'Walking Dead' Themed Online Class Teaches Science And Survival With UC Irvine Professors

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Concerned that you might not have the survival skills to make it in a zombie apocalypse? Then you may want to bush up on your survival tactics with a new free online course on “The Walking Dead” hosted by the University of California, Irvine.

“Society, Science, Survival: Lessons from AMC’s The Walking Dead” aims to instruct students across the world on physics, social sciences, and health through the lens of AMC’s immensely popular zombie survival drama “The Walking Dead.” The Massively Open Online Course (MOOC) is hosted for free on the Canvas network and features lectures from UC Irvine professors with backgrounds in social sciences, physics and astronomy, public health and mathematics.

Officials at UC Irvine say the class is all about using “The Walking Dead” to connect with people who may not traditionally be interested in these subjects. As with all Canvas courses, sign-up is available for free to anyone, regardless of their age or educational background.

“The chance to reach out to an audience who we may not have been able to touch, or to speak to [before] is very exciting,” UC Irvine’s dean of distance learning, Melissa Loble, told Wired. “I would love to see somebody get inspired by one of these topics. If we can inspire people who don’t like math, and suddenly like math, or physics or social and health sciences, then that’d be a win for us.”

The class begins on Oct. 14, one day after “The Walking Dead” season 4 premier. Each Monday, the course will examine the most recent episode of “The Walking Dead” as it relates to society, survival, and scientific concepts. Classes will feature lectures from UC Irvine professors, open discussion with experts in the fields and interviews with “Walking Dead” cast members. While the classes will deal with real scientific concepts, they certainly won’t be boring. The physics lessons, for instance, will in part revolve around shooting zombies in the head.

The UC Irvine professors won’t have advance copies of the episodes to base their lesson plans around, AMC has provided feedback on the program to help make it as accurate as possible.

“It almost doesn’t matter what happens in the show, as long as there are zombies and they get shot in the head and get killed,” Michael Dennin, a professor of physics and astronomy at UC Irvine told Wired. “I really enjoy merging with the physics narrative arc with the pop culture I’m laying over it. It’s amazing how well a fictional physics example works to talk about real physics.”

Sign-up for “Society, Science, Survival: Lessons from AMC’s The Walking Dead” begins on Thusday and continues until the class begins on Oct. 14. Enroll here.

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