Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The Walking Dead Online College Course By UC Irvine: This Is Real

Source:  My friend (who I thought was yanking my chain), SCPR.

It's been a while but I can now once again say, "I can't wait for school to start".  This is just a one course, online, class created by University of California at Irvine (south of Los Angeles).  It's in cooperation with AMC to create a The Walking Dead online course to teach about what lessons we can learn from the highly rated zombie-apocalyptic series now entering its fourth season.

I could not believe it when my friend told me she heard it on her drive into work on radio.  

Here's the thing that is so interesting.  This isn't the first time that anyone has ever used zombies to create buzz to educate the public.  There have been other college courses that have used zombies.  Also, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also used zombies as a case study to prepare for disasters.  

Also, the US military has used zombies as their enemy in military exercises as well.  It involved troops from the Marines as well as special forces.  Yeah, not the light stuff.  And yes, even DHS also used zombies to get local communities to prepare for disasters.  

So, the UCI course is by no mean something new. What's new is the involvement of AMC and a major highly rated and critically acclaimed TV series.

Here's the gist from info I swiped from the enrollment website:

Course descriptionFrom understanding social identities to modeling the spread of disease, this eight-week course will span key science and survival themes using AMC’s The Walking Dead as its basis. Four faculty members from the University of California, Irvine will take you on an inter-disciplinary academic journey deep into the world of AMC’s The Walking Dead, exploring the following topics:

  • Maslow’s hierarchy of needs—is survival just about being alive?
  • Social order and structures—from the farm and the prison to Woodbury
  • Social identity, roles, and stereotyping—as shown through leaders like Rick and the Governor
  • The role of public health in society—from the CDC to local community organizations
  • The spread of infectious disease and population modeling—swarm!
  • The role of energy and momentum in damage control—how can you best protect yourself?
  • Nutrition in a post-apocalyptic world—are squirrels really good for you?
  • Managing stress in disaster situations—what’s the long-term effect of always sleeping with one eye open?
Each week we’ll watch engaging lectures, listen to expert interviews, watch exclusive interviews with cast members talking about their characters, use key scenes from the show to illustrate course learning, read interesting articles, review academic resources, participate in large and small group discussions, and—of course—test our learning with quizzes. We recommend that you plan on spending about two (2) to four (4) hours per week on this course, though we believe the course is compelling enough you’ll want to spend more time.At the end of this course, you will be able to:

  • Describe how infectious diseases—like a zombie epidemic—spread and are managed
  • Apply various models of society and Maslow’s hierarchy of needs to existing and emerging societies as a means for understanding human behavior
  • Analyze existing social roles and stereotypes as they exist today and in an emerging world
  • Debate the role of public health organizations in society
  • Describe how mathematical equations for population dynamics can be used to study disease spread and interventions
  • Apply concepts of energy and momentum appropriately when analyzing collisions and other activities that either inflict or prevent damage
  • Summarize multiple methods for managing stress in disaster situations

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