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Learner Reviews & Feedback for Vital Signs: Understanding What the Body Is Telling Us by University of Pennsylvania

6,173 ratings

About the Course

The vital signs – heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, respiration rate, and pain – communicate important information about the physiological status of the human body. In this six-part course we explore the anatomy and physiology underlying the vital signs so that you will develop a systematic, integrated understanding of how the body functions. Relevant body systems are reviewed including cardiovascular and respiratory, followed by explanations of how the function of these systems affects vital signs. We discuss normal ranges, normal variants, and the mechanisms that underlie changes in the objective measurement of vital signs. The course also includes demonstrations of appropriate techniques for measuring vital signs in yourself and others. The course is designed for a broad, general audience but will be particularly interesting for individuals working in healthcare, those considering a career as a healthcare professional, lay caregivers, those with an interest in personal health and fitness, or anyone who simply wants to understand how the body functions....

Top reviews


Sep 29, 2018

Yes, it is very useful to me and I will suggest to my friends to take this course. My sincere Thanks to Connie B. Scanga, PhD, she taken the all lecture clearly and her lecture was easy to understand.


Jun 29, 2017

I really enjoyed to the professor and the idea of learning the material with her students. It made me feel as if I was in the classroom learning with them. She broke down the material in a great way.

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1 - 25 of 1,572 Reviews for Vital Signs: Understanding What the Body Is Telling Us

By Tércio A

Aug 16, 2018

Great Course ! It provides important information regarding anatomy and physiology of the main systems in our body. The video lectures are very interactive and Dr. Scanga has a great ability to teach.

By Andrenna B

Jun 29, 2017

I really enjoyed to the professor and the idea of learning the material with her students. It made me feel as if I was in the classroom learning with them. She broke down the material in a great way.

By Dan

Dec 25, 2018

Fantastic course. Dr. Scanga is an excellent teacher and the slower-paced "in classroom" style with real students asking and answering questions was very effective. Also enjoyed the lab days and the interviews with other faculty. Quizzes were challenging and included case studies that really made you think. Every Coursera course should aspire to be like this one.

By Azajul I N

May 9, 2020

I have learned a lot of things from this course. This course disclosed innumerable mysteries of human body that I didn't know earlier. I really enjoyed this course. Thanks for this wonderful content.

By Yusra H

Sep 3, 2019

The Vital Signs course has an excellent format, particularly the structure of the quizes offered at the end of each lecture. I found Dr Scanga very knowledgeable. This was the first time I have sat a course that I could actually achieve and understand what I needed without having to go to such desperate lengths of scouring books, journal articles and the internet to understand all basic and necessary concepts. Many university courses are not as well prepared or taught and this was a refreshing experience - at long last! I highly recommend it to students who may be struggling in their anatomy and physiology courses, as this provides a comprehensive overview/review of everything you generally need to know or for anyone looking to brush up on their basic understanding in the area. Some general baseline understanding of human biology, anatomy and physiology is required, however, so I would not recommend this for novice learners. If so, additional reading and study would be required. An excellent course.


Sep 30, 2018

Yes, it is very useful to me and I will suggest to my friends to take this course. My sincere Thanks to Connie B. Scanga, PhD, she taken the all lecture clearly and her lecture was easy to understand.

By Geetu

May 24, 2020

This has been an outstanding course for me. I am marketing and business professional with a deep passion and interest in natural ways to keep the mind and body healthy with right food and lifestyle. I picked this course out of curiosity to understand the human body at a scientific level. I do not have a science background hence I wasn't sure I would be able to comprehend the technical concepts. However, I have to say that Prof Connie Scanga is outstanding. She made the most difficult and complex concepts so easy to grasp and so interesting that the time in each section just flew. I didn't have to check my watch on the time that had passed as there was not a single dull moment. The course material is also fascinating in that it has left me with an even deeper appreciation of what an incredible, supreme machine the human body is. I would recommend this course for anyone who wants to live a healthier, happier life. For to do that, we must learn to understand & respect our body and know what makes it work. The only feedback I have for the course coordinators is that I was unable to download the course material and final transcripts for a revision as they are in a format that needs an additional application download. Would appreciate if this can be made easier and also if the course material transcript compilation can be at a convenient place to access post course completion, if one needs to go back for a revision or reference.

