addition, the bugs are evolving. Antibiotics, our most potent weapon against bacterial infections, are losing their power because the bacteria are becoming resistant. In this course, we'll explore the major themes of infectious diseases dynamics. After we’ve covered the basics, we'll be looking at the dynamics of the flu, and why we're worried about flu pandemics. We'll be looking at the dynamics of childhood diseases such as measles and whooping cough, which were once considered almost eradicated, but are now making a comeback. We'll explore Malaria, and use it as a case study of the evolution of drug resistance. We'll even be looking at social networks - how diseases can spread from you to your friends to your friends' friends, and so on. And of course we’ll be talking about vaccination too. We’ll also be talking about how mobile phones, social media and crowdsourcing are revolutionizing disease surveillance, giving rise to a new field of digital epidemiology. And yes, we will be talking about Zombies - not human zombies, but zombie ants whose brains are hijacked by an infectious fungus. We're looking forward to having you join us for an exciting course!...

Top reviews

Apr 22, 2016

Can't fault this course at all and nor would I want to. Very interesting, brilliantly presented and the range of experts really enhanced it. It was engaging and made me keen to find out more.

May 12, 2017

It is a wonderful course , I have gain and updated my Knowledge in the area of Epidemics and Infectious Disease, Thanks to the Course organizers and most effective presentations . Dr Shivaji

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251 - 275 of 313 Reviews for Epidemics - the Dynamics of Infectious Diseases

By Malshi O G

Oct 11, 2019

Really good

By deuzuita b d m

Mar 6, 2016

it is good

By Sara K

Apr 28, 2017

Loved it!

By Lucas S f

Feb 3, 2016

very well

By 李晓雨

Sep 1, 2015

very good

By hossam g

Aug 30, 2015


By Ricardo G R

Aug 14, 2015


By eleonor

Jun 10, 2016


By 邵红霞

Nov 21, 2017



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By Mona A A

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Apr 21, 2016


By Josephine P

Oct 26, 2016


By Kuong S

Oct 7, 2015


By Alejandro P

Aug 17, 2015

I liked the course, with its many different speakers and approaches.

The one thing I missed the most was seeing the models in action. Even if the course isn't aimed at scientists or programmers, there are free online simulations where one can adjust model constants to see the effects interactively without any knowledge required.

See NetLogo at, for which there are forest fire, disease spread in networks, cellular automatas and many other interactive simulations. Insight providing questions may involve finding the value of a parameter such as the epidemic can't spread, for instance.

For more formula oriented optional exercises, I would recommend something similar to Differential Equations in Action from Udacity. It's a relatively easy course implementing the SIR model, physics and ABS. An exercise could be "modify the simulation to consider X% germs get resistant after each antibiotic treatment" (either in NetLogo, or Python).

By Dave W

Aug 1, 2020

Ideally I would have liked a bit more maths, having obtained a textbook by the lead academic in this course, but nevertheless I have learned good background information regarding the subject. Having the virus at present allows this information to be put into practice. However I do believe, that the course could be 'tidied' up. The transcripts of the lectures have been used for a few years. They have some errors and it would be more professional if they had been corrected by now. Some of the links are dysfunctional. These should be checked and adjusted accordingly.

By Ed B

Mar 22, 2020

This course was a good introduction to Epidemics. I feel that I have a good grasp of the complex nature of this field of study, and the different factors that can play a part in epidemiological outcomes. I would have liked have been exposed to more of the modelling methods in the field, but SIR model was a good introduction and allowed me to look further into agent and individual based models and I have a good enough understanding of the jargon to follow scientific papers on the modelling of infectious diseases.

By Nicole K D

Jul 25, 2020

Year of COVID19. This course helped explain how disease, pathogens, treatments, cultural attitudes, and global collaboration work. Spurred more of an interest in this field of study. Professors articulated the information well, but I did have to follow the transcripts from time to time; though those were incorrect a few times too. A great course, I look forward to an update, considering they talked about the "Ebola epidemic" from 2014 in the Q&A at the end.

By Dr C J W

Jul 17, 2020

The material is a few years old now, and it will presumably get revamped in the light of Covid-19 - once the academics have more time on their hands - but I still found it useful. Many of the links to reading material on the web were now broken.

The course is not very taxing, and you will pass the quizzes quite quickly just by watching the lectures. However, it doesn't take up too much of your day, and you learn basic vocabulary and concepts.

By Stephen N H

Nov 13, 2016

Thoroughly enjoyed Epidemics - the Dynamics of Infectious Disease. As a final year student doctor with an interest in infectious disease, I found this course was a very engaging and enlightening way of expanding my knowledge of infectious disease. My perspective of Epidemics and infectious diseases had greatly broadened. Would absolutely recommend this course to anyone interested in Epidemics, infectious disease, healthcare, or microbiology.

By Gita E

Jan 15, 2020

The e-course was definitely very interesting, however, the quizzes were very annoying as well at times. I would spend more hours trying to pass these quizzes rather than actually learning from the course's content towards the end of it. Still, I recommend this course to anyone who wants an expansive introduction to infectious diseases.

By Patrick R

Jun 15, 2016

Really nice introduction course. I am however a bit disappointed it did not went deeper in how the models of diseases spreading are built, and that the course overall does not go into much detail. A bit more technical detail (maths, biology etc.) would make this nice course a awesome course.

By Ivan B

Feb 10, 2017

Interesting course, I am a geo-information specialist and I took this Course to gain some understanding on epidemics so as to be of influence in mapping and modelling their spatial patterns. I have loved every bit of it especially the last part- Zombies!! I needed to hear more.