Mid-way with Infectious Disease and Public Health (SK320)


This is around the mid-point of the infectious disease (SK320) course so it seems a good time to do a review of the course so far.

It’s one of the new-style online courses so there are no books with it, or rather there are are no formally printed and bound books. What you get is a DVD about a month ahead of the course start which contains PDFs of all the texts from the course, which you can download in PDF, ePub and Word formats when the course officially starts in February. The videos embedded in the ePub files are also recorded on the DVD but as separate FLV and MP4 files.

When it gets going, there are quite a number of online tutorials (none face to face) with getting on for one a week initially. All reasonably short at one hour and easy enough to follow. Recordings of these are made available as MP4 with the presentations usually as PDFs but sometimes as Powerpoint files as well. You can order a printed copy of the course materials which runs to around 1400 A4 pages and costs about £110 for colour.

Block 1 starts off very easy but quickly gets into a range of different diseases with block 2 looking at how the immune system deals with them and block 3 considering public health aspects. There seems to be a massive amount of different processes to learn but I’ve not started the revision yet.

Assessment is via four TMAs, 2 iCMAs and an exam. As is usual these days, you just need to pass the assignments and your grade is solely dependent on the exam. The first TMA is a totally trivial one that most people could expect to get close to 100% with, the next two are structured like the exam with the final one being a research based topic. As usual, the iCMAs seem to be very detailed and you need to refer to the texts to answer the questions; they count for 12% and 10% respectively.

It’s quite an interesting course to follow along, so far anyway, but sometimes gets into long stretches of pathways as S377 did.

At one stage I was running nearly 6 weeks ahead of the course so it’s an easy one to get ahead with but equally it’s easy to drop behind with as the units are very variable in length so it’s difficult to judge just how much reading you have to do.

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