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Teaching the Great Diseases: Online Graduate Education

The Great Diseases team is proud to offer online graduate mini-courses to help you learn the key scientific concepts needed to teach the Great Diseases curriculum in your classroom. Tufts online education offerings bring together authentic scientific reasoning and graduate-level content into a series of mini-courses, so you can learn exactly what you want to learn without spending time on content that you don’t need. It’s flexible, efficient and affordable!

Click here to enroll!


Introduction to Teaching the Great Diseases

Click here to learn more about the online Teaching the Great Diseases program, including course fees and how to register.

Mini-courses open for Fall 2018 enrollment:


BIED 351: What is cancer and why should we care? (0.5 credits, $150)
Offered: 8/30/18 – 10/14/18
Online Workshops: Week of 9/17 and Week of 10/8
Why should your students care about cancer? This course shows how we are all personally impacted by cancer. Throughout several lessons we will see how major questions in the cancer field have shifted over time, and how our current understanding impacts our ability to treat cancer successfully. We will begin to introduce the idea of DNA damage and see how substances that are potentially damaging can be tested. This course introduces important terms in cancer biology, medicine and epidemiology, including concepts of causation and correlation, risk and exposure.


BIED 356: What does it mean to be a “normal” cell? (1.0 credit, $300)
Offered: 8/30/18 – 10/14/18
Online Workshops: Week of 9/24 and Week of 10/8
In order to learn how cancer cells act abnormally, we must first learn how a normal cell functions. In this course, we will explore the organization of cells in tissues and organs, and how cells “talk” to one another and are a part of a community. Throughout its lifetime a normal cell divides, performs its functions, communicates with other cells, and dies. We will see how each of these steps is regulated.


BIED 361: Is our genome unchanging? (0.5 credits, $150)
Offered: 9/27/18 – 10/21/18
Online Workshops: Week of 10/15
It was once thought that the genome that we inherit remains constant, and that evolution of the genome is a slow process. However, scientists have been learning more and more about how our genome responds to and is changed by our environment, sometimes rapidly. In this course we will see how these genomic changes may prevent or promote cancer.


BIED 366: What can go wrong in cancer cells? (1.0 credit, $300)
Offered: 10/4/18 – 12/2/18
Online Workshops: Week of 10/29 and Week of 11/26
How does a cell become cancerous? Is it a slow process, or a quick switch? This course covers how mutations in our DNA are key in the development of cancer. DNA mutations may be the turning point when it comes to cancer development, but what causes DNA to mutate? What genes are critical to the development of cancer when mutated? How do inflammation and aging predispose cells to DNA damage?  How do tumors evolve and adapt to their environments? All these questions are covered in this course.


BIED 371: How does cancer make us sick? (1.0 credit, $300)
Offered: 10/25/18 – 12/16/18
Online Workshops: Week of 11/12 and Week of 12/10
Cancer is caused by unregulated growth of our own cells. What makes these proliferating cells more harmful than their normal counterparts? How are tumors characterized and why is this important for treatment? We learn how cancer cells exit their primary organ and through the process of metastasis find a secondary organ. We will take a look at the critical role that our immune system plays in fighting cancers, and how the rare percentage of cancers that evade the immune system find ways to do that. In this course we zoom out from looking at cancer as a disease of abnormal cells, to looking at how it causes system-wide disease in a human body.


BIED 376: How do we treat cancer? (0.5 credits, $150)
Offered: 10/25/18 – 12/16/18
Online Workshops: Week of 11/19 and Week of 12/10
This course focuses on how cancer is diagnosed and treated, emphasizing the problems that arise when treating cancers as an organ-based, rather than cell-based disease. We will discuss the current diagnostic techniques and treatments and their strengths and limitations, and look forward to how breakthroughs in DNA sequencing technology can provide us with new information to design more specific cancer drugs for better treatments in the future. After seeing the more conventional ways to treat cancer, we will take a critical look at alternative cancer therapies, and spend some time discussing how, and why, cancer occupies such a prominent place in our society and how our understanding of cancer shapes public policy for the future.