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Online Epidemics Course Headed to Penn State

For anybody out there with a hybrid love of the Sims and the Walking Dead, Penn State now has the course for you. Epidemics- The Dynamics of Infectious Diseases is a new online course in which students partake in a virtual simulation of an epidemic as part of their assignment. Just a little practice before the real zombie apocalypse hits.

The virtual simulation allows students to actively participate in an online epidemic over the span of eight weeks. Because who hasn’t ever imagined themselves surviving an epidemic of infectious disease.

Students will also learn key concepts relating to epidemics. A basic history of diseases will be reviewed, along with other topics relating to the emergence, spread, control, and future of infectious diseases. The A Team crew of instructors includes Marcel Salathé, Ottar N. Bjornstad, Andrew Read, Rachel A. Smith, Mary L. Poss, David P. Hughes, Peter Hudson and Matthew Ferrari.

Hypochondriacs beware, the course also examines why pandemics like the flu should be taken very seriously as resistance to antibiotics grows stronger. On a more exciting but equally scary note, zombies will be discussed. Apparently, zombie ants do exist. I’m no scientist, but that sounds pretty cool to me!

Don’t worry, the workload is apparently only two hours a week and “for this course all you need is an internet connection and the time to watch lectures,” according to the course website. There are no prerequisites; anybody is welcome to sign up here!

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