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

5,762 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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26 - 50 of 1,456 Reviews for Vital Signs: Understanding What the Body Is Telling Us

By Ellie K

Jul 4, 2019

Dr. Connie Scanga is an engaging professor who clearly enjoys what she is doing. The images that accompany the lectures are very helpful. Her explanations are clear and thorough to where the average bear may develop an understanding of what's happening behind the numbers. Excellent course, I cannot recommend enough whether you're interested in pursuing patient care type jobs or just want to know more about medicine. Thank you Dr. Scanga for providing amazing lectures and for what you do.

By Alhanouf A

Feb 3, 2018

As a senior medical student, this course was really important in helping me interpret vital signs and review some basic physiological concepts.

By Jeanine T R

Mar 17, 2021

I really enjoyed the course. Course outline made taking notes easy and provided very good review material for tests together with the copy of the quizzes. Complex material was taught in a simple and understandable way even for those without a medical/science background. Dr. Scanga reviewed material presented to ensure concepts were understood. Key concepts were easy to follow and understand. I learned a lot on how vital organs function. It would be helpful to have the diagrams and drawings referred to as PDF's for download. I was not able to download whole course transcripts at the bottom of each week's menu.

By Nikki

Jan 29, 2018

This course was very interesting and perfectly pitched for someone who has studied biology at school. The videos were succinct, relevant and functional which made the course achievable alongside a full-time job. I love learning about medicine and this course has encouraged me to seek out further opportunities to carry out study in this area. I really enjoyed taking the course and I will no doubt go over it again to refresh my knowledge at some point soon. Thank you for making it :-)!

By Melissa S

Feb 23, 2020

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. I also enjoyed that a bit of Medical Anthropology was introduced in week 6 through the 2 interview-style segments- it really helped to understand why assessing and diagnosing pain in patients is so complex. Would highly recommend this course!!

By Andrea C

Oct 10, 2017

Si soy de Colombia y me encantó este curso, todo era muy gráfico, los modelos anatómicos muy geniales, los gráficos de los libros, ver los laboratorios en vivo, las evaluaciones me hacían pensar más allá de lo que se hablaba en clase, agradezco a la Profsora Connie Scanga y espero se sigan haciendo más cursos así, ya se lo recomendé a muchas personas más y están de acuerdo conmigo, un saludo a todos los estudiantes de enfermería y médicos

By Georgia M

Feb 8, 2018

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!

By Damian S

Sep 19, 2017

This was far the best online course I've ever made. The method is new for me and I think it really works! It puts you inside a class with the chance to answer yourself and making you thinking about what they were talking about, with time enough to understand. Congratulations to the amazing team that produced this great course! I'm looking forward to have another one, the same talented like this one. Thank you. ;) Damian.

By Val S

Nov 29, 2021

Vital Signs was a great refresher for this 17+ year Acute Medical/ Palliative Care Nurse. The course was easy to follow and the presentation format makes it easy to understand the how & why of Cardiovascular & Respiratory functions and how they can affect Vital Signs, all the while keeping the topics interesting and educational. This is my first online Course with Coursera. But will not be my last👍🏼

By Daniela P P

Jun 7, 2020

It's a really good course for students and professionals that work in health care. I loved the enthusiasm of the Dr. Scanga in every video. It is easy to understand and follow, even if you're not that good in English (my case). I would recommend it to others, for sure! It took more time to finish that I was expecting to, and that's probably the only negative point of this course. I learned a lot.

By Shirley D B J

May 1, 2017

It was a wonderful study, a very informative and a beneficial course. Dr. Scanga who taught this course is an amazing teacher. She has made many of the complexities of the course into simpler segments and explanations in a way that anybody could understand. Hats-off to her ! I would highly recommend this course to my friends who are medical professionals especially beginners. Thank you !


Jun 6, 2022

The rudiments of vital signs in human body and the need to take urgent steps to ensure early treatments with reference to individual concerned

By David F F

May 29, 2022

it is very beatifual and helpful course , i learned and gain a good knowlege that will be helpful for me

thanks alot

By Chayanne A

May 25, 2022

i used this to review for my anatomy class and found it very helpful when i had to take my lecture exam

By Huntsman

Mar 14, 2021

Way too difficult for non-medical people!

I come from Chemistry background and took this course to supplement my Biochemical studies. Thinking "What better way to learn than to see how exactly organic chemicals function in your body?" Armed with nothing but weak memories of high school anatomy, I enrolled in this course and was instantly hit by a barrage of difficult names of organs with equally difficult functions. A little shaken, but by no means broken, I continued the course thinking that it will get easier. My continued journey lasted only a short while as I came across the first quiz. It was so damn hard that it took me 3 days and 9 attempts to just pass it! This stopped me right in my tracks. To hell with "how organic chemicals function in your body". Also the "get 70% to pass" is honestly a joke. My university will give you a degree requiring only a half of that percentile. So much for "Online Learning".

With that out of the way, this is actually a good course. Dr. Scanga does deliver her lectures brilliantly using interactive and relatively fun learning techniques. If you are a medical professional, or even someone with the will to overcome anatomy to get at the hidden secrets of the body, I would recommend this course to you.

