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Review: COVID Vaccine Ambassador Training – How to Talk to Parents

Learn strategies for dealing with misinformation and talking to people with wrong ideas in this free course with certificate.

Once again, Johns Hopkins has produced a topical COVID course with a free Coursera certificate (available until the end of 2022). This time the university has tackled the issue of vaccine hesitancy and rebuts the concerns some people have about vaccinating children.

I decided to take COVID Vaccine Ambassador Training: How to Talk to Parents because some members of my extended family are hesitant about vaccinating their children with this “new” vaccine. Whether or not I’ll have the opportunity or backbone to talk to them about the issue, time will tell. But I am now better equipped to discuss the topic if it comes up.

I have already taken some courses about COVID-19, so much of the material was revision. The information specific to children was interesting and timely, with many countries rolling out vaccines for children during 2021 and 2022.

Topics range from information about the SARS CoV-2 virus, the immune system, and vaccines to having conversations about vaccine hesitancy and how to spot and defuse misinformation. A surprising amount of information was packed into this compact course.

Course Structure

The estimated time commitment of two to three hours was realistic, although you could spend more time exploring all the resources provided.

Each of the 12 modules began with a slideshow lesson and ended with a short quiz. Quizzes generally had four questions, although some had three or five. Some modules included one or more videos, each between one and four minutes long. Answers to the quizzes were generally found in the “Lessons” and videos. The format was very similar to several edX courses I’ve taken recently: a video, some reading, followed by a few quiz questions.

I was surprised when I was marked wrong for one question. I revised the Lesson again, but could not find that particular point in the module. I checked a different answer which was marked right. Sadly, there was no discussion forum and I was unable to ask about the issue. I’m still not convinced that the answer was correct!

The Resources include useful links to sites such as a Glossary of Terms, supplementary videos, further readings, and related sites.

For information packed into a concise course, I would rate this five stars. I ended up only awarding four stars because of some unwieldy aspects:

  • All the slideshows (called Lessons) have to be clicked through slide by slide. Although you can set it to progress automatically through the slides at a range of speeds, the differing amount of reading per slide makes this cumbersome. You either have to wait for some slides to change, or miss out on all the reading on others. While some other courses include Powerpoints as supplementary materials, in this course they stand alone and contain much of the information.
  • One video was recorded in portrait mode. The first time I watched it, I could not find a setting to shrink the size to one suitable for my laptop, and had to spend the whole video scrolling up and down to see what was going on. I later found a setting to see it more easily. When I tested it on my mobile, I couldn’t get the video to fill the screen, so it was tiny. It stubbornly stayed in portrait mode, overlaying Coursera’s default landscape mode. It was an entertaining and well-made video, but I found it difficult to watch.

Overall

I particularly liked the strategies for dealing with misinformation and talking to people with wrong ideas. These can be used in other situations too, such as conversations about climate change.

What next?

A few other Johns Hopkins University courses about COVID are available with a free certificate until the end of 2022:

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Pat Bowden

Online learning specialist, still learning after 100+ MOOCs completed since 2012. Class Central customer support and help since 2018. I am keen to help others make the most of online learning, so I set up a website:  www.onlinelearningsuccess.org

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