Higher education partners with Hollywood to produce a MOOC

This is what happens when MOOCs, marketing and mass media collide:

AMC, the cable television channel, is using a MOOC to promote a popular show, “The Walking Dead” .

The channel has partnered with the University of California, Irvine (IC Irvine), and four Ph.Ds to teach the course titled “Society, Science, Survival: Lessons from AMC’s The Walking Dead.” According the official registration page, the course explores the spread of disease, social structures, and the role of the government in public health, among other themes.

Just take a look at the courseware to see that is not a crazy, stupid course:

  • Maslow’s hierarchy of needs—is survival just about being alive?
  • Social order and structures—from the farm and the prison to Woodbury
  • Social identity, roles, and stereotyping—as shown through leaders like Rick and the Governor
  • The role of public health in society—from the CDC to local community organizations
  • The spread of infectious disease and population modeling—swarm!
  • The role of energy and momentum in damage control—how can you best protect yourself?
  • Nutrition in a post-apocalyptic world—are squirrels really good for you?
  • Managing stress in disaster situations—what’s the long-term effect of always sleeping with one eye open?

The course has engaging lectures, interviews, articles and academic resources. It uses key scenes from the show to illustrate aspects of learning. Students are able to participate in large and small group discussions and test their learning with quizzes.

Instructors use video lectures, discussion forums and social media to provide learning materials throughout the eight-week course.

The platform used for this MOOC is the Canvas LMS.

Experts agree that this partnership between higher education and Hollywood is groundbreaking and provides an interesting insight into the future of marketing, education and educational content.