Enrollment in the course is currently available to anyone in the world via www.canvas.net/TWD. The first class is scheduled for Monday, Oct. 14, the day after the Season 4 premiere of AMC’s “The Walking Dead.” The course will run for eight consecutive Mondays through Dec. 2. Because the series will air at different times around the world, Canvas Network will put in place provisions to help international participants avoid spoilers.
While using pop culture references in the classroom is nothing new, this MOOC represents a unique level of experimentation in teaching and learning by formally infusing an academic syllabus with contemporary media. It’s also the first time a technology firm, entertainment company and major university have collaborated in this way.
UC Irvine, which is ranked first among U.S. universities under 50 years old by the London-based Times Higher Education, has been a leader in the MOOC movement and a pioneer in open education for more than a decade. This partnership reflects UC Irvine’s next step in utilizing popular culture and flexible technology to improve outcomes in the open, online learning environment.
“As an educator, I’m always looking for ways to make scholarly ideas come alive for my students,” said Bic, who regularly employs pop culture analogies in her teaching on public health issues. “‘The Walking Dead’ provides many poignant case studies related to the scholarly areas covered in the course, and it helps that it’s one of TV’s most popular shows. There will be something for everyone in this course, which will explore concepts as varied as post-disaster nutrition, the foundations of human survival and stereotypes in a Darwinian environment.”
“The Walking Dead” is the most-watched TV series in basic cable history and was the No. 1 show last season among adults 18 to 49, across all broadcast and cable networks. » Read more