The University of California and AMC are partnering to blend a TV show, the Walking Dead, with a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course). This course promises to analyze the scientific issues behind the series and to challenge students to think rigorously in physics, epidemiology, public health, psychology, and calculus.

This partnership is expanding upon a common approach of bringing current events into academic classrooms. Why is that important? The idea is to translate abstract theories and concepts into something that is truly meaningful to learners. The trick here is to know your learners well enough that you understand what they find interesting. Personally, I am not that intrigued by the Walking Dead television series. However, my 16-year-old son just bought the books and is thoroughly engrossed. So, linking content to this show would probably capture his attention!

What does this mean for DecisionSim authors? Get to know your learners. If you can, ask them what they are interested in, what challenges they are facing, and what they want to learn about. Sometimes, just the simple step of asking a few learners a few simple questions, will give you ideas on how to make your simulation personally relevant to them. You might begin by asking your learners to share a problematic case they came across, and then you can use that as your clinical story.

How are you engaging your learners with content that is truly meaningful to them?.

To learn more, read: University launches online course with TV show