Course 1 of a three course specialization called Fundamentals of Immunology. Each course in the specialization presents material that builds on the previous course's material.
This is the first leg of a three-part journey through the defenses your body uses to keep you healthy. In this part we hope to give you the vocabulary and concepts you need to interact with the medical community and to provide them in a context that makes them memorable.
Fundamentals of Immunology introduces students to the basic functions of the adaptive and innate immune systems. The early lectures survey cells, tissues and organs using metaphors, cartoons and models to improve understanding and retention. After describing the form, function, origin and varieties of antibodies, subsequent lectures provide details on the mechanism of the generation of variation. The course provides animations of gene rearrangement and class switching and descriptions of affinity maturation correlated with detailed physical models of antibody structure. The final lecture reviews these concepts in anatomical context. Testing employs multiple choice questions testing facts, concepts, and application of principles. Questions may refer to diagrams, drawing and photographs used in lecture and reproduced in the outline.
What You’ll Learn:
The difference between adaptive and innate immune systems, the characteristics of various pathogens that they protect you from and the overall strategies employed in this protection. The detailed structure of antibodies and related immunoglobulin receptors, the characteristics and function of the different antibody classes and the mechanism for producing both the recognition regions and stem regions. Finally, how these structures are coded for in the DNA and expressed in the B cells.
Introducing the Metaphors
Surveying the Cells and Organs of the Immune System
First off, this course is not for the "faint of heart" (i.e., people taking courses casually/in stride) - it can be argued that this offering is close to a college elective-level course. Thus, while a baccalaureate-level grasp of biology or related fields...
First off, this course is not for the "faint of heart" (i.e., people taking courses casually/in stride) - it can be argued that this offering is close to a college elective-level course. Thus, while a baccalaureate-level grasp of biology or related fields is not required, you should enter this course with the appropriate mindset. Be ready to watch the videos more than twice, read the provided handouts (before or after each relevant video) and, if necessary, digest further references. As a baccalaureate degree holder in biology who unfortunately did not have the opportunity to take a specialized course on the topic, this MOOC is highly appreciated. The concepts discussed are challenging on their own, but Dr. Novotny does a great job in making them bearable especially for determined learners. Her approach is quite unique as she seemingly treats you as she would a student in her face-to-face university classes. Furthermore, the quizzes (both ungraded and graded) are engaging and will really require you to at least read the handouts to get a passing grade. Overall, this course is excellently-made and I will recommend it particularly to college students and researchers-to-be who are interested to do immunology work. I am looking forward to complete the Course Specialization that this course introduces.