By Joshua A

Oct 11, 2020

I really enjoyed the course. It looked at vital signs in a really different view from the traditional ways of looking at it and it was really informative. The practical sessions too were great. Nice!

By Frances L

Dec 7, 2021

Dr. Scanga's approach on consistently relating the organ structure to its function makes it easier to remember. Her examples are easy to relate to which makes me appreciate the subject content more.

By Jane C

Jul 5, 2017

Really enjoyed this course. It was very well taught and I particularly liked the way that it was done within a classroom setting, rather than just the lecturer talking to camera. I also learnt a lot

By Theresa L K

Jun 26, 2016

This is a basic, non-complicated yet thorough course on understanding the human body. It is a fantastic course to take prior to Anatomy & Physiology as presented on Coursera by Duke University. Dr Scanga and her team do a wonderful job of engaging the student with in lecture photos, diagrams and models as well as lab simulations that mimic real world scenarios, not to mention their enthusiasm for the material. If you have even the smallest interest in the body you carry around every day, take this course!!

By Nin

Aug 24, 2016

A great course, with lectures clear and easy to understand for those without any specifical educationnal background, but developped enough to keep the others interested as well. The rest of the course is very accessible as well and designed to make us save time and focus on actual learning. The course outline (summary of every video of the week) are pretty awesome and saves me a lot of time (although, I wouldn't want to sound needy but it would be great to include pictures as well. But I can do it myself :-) )

Just a little note on the first lectures : they sound a little bit akward, like fake lessons with comedians already knowing the answers and odd camera looks. But it dissipate very fast as the course continues and should not impact studies at all (maybe it's just me overthinking it anyway).

So, in two words : THANK YOU !

By Christine L P

Jan 17, 2019

Excellent explanation!!

By Joanne W

Mar 28, 2018

This was a really interesting course and for someone like myself, who has no background in nursing, this was pitched at just the right level and had the perfect pace to keep me going. What I liked the most was the simplicity of presentation, with Dr Connie Scanga standing in front of a small class, teaching and interacting with her students. She created a welcoming and encouraging atmosphere in which to pass on her wealth of knowledge. Also great were her team of healthcare workers: Amanda and Megan ( i think!) who rounded off the weeks with interesting demonstrations. All in all, a fabulous course that I'm sad to see end!

By Elmer D F

Nov 11, 2016

First and foremost, I would like to extend my sincerest thanks and gratitude to the Coursera Community for offering this course. Likewise to the instructors especially Dr. Scanga for simplified mode of instruction.

I gave a perfect rate simply because I learned a lot from this course. The process of delivering your lessons are really simplified and practical in nature because after each lesson, practical assessments follow. This is a good reinforcement of learning. Your graded assignments as well gave the learners ample time to rethink and deeply contemplate on the incorrect answers. I believe that after failure, great learning comes in. And this is the very purpose of your graded assignments for extending them up to 3 attempts.

Once more, thank you so much and more power!

By Shaymaa M M M A

Jun 27, 2016

So far I've studied all week 1 and week 2 materials and I love this course! Everything about it: the way lectures are presented ,the demos in the sim lab, and the content itself.. it's all rich and great. I'm a high school junior so I don't have a whole basic biology knowledge under my belt and I thought there would be a slight difficulty for me to grasp the material, but everything here is simple and wholesome. I learned a lot those two weeks, so thanks Vital Signs team for your great work!

