Welcome to this course
Over the next two weeks, we will cover everything from the history of influenza to modern laboratory diagnostics and vaccination. You’ll learn about the annual cycle that brings seasonal flu to our shores every winter, and also how avian and pig flus can contribute to the emergence of new pandemic strains of flu.
We’ll also look at the structure of the virus in more detail, seeing how the study of influenza is now carried out at the molecular level.
As well as mini-lectures, there will be laboratory demonstrations, interviews with experts in a variety of relevant fields, and discussion sessions, where you’ll be invited to contribute your own experiences and opinions to the subject of flu, and how we should treat and prevent it.
Each step has a space where you can post a comment. I’ll do my best to respond, but please forgive me if I can’t manage to interact with everybody. My colleague Kurimun will also be looking in from time to time. If you think you can answer a question posed by another course participant please do so. If you prefer to tweet, the hashtag is #FLflu.
One of the great things about online courses is that you can meet and talk to learners from all over the world with a wide range of backgrounds. Also, if you are a specialist in one of the subjects, such as virology, medicine evolution or epidemiology, please feel free to comment on any of the course material.
Glossary of key words and concepts
The background of participants on this course is very varied. Some of you are recreational learners who are curious to learn new things, and others are professionals in biology or medicine, with all shades in between represented. Consequently, the degree to which you are familiar with the jargon of virology in particular and molecular biology in general, will vary.
You will find a glossary in the downloads section below, of some of the most important terms which keep cropping up in the course. You may find it useful to print and keep alongside you, as you progress through the steps. If you are a complete beginner, don’t worry if you don’t understand things straight away. Please feel free to ask questions on the message boards. Some things will become clearer as we progress through the course and the context becomes apparent.
Would you like a certificate?
If you complete the majority of steps on the course and attempt every test question, you will be eligible to purchase a Statement of Participation, which comes in the form of a printed and/or digital certificate.
This is a great way to show your interest in the subject, your commitment to your career, or as evidence of Continuing Professional Development (CPD). A Statement of Participation is also a great souvenir!
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