A new virology course at Columbia University

19 January 2010

winter3Tomorrow 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.

  • erikwrenholt

    Thanks for sharing your courses over the internet! I really enjoyed the 'G6021' course and am looking forward to learning more about viruses.

    I learned a lot from the lectures in the 'G6021' course, but missed out on the discussion of the papers, so I'm hoping you can record those discussions too. The questions from the students are great. Thanks again!

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  • ellenhunt

    Virology isn't taught except as an aside even in graduate schools. The best that UC Davis has to offer is an undergraduate course. It's a nice overview, but barely begins to touch on taxonomy. Good on you Vincent. I like your internet courses too. It's a nice reminder and I learn things.

  • gsgs

    will students post here ? (or elsewhere)

  • gsgs

    no link to http://www.virology.net/
    isn't it good ? extensive collection o virology links etc.

  • gsgs

    come on, let's make a discussion forum for and with the students …

    those who ask most (silly) questions will get a bonus in the examen

  • Sherry K

    I'm sure your students are in for quite a treat. It's been 5 years since I took virology, so I too am looking forward to watching your course videos!

  • Matt H

    I look forward to viewing your course on the Internet, as I have for some time followed your excellent blog. I work on viral genomics myself so I know a few things about viruses, but I always learn more from your blog postings and therefore expect to learn from your course as well.

  • olav

    Great, this is great news. Count me in. Why wait for documentaries when we all can follow the real thing! Thank, you!

  • gsgs

    I see no students discussing here on the blog. Do they meet elsewhere ?
    Why do they ask questions in the course but not here in public ?
    Maybe they fear bad ratings from asking silly questions – but they can ask anonymously.
    They were encouraged to cooperate – but not to discuss here or on another webpage/forum.

  • gsgs
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    i like for The screencasts will also be posted at iTunes University

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    i like for The screencasts will also be posted at iTunes University

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    I see no students discussing here on the blog. Great. I look forward to viewing your course on the Internet.

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    Of course, those wishing to become a medical virologist will need to have completed medical school in addition to having a formal background in the study of virology.

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    I am impressed, I have to say.

  • Farzin

    Thanks alot for your vaccine lecture,Iam a PhD student of medical virology in Tehran university,because of filtering in our country I could not access to your pod casts….

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    The course, Biology W3310, is aimed at advanced undergraduates and will
    be taught at the Morningside Campus of Columbia University.