By Richard H

Nov 10, 2021

Horrible. It was watching a "canned" pretend to listen to lecture instruction. Not high level course. Could not get past first lectures. Poor volume. Too staged.

By arhumyasin

Apr 20, 2017

thats good

By Julia

May 29, 2020

I thought this course was great for basic overviews of each topic discussed. For someone who has completed a B.S. in Neuroscience I felt like a lot of topics from my degree coursework were resurfaced in these lessons, and they acted as great refreshers. I definitely felt like I came across information that I hadn't remembered or didn't learn too much about and some information i felt well informed on compared to the level at which is was discussed in the course, but I still enjoyed it and still felt like I was learning and engaged most of the time. I thought the simulations were great and also looked forward to the case studies in the quizzes. I think it would have beneficial and entertaining to talk about case studies in the lessons as well. Going into the course, I think I was hoping to learn more about real life clinical scenarios and abnormalities to look of for when measuring the vital signs, along with of course the anatomy and physiology (structure and function) and importance of the vital signs. I do however, feel that the later was well taken care of throughout this course. Although, I would have loved to go into each topic further, I think this course is attractive for a variety of learners.

By Сафронова А В

Apr 12, 2021

Good afternoon, colleagues)! I got a huge, no, not so, just a huge pleasure, studying on this course)). Professor Scanga is a teacher with a capital letter, her talent is given from God. The topics discussed are relevant at all times. The lectures are clear, interesting, and entertaining. Serious, in fact, and vital things are told easily, with humor, without the monotony inherent in some teachers. There were no difficulties in the learning process. The only sad point: this course is the only one from Connie B. Scanga, I did not find any others on this platform. Are other educational courses expected from Ms Scanga in the future? I would have run to study with her first).. With respect and gratitude to the creators of the course and, of course, to Connie B. Scanga). Charmed by this teacher forever))! I will wait for new courses)!

By Collin J B

Jun 21, 2020

I'm one who is very hesitant to look at reviews and believe everything that is written within them without some skepticism. I know that this review may be read no differently by those of you like me— and that's okay. However, if I may extend a personal recommendation, I highly recommend, if you love medicine, human anatomy, and human physiology, to give this course a try. For a novice who has never taken a true medical course, that includes basic human anatomy, I found this course to be very engaging and helped my knowledge grow a lot. The teachers were excellent, in my opinion, and I liked what they tried to do with having actual students participate in the lectures to make it seem like you were a part of the class. Again, I highly recommend giving this course a shot and I hope you enjoy it and stick it through till the end. ✌️

By Amrit G

Jan 16, 2022

As an aspiring Health-care provider this course was really well designed, engaging and applicable to our daily lives. This course provided a broad range of medical information that for me was very interesting. If you have zero background in human physiology and anatomy, you'll do perfectly fine in this course (you might find yourself clarifying vocabulary on the internet). This being said I do think that basic Biology (to the high school level) would be good to know since it really allows you to make connections (this being said someone without Biology experience to the high school level would be fine and would just find themselves clarifying a little often). Overall, the course was enjoyable, and Dr. Scanga was really good at explaining the topics. I highly recommend it!

By Maryam P

Oct 10, 2022

Thank you for this course, it was very interesting and I learnt a lot, particularly about how perception of pain is such an individual experience and can be influenced by a wide range of factors going beyond the neural pathways. It has helped me understand the reasoning behind the observations I had to use on patients when I was working as a nursing assistant. I now know how important it is to test the vital signs and the biology behind them. I feel more confident in testing respiration rate and the different methods od measuring a patient's temperature.

Really enjoyed this course and would recommend it to anyone interested in human biology or that are in a caring position.

By kowshik e

Jul 24, 2020

Great course with a lot of good content. I am taking this four years after completing my master's and this was one of the best learning experience I have got from a course setting since then. The way lectures were planned was really appealing to me. Especially having real classroom setting with professor and students made a big difference when it came to being interactive. A big thanks to Dr. Connie Scanga and her team! Putting together this course was a job well done!! I also wanted to buy a reference book that can be used in the future when and if I wanted to explore the subject further. Providing that piece of information would make it a near perfect experience.

By Ursula G

May 6, 2020

This was so well done. Thank you to Dr Scanga, Megan and Amanda for the lectures, and the students who participated. I also appreciate how everyone was so nicely dressed, beautiful hair ect. It just showed all the care and attention taken into all aspects of this course. Well done and thank you so much! Dr Scanga, you have a wonderful teaching style, and you can tell, you know your subject matter so well! Thank you for teaching and doing this course. Again, I can tell there was attention, care and time taken into planning the lecture segments, and being on camera may have been uncomfortable, therefore I acknowledge that, as part of my thanks for doing this.

By Aedrian A

Jun 9, 2021

This is a course that I should have taken even before medical school. Dr. Scanga and her team did an excellent job of simplifying and integrating key concepts regarding vital signs - most often the healthcare providers' first source of insight to the condition of the patient in front of them. Very rarely in my medical education have I experienced an integrative approach in discussing the anatomy and physiology of these important entities. Unsurprisingly, this has led to better retention of the knowledge on my part. To those who are planning to study or are already studying medicine or human biology at the very least, this offering is highly recommended.