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Experts Launch Free Online Course To Tackle Coronavirus

Experts from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) have launched a free online coronavirus course, uncovering some of the mysteries behind the virus and providing solutions going forward. 

The course, which is available through the online facilitator FutureLearn, offers the latest information on coronavirus and includes details on how it spreads, how infectious it is, how people should be screened and quarantined, and what its implications are for the future, among other things.  

The course is geared towards public health professionals, but is helpful as well for those who are concerned about the virus and want to tell fact from fiction. It will start on March 23, 2020 and run for three weeks. Those who take the course will likely have to dedicate about four hours of study each week.

Coronavirus, officially named COVID-19, has already infected more than 73,000 individuals, killing 1,873 of them, including five outside mainland China. With some experts warning that the virus could reach as much as 60 percent of the world population, citizens are left worried and confused.  

“The response to COVID-19 is an international effort, requiring worldwide collaboration and transparency,” Anna Seale, associate professor at LSHTM and an instructor of the course, said in a news release. “This course, which is open to participants around the world, aims to bring together expertise, and share knowledge on what we know to date and what we are still learning about the virus and how to combat it.”

The world’s ability to overcome any widespread issue — from disease to climate change — relies on having an educated society. And thanks to the recent emergence of online education, people everywhere now have the ability to access reliable information quicker than ever before. 

Those at LSHTM already know this. In 2016, the university received widespread praise for its response to the Ebola outbreak, which included an online course named Ebola in Context — also facilitated by FutureLearn. The course saw a total enrollment of 18,000 students from over 185 countries. 

Along with Seale, the coronavirus course will be taught by Maryirene Ibeto, research coordinator at LSHTM. 

“Through this course, we aim to facilitate communities of practice, connecting those working with, or interested in, COVID-19,” Ibeto said in the release. “By pooling our knowledge to fill gaps in our knowledge about the virus, we stand the best chance of stopping this outbreak in its tracks.”