Full course description

Starts June 8, 2015

This course introduces the exciting basic science that underlies modern medicine, and shows how we use that knowledge to understand medicine today. The course is designed for the general public, including high school students, who are interested in learning more about how the body works. There are no prerequisites. We want to help people take a more active role in their own wellness, and talk effectively with their healthcare providers.

Many who have attended the live Mini Medical School in Colorado have gone on to careers in the health care professions. It’s a chance to see how medicine is developing: what progress is being made, and what are the big challenges that still remain.

The course is arranged in Modules. A new Module will become available each week for 7 weeks. The course will be available for a while after that, so people who joined late, or want to spend more time, will be able to complete it.

The topics, which are typically covered in the first 2 years of medical school, are:
Module 1: Anatomy and Physiology 1
Module 2: Anatomy and Physiology 2
Module 3: Cellular and Molecular Biology
Module 4: The Immune System
Module 5: Infectious Disease
Module 6: Neuroscience
Module 7: Cancer Biology

Frequently Asked Questions

How is the course arranged?

Each Module consists of 8 or 9 Units, video presentations which average about 6 minutes, so they easily fit into busy schedules. Complete transcripts of each Unit are provided; these are especially helpful for people whose main language is not English. There are links to fascinating (and sometime very funny!) sites that may interest you. An optional quiz is available at the end of each module. Each week, we’ll open a discussion forum where you can ask questions and interact with your classmates and University of Colorado students and faculty.

How much time will the course require?

The total time for viewing the Units is about 50 minutes a week. Most people spend a total of 2 or 3 hours on the Units and optional interesting “Learn Mores.”

What Internet connections do I need?

The course can be viewed on a computer, tablet, and on some smartphones. The videos are high-definition and hosted on YouTube, so you need to be able to connect to YouTube (some countries block it and there’s nothing we can do about that.)

Can I get a Certificate of Completion?

Yes! You have to visit each Unit; after that a Certificate will become available for download. Although quizzes are offered for each module, they are optional.

Are the instructors involved in the course?

Very actively!

John Cohen

J. John Cohen, MDCM, PhD

Professor of Immunology and Microbiology, and Medicine

John Cohen was born in Montreal, Canada and trained in science and medicine at McGill University there. He has been at the University of Colorado Medical School for many years. In 1989, he founded the CU Mini Med School, a live program that ran for 25 years; this online course continues that tradition. He has received many teaching awards. His group has done fundamental research in how cells make the decision to live or die.

Helen Macfarlane

Helen Macfarlane, MA

Assistant Professor, Director of Educational Technology

Helen Macfarlane trained as a medical illustrator at Johns Hopkins University. She leads a group supporting educational technology in the University of Colorado Medical School. Helen is the producer and designer of this online Mini Medical School, after years of involvement with the live version.