The only thing that makes us welcome the “back to school” season is that it signals the start of fall and the Halloween season. This, year, however, we’re even looking forward to taking a class: UC Irvine’s “Society, Science, Survival: Lessons from AMC’s The Walking Dead.”
The eight week, online class will be taught by four faculty members and cover sociology, public health, physics, and triage systems and crowd control. Best of all: it’s free.
According to the class summary, students should plan to spend 2 to 4 hours per week studying up for the class, and it appears that watching “The Walking Dead” may be mandatory: the class is being made in association with the producers of the show, and the first class will be held the day after the October 13th premiere of season 4 of the series.
Some additional details on what you can expect to be taught during the class:
- 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?
After taking these classes, you’ll be ready to take on exams and pop quizzes with challenges that may include:
- Describe how infectious diseases—like a zombie epidemic—spread and are managed
- Apply various models of society and Maslow’s hierarchy of needs to existing and emerging societies as a means for understanding human behavior
- Analyze existing social roles and stereotypes as they exist today and in an emerging world
- Debate the role of public health organizations in society
- Describe how mathematical equations for population dynamics can be used to study disease spread and interventions
- Apply concepts of energy and momentum appropriately when analyzing collisions and other activities that either inflict or prevent damage
- Summarize multiple methods for managing stress in disaster situations
For better or worse, one thing that isn’t covered in these classes is parenting, such as, how to keep an eye on your possibly bastard son. Maybe they’ll save this for a masters class.
Class info here — but in the meantime take a browse below for some suggested reading to give you some added brains before class begins.