By Hassan s

May 28, 2020

This is an excellent course. Rich background info is provided in the e-textbook, the videos are very well made (incorporating a lecture-type and a Q&A-type of presentation), there are videos with demonstrations in the labs that make digesting the stuff already presented during the lectures much easier. Well-organised and nicely presented. I learned a lot by following this course. Many thanks to Prof. Dr. Connie Scanga and her team! I really enjoyed this course from start to finish. Dr. Scanga is an excellent educator and takes the time to thoroughly explain difficult concepts. I really enjoyed seeing the lab demonstrations along with the lectures.

By Lian P

Mar 24, 2016

This course is perfect for those who do not have a background knowlegde of human anatomy. The demonstration is clear, and teacher's speech is at a right speed which allows even non-native english speakers , like myself, to fully understand and react to the content. The form of the course is wisely chosen, real students are included and there are Q&As with them, i can pause and answer the questions myself and see if i get it right. this is much more interesting than just listening to a lecture in which the teacher speaks into the camera. Thank you Dr. Scanga for such a good course. I Will catch up the the pace.

By Marihem J L F

Mar 10, 2016

I do love this course. First because PhD. Scanga is such very enthusiastic teacher, so this leave the lecture much more interesting. And there are other details which call my atencion, like the quality of the video. I already listening other Coursera classes, but the quality of the video wasn't that good. Other thing that call my atencion was the sim Lab classes. I really do appreciate the virtual experience in the Lab. Finally, the lecture with participating students asking questions, it's so interesting, this is to enrich the lesson!

My regards,

Marihem Ferreira -

By Kari G

Feb 7, 2017

Vital Signs is a terrific course for anyone looking to learn or review the basic physiology and assessment of vital signs and the metabolic processes that regulate them. The lecture videos are not only very professional, but they are just the right length to watch and review. The in-video quizzes help course participants self-assess their learning, and the end-of-unit quizzes adequately represent the topics covered in course lectures. I really enjoyed this fascinating subject, and I hope to continue learning more about other metabolic processes and body systems.

By Victoria G

Apr 24, 2020

This was a practical and informative course. Dr Scanga presented the information methodically, which allowed me to easily understand and collate my ideas throughout the lectures. She very well explained everything that was needed to know so that I was successful when completing the quizzes. I prefer lecture videos like these because it allows me to pause the video and take notes or rewind to review misconceptions. I would recommend this course to anyone who is interested in learning a bit more about how our bodies function to keep us alive.

By Cristina G

Jun 26, 2018

Thank you Dr. Scanga and UPenn! This course is fascinating and so much more informative than I originally imagined when I enrolled. Not only will this help me in my job with the information centers of various NIH institutes, but I feel that I more equipped to best care of my husband and children (and myself, I suppose) and help them communicate more effectively with our physicians from now on. Thanks, again! I have already recommended this course to my siblings and parents and will now be recommending it as a part of training at work!

By Mary M

Nov 21, 2017

A good course especially for people who are not in the medical field and have not taken other medical classes. It would be a good review for those who have. The class' overall design is so that a non-medical savvy person can easily follow along, while learning interesting as well as important things concerning our bodies. I took the class because my husband had a stroke and I am attempting to learn what I can to help him. The class was very educational. I recommend to people who have a family member who is ill or in a nursing home.

By Julianne B

Jun 21, 2020

I absolutely loved it! Professor Sganga (sorry if I spell it wrong) was wonderful in her instruction. I have taken a few medical courses and no one has been as explicit and mindful in their delivery of the information. She did not just introduce the terminology she used it often and she explained processes slowly and with a clear understanding that we a re laymen and she reiterated each concept as she moved from one lesson to the next. A+ for Instruction. I would take another class from her in a heart beat ( ;

By Suneeta B

Oct 15, 2016

Excellent course to start understanding how to read what our vital signs are telling us. Dr Scanga's teaching style is very relaxed, illustrative and she keeps engagement level high by asking questions in between lectures. I love the transcripts of Coursera Courses that follow with the lecture, highlighting the sentence the speaker is saying currently. It enables me to follow lectures more closely. Also, it's really cool to click on any sentence and the lecture begins with that sentence. Thankyou!