Coronavirus course goes viral as global concern rises
The course outlines all the essential aspects of the virus.
A free online course titled "Coronavirus - What You Need To Know" has gone viral as concern grows over the potential worldwide impact of the novel coronavirus. The free learning website attracted 100,000 learners in just one day.
The course - released by the Irish social enterprise Alison, one of the largest free learning platforms in the world - went live on February 2 as part of the international response to the coronavirus. The course outlines all the essential aspects of the virus.
Speaking to Khaleej Times on the course release, Alison CEO and founder Mike Feerick said: "As the impact of the deadly coronavirus spreads, all our teams got together with the aim of creating a course that would act as a go-to place for people who are looking for information about the virus and advice and guidelines to stay safe. The course contains important information on the virus's origins, its transmission and what you need to be aware of if the region you are in becomes infected. It also details how to protect yourself and others from getting sick, and guidelines for international travel. Previously, we had published courses on both the Ebola and Zika viruses in rapid response to those epidemics."
Feerick said: "The number of learners in the UAE who visited our course page is 3,650, while those who are enrolled in and learning this course are 1,080."
The free certificate course will be translated into 100 languages worldwide and updated regularly, on the basis of daily WHO situation reports, as the impact of the coronavirus continues to evolve.
"Free learning platforms like Alison have a unique capability of distributing information, with immediate access to tens of millions of people worldwide," Feerick said.
He added that the course targets anyone who wants to know about the virus and how to protect themselves and their families. "Alison is a free online global platform. We're encouraging our learners to not only take up this course but also to share it with their friends, family and community, as we want this information to reach as many people as possible. All the learners who complete the course have access to a free digital certificate," he said.
He said the course has been received very well by learners, especially those from the UAE, India, Pakistan, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Singapore and Malaysia.
"As a global learning platform, we have launched thousands of courses in the past few years, but this course has gained double the enrolments and course completions compared to other recent courses. This shows how much our learners are looking for information to make themselves aware of the virus and protect themselves and their people. This is one of the most severe disease outbreaks in the past few years and we are glad that we could play a role in helping people with the information that is essential."
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