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

1,745 ratings

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


Nov 21, 2020

Thank you very much Professor! I really enjoyed your lessons and passion for teaching. I am glad you are able to share your talent with the world via this medium. Looking forward to the next class!


Aug 5, 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.

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1 - 25 of 327 Reviews for Fundamentals of Immunology: Innate Immunity and B-Cell Function

By Ruth M W

Feb 2, 2021

Extremely helpful course for understanding the basis of what immunology is! I absolutely recommend it! and kudos to the instructor, she was very easy to understand and was able to keep me engaged!

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 12, 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 Marvin B

Feb 10, 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 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 Oleg Z

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.

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 NG, S L

Jan 31, 2022

I am a final year undergraduate in biological science who has background in genetics, biochemistry and microbiology so this course is timely. The course provides a detailed outline and the visuals (e.g. the antibody structure) in the lecture videos really aids a lot. The course instructor spent much time introducing the antibody structure and every section was well-prepared. The quizzes, no matter practice quizzes or graded quizzes, mostly tests understanding and inference ability rather than regurgitation, which is good.

One thing is to improve is that maybe the instructor could upload some research articles on specific topics to quench the thirst of avid learners. Also, the discussion forum needs a moderator and TAs to deal with our questions. We have no way to further explore this topic :(

By Aedrian A

Jan 23, 2021

First off, this course is not for the "faint of heart" (i.e., people taking courses casually/in stride) - it can be argued that this offering is close to a college elective-level course. Thus, while a baccalaureate-level grasp of biology or related fields is not required, you should enter this course with the appropriate mindset. Be ready to watch the videos more than twice, read the provided handouts (before or after each relevant video) and, if necessary, digest further references. As a baccalaureate degree holder in biology who unfortunately did not have the opportunity to take a specialized course on the topic, this MOOC is highly appreciated. The concepts discussed are challenging on their own, but Dr. Novotny does a great job in making them bearable especially for determined learners. Her approach is quite unique as she seemingly treats you as she would a student in her face-to-face university classes. Furthermore, the quizzes (both ungraded and graded) are engaging and will really require you to at least read the handouts to get a passing grade. Overall, this course is excellently-made and I will recommend it particularly to college students and researchers-to-be who are interested to do immunology work. I am looking forward to complete the Course Specialization that this course introduces.

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.

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!


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 10, 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.

By Bharat R

Nov 22, 2020

Thank you very much Professor! I really enjoyed your lessons and passion for teaching. I am glad you are able to share your talent with the world via this medium. Looking forward to the next class!

By Aaron L

Aug 6, 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.

By Zaher A F

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 4, 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 5, 2019

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

By Adeola F

Oct 5, 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

By Camila R

Aug 1, 2020

Un curso profundo pero muy desordenado, por lo que es difícil entender el objetivo de algunas lecciones y el contexto, lo que dificulta el aprendizaje, sobre todo para aquellos que no hablamos Inglés como primera lengua.

By federico g

May 25, 2020

Complex material for sure but I really didn't like the cartoonization they chose

By Renjitha R

Aug 24, 2020

I had enrolled for the course due the keen interest to know more about immunology. But I was not at all satisfied with the course because it seemed to be more complicative and the way of teaching was too bored.


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....