Tomorrow is the start of my new virology course at Columbia University. The course, Biology W3310, is aimed at advanced undergraduates and will be taught at the Morningside Campus of Columbia University.
Columbia University encompasses two principal campuses: the historic, neoclassical campus in the Morningside Heights neighborhood and the modern Medical Center further uptown, in Washington Heights. The two are separated by fifty-two city blocks, a distance of over two miles and 20-30 minutes by subway. My laboratory is at the Medical Center, where I’ve taught a variety of virology courses over the years. However, a virology course has not been offered at the Morningside Heights campus since the late 1980s. This is a serious omission for a first-class University. Sending graduates into the world without even a fundamental understanding of viruses and viral disease is inexcusable. Remedying this problems is one reason for building a new virology course. The other is that I love teaching about viruses.
Biology W3310 will be taught on Mondays and Wednesdays at 4:10 PM. The course rationale and schedule can be found at the course website. The required textbook is Principles of Virology, Third Edition, by Flint et al. Students in the course will also read virology blog and listen to the podcast This Week in Virology.
Each lecture will be recorded, and a video screencast will be posted at the course website. I’ve previously posted a screencast of my vaccine lecture. The screencasts are also available (free) at iTunes University.
The goal of Biology W3310 is to provide an understanding of how viruses are built, how they replicate and evolve, how they cause disease, and how to prevent infection. After taking the course, some of the students might want to become virologists. The course will also provide the knowledge required to make informed health decisions about thorny issues such as immunization against viral infections.
Thanks to the internet, the information in my virology course is accessible to everyone.