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Learner Reviews & Feedback for Fundamentals of Immunology: Innate Immunity and B-Cell Function by Rice University

1,051 ratings
213 reviews

About the Course

Course 1 of a three course specialization called Fundamentals of Immunology. Each course in the specialization presents material that builds on the previous course's material. This is the first leg of a three-part journey through the defenses your body uses to keep you healthy. In this part we hope to give you the vocabulary and concepts you need to interact with the medical community and to provide them in a context that makes them memorable. Fundamentals of Immunology introduces students to the basic functions of the adaptive and innate immune systems. The early lectures survey cells, tissues and organs using metaphors, cartoons and models to improve understanding and retention. After describing the form, function, origin and varieties of antibodies, subsequent lectures provide details on the mechanism of the generation of variation. The course provides animations of gene rearrangement and class switching and descriptions of affinity maturation correlated with detailed physical models of antibody structure. The final lecture reviews these concepts in anatomical context. Testing employs multiple choice questions testing facts, concepts, and application of principles. Questions may refer to diagrams, drawing and photographs used in lecture and reproduced in the outline. What You’ll Learn: The difference between adaptive and innate immune systems, the characteristics of various pathogens that they protect you from and the overall strategies employed in this protection. The detailed structure of antibodies and related immunoglobulin receptors, the characteristics and function of the different antibody classes and the mechanism for producing both the recognition regions and stem regions.  Finally, how these structures are coded for in the DNA and expressed in the B cells....

Top reviews


Aug 06, 2019

So far the lecturer has been very entertaining and interesting in her explanation of various concepts of immunology. I am excited to finish this course, which will be relevant to my future studies.


Feb 18, 2020

The course presents with excellent step-by-step detailed explanation of immunity from the systems biology perspective: starting on organism level and going down to the cell and mollecular levels.

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1 - 25 of 210 Reviews for Fundamentals of Immunology: Innate Immunity and B-Cell Function

By Marvin B

Feb 11, 2019

The course has good depth and is well presented. If you plan to take this class for academic credit at your academic institution later, this online course should be very helpful. The handout materials need some work to be practical, but I learned a great amount of basic knowledge. If you already know anything about genetic sequencing, it would be helpful. It is the only part of the course I felt very uncomfortable with. I would recommend this course to anyone serious about learning the immune system from the foundation. It is not a course for the casual learner. You will have to repeat view some lectures and do some side internet searches to understand all that is needed to finish, but I think you will find it time well invested.

By Elise M

Jan 20, 2020

The first few weeks were fine, but I had a really hard time listening to the professor. I found her use of terms/phrases like "so", "notice", "of course" "as you can see", to be excessive, frustrating, and condescending, especially when, often times, there were no visuals to back up the "notice" or "as you can see"... I found some of the quiz questions to be overly complicated for the amount of time that this course is supposed to occupy. It would have been much easier for me if the professor used animations more than the use of string and writing on the white board, which I found to be harder to follow. Overall, after the first few weeks, I wasn't a big fan of the teaching style of the course, although I can see how the content is very interesting.

By Akhil G

Mar 13, 2019

this course only contains only theory and theory no practical animation which makes very easier to understand... so this course is not at all helpful for me... :(

By Shoaib A

Apr 13, 2020

Highly thankful to Coursera for providing me financial aid . The course is well designed, structured and instructed by Dr. Moon Novotny. Lecture delivery was concise and very insightful to grasp the basics and subject theme as a whole by the demonstration of antibody structure, its gene arrangement as well as B cell maturation. This course surely helped me in research and I would highly recommend to students and researchers worldwide.

By Emiel d J

Feb 25, 2019

This was a great course. Immunology is my professional speciality and I still managed to learn new things. The lecturer is very knowledgeable and very engaging. All with all a great course.

By Joel A C

Mar 18, 2020

This class teaches the folly of over writing exam questions that do not teach application of concepts, like they think they do, but rather turn an already complex field into a guessing game as to the psychology of the tester. No "all of the above" questions. No "doesnt this sound similar" questions. And label your diagrams! When you discover she writes for the MCAT - the stupid questions make sense.

All that said: it is a brilliant class! And so is the teaching. But if you dont have the outline from class one (or have no med background): you will struggle. This is hands down one of the most labor intensive extension classes Ive taken. But I also did clarify a few things, and am glad to have done them.

I did OK in under a week; but have neuro undergrad and MMed Epidem under my belt. I wanted to refer this to my mother for the content: but i know the exams will see her bail out quite early and miss all the excellent teaching. If we can allow people to learn, and test their knowledge without scaring them away - that's the holy grail. For medicos: it is a fine reminder of why you never revisit things too far outside your final specialty unles you have to. But honestly, a really great course.

By Julie D

Oct 18, 2019

The professor is excellent. She is engaging, charismatic and fun. She presents very complex material in a digestible format and ties together why these cellular mechanisms are so vital to the real world. She is not focused on having studies memorize information, instead, she wants us to understand the concepts as evidenced by the critically-thought out quiz questions she presents. The tests are open book and allowable for 3 attempts but most importantly, the questions actually TEACH you if you take the time to read the right and wrong answers. If you do some digging as to why your answers are wrong you will truly learn. I wish that all instructors were as holistically-focused on conceptual learning as this Ms. Novotny. Five out of five stars!!! I've recommended her course to multiple colleagues.


May 24, 2020

Dear Professors, Thank you very much for your fantastic lectures, i am a biotechnology faculty members and my area of specialization is microbiology. it was a great opportunity for me and my students to learn fundamental immunology course facility provided by our college via coursera in the COVID 19 lock-down period. Thanking you

By Raghuvandhanan

Apr 11, 2020

I love this course. The language used is simple and easy to comprehend. The staff uses various examples which further gives us a better understanding of the subject. This course would be one of my strongest recommendation for anyone with a life science background.


Mar 27, 2020

I'm a Biology student, It's an amazing professor, excellent explanation with clarity the question, Highly recommend, If you have interest do join now, I'm going to the second course.

By MaartenL

Oct 04, 2019

Very instructive introduction to the field of immunology. It dares to simply the material a bit when necessary, yet still provides the student with a lot of insight in the matter.

By Momchil N

Feb 06, 2019

The best course ever and the material provided during the course to illustrate the knowledge is amazing

By Adeola F

Oct 05, 2019

I enjoyed learning from Dr. Novotny. She presented this material simp with a lot of helpful visual aids and graphics that made the concepts easier to grasp. The structure of the lessons, having them broken down into 10-15-minute videos, made it easy to keep track of where I stopped and easier to reference lecture materials.

By Sharon O

Jun 10, 2020

Excellent moderator. I wish the discussion forums were more interactive so that some of the gray areas could be clarified. Overall, great content wonderfully explained


Aug 16, 2020

As a teacher i would like to express my deep sense of gratitude to coursera and rice university team to be a part of this course. As a teacher in higher education sector, this course in innate immunity and b cell function really helped me to enrich and update my knowledge on the subject. To be frank, until joining this course, i was unaware of some microdetails on generation of antibody diversity by nucleotide additions and different order of gene rearrangements, evolutionary immunology etc. Course uses simple videos and models to explain these details (like different loops in igs). Few questions were difficult to follow (to understand) - possibly due to grammatic mistake? or need sentence revision? after all an excellent course....

By Hilary W

May 16, 2020

This course was extremely helpful and surpassed my expectations in multiple ways. The professor's style of teaching and presentation made a huge difference in my ability to absorb new information. I am a very visual learner, and her visual props and cartoons really helped me distinguish between cells and various parts of the Ig structure. Her humor kept my attention throughout all of the lectures. This is a very high-quality course offered at a very cheap price. The course is challenging, but very well organized with all of the material structured for successful completion. I am more than excited to continue taking additional courses offered by this professor. THANK YOU!

By Lucy L

Aug 16, 2020

I was very surprised to find that this course was highly engaging and taught excellently. I found myself looking forward to my study sessions (which is very rare, as I tend to find it a chore), and finished it in a week because I spent several hours a day working on it. Although none of the content is new for me (I previously studied this during medical school), it was a refreshing revision of all the concepts I had mostly forgotten about, and this time I think the knowledge is actually going to stick. Literally the best teaching I have ever experienced, miles better than any lecture I had at university, and I'm hoping to complete the next two courses too.


Aug 09, 2020

I am absolutely delighted with this course and this teacher Alma Moon Novotny! It seems that her head is just a bottomless source of knowledge.

Everything is very well thought out and planned. I liked how the material and video is structured and organized. Special thanks for the file with the lecture materials - this is very convenient. Individual applause for the style of the lecturer. these decorations and outfits with an owl are beautiful !)

It is a pity that there are no subtitles in Russian - there were difficulties with translating some concepts and speech turns. Some statements in the test tasks are difficult to understand when translating.


Jun 05, 2020

The argument of this course is not an easy one, but the professor really tried to help us, by giving us an outline from where we could follow every lesson and explaining what we did wrong in the practice questions. Sometimes the videos may seem too long, and that's why it can take quite some time following this course. Professor Novotny did a great job at introducing Immunology and I believe this course really helped me to better understand how our immune system works, which is quite useful for me, since I'm a Biology student.

By Rodrigo d S M

May 04, 2020

Perfect. Just P-E-R-F-E-C-T. I can't even create a whole new adjective for describing how overwhelming this course is. It's certainly not a waste of time taking it. If you like learning or looking for getting deeper into what you already know about immunology, this is the RIGHT course. Amazing, just amazing. Thank you Coursera, RICE University and Alma Moon Novotny, Ph.D. for this incredible work and great complete material you've all prepared for us. They're all dynamic and truly favour for our learning.

By Sangeeta Y

May 14, 2020

I have a background in Molecular Biology and Virology. I recently joined a biopharma company where Immunology fundamentals are key to understanding the projects. This course sure is a wonderful starter. Dr. Novotny's explanation of each course with animations and models were very helpful and it was easy to understand. I learned a lot. I cannot wait to start the other 2 courses in the series. Thank you Dr. Novotny and coursera!

By Mary R

Jul 10, 2020

This is a challenging course, but the subject is innately complex and also fascinating. I enjoyed the professor's wry humor. The course goes into great detail about the genes that lead to the formation of receptors. I found this difficult, because I haven't had a biology course in decades. It is helpful to read about gene expression, transcription and peptide formation before undertaking this course.

By Wenlei Y

Mar 25, 2020

This is an amazing course that helps you organize and gain knowledge in immunology. The professor is great at explaining and the quiz/exams are also helpful! I am a postdoc in biology (specialized in neurobiology), and the contents in the course will help me better understand how animal physiology works, and potentially come up with new ideas in my research! Thanks, Prof Novotny!

By Thais A H

May 16, 2020

I love it! Prof. Alma Moon Novotny is an amazing teacher! Her teaching method using models was very helpful to explain such a complex subject. It helps me finally understand the immunology concepts that I have been fighting for a long time to learn. Thank you for providing this amazing educational material. Certainly, it will be valuable for my future research projects.

By Ramon d T

Apr 12, 2020

Thank you for this opportunity. I truly appreciate the concept of free education, even when it is for a limited amount of time. Perhaps you could consider to give the opportunity to take course and exams for free if all is done within 7 days after enrolment. In this way only people that require more time to learn and practice will pay.