MOOC Review: 7.00x Introduction to Biology – The Secret of Life



Course   information

Institution Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Course 7.00x Introduction to Biology – The Secret of Life
Date Summer 2013
Platform edx

Course content

Topics Biochemistry of life

Proteins and Protein Structure


Pathways: Glycolysis


Rediscovery of Mendel and advances by TH Morgan

Basics of human genetics

Biochemical Genetics

DNA as the hereditary material

DNA Replication

Central Dogma: Transcription and Translation

Variations on the Central Dogma

A tale of two genes: β­galactosidase and β-globi

Cloning: Purifing a gene

Finding a specific gene in the library

Analyzing a gene

Human genome and positional cloning

Secrets of the human genome


Perturbing the genome to probe function

Familial hypercholesterolemia


Science and Society

Format Lecture videos


Optional readings

Midterm exams

Final exam

Target group Beginner





Length 13 weeks
Weekly workload 10 hours/week


Overall impression 10/10
Summary This was the best MOOC course I have had participated (till now). Therefore, if you are looking for an introduction to genetics, I strongly recommend you to take this course.

The course will start with some biochemistry lectures in week one and two. But the main topic of the course is genetics which will start in week three. It is an introductory level biology course. The quizzes and exams are difficult but if you have the desire to learn you will pass the exams.

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Eine Antwort zu MOOC Review: 7.00x Introduction to Biology – The Secret of Life

  1. Uat schreibt:

    Interesting topic! Sorry in advance for the long post -1.I agree that elite unsierivties (like Cambridge) are unlikely to suffer from this development, because (academic) exclusivity and access to an exclusive network are still worth a relatively large investment. If the unsierivties are clever, they can even gain some significant extra profits by providing online degrees.Demand will concentrate on the online programmes of the top unsierivties. First, they have the money and the brand name to attract top professors, and thus to deliver online courses taught by the “stars” of the academic discipline. Second, they can provide students with a certificate from a top university. Even if the teaching material might be free, students who are doing online/distance degrees still have an interest in being examined and getting some sort of certificate to satisfy future employers. I guess most of the students are also interested to obtain this certificate from a top university (even if this means paying a small price premium). Since marginal costs are close to zero, unsierivties are now able to serve and to cash in on this nearly-infinite demand. They should only take care to clearly distinguish between online and offline degrees, in order not to dilute the value of the latter.By the way, this is no entirely new thought. I am currently pursuing a distance degree at the University of London in cooperation with the London School of Economics (LSE). When I graduate, I will receive certificates from both the UOL (which provided the organisational structure) and the LSE (which provided the academic material and reviewed my exams). I would lie if I’d say that having LSE in my resume didn’t affect my decision to take up exactly that programme.2.I do not think however that the market for professors and second- or third-tier programmes will shrink significantly. No matter how good an online degree is studying from distance for a couple of years is still very exhausting and needs a lot of self-discipline (I can speak from experience). It will always be inferior to a well-taught face-to-face programme (or to a Blended programme, with a mix of online and face-to-face phases). Those unsierivties who would otherwise struggle thus have to focus on interactive and interesting teaching methods in order to attract students. This might also mean that they have to reduce classroom size in order to bring about a more individual and interactive teaching experience. Smaller classrooms require more professors (given that the student number declines in a smaller rate than the classroom size).3.Finally, if second-tier unsierivties can attract students with innovative, interactive and fun teaching methods, they might even put the top unsierivties under pressure to focus more on great teaching as well. In the end, all students profit:- many online students gain access to top education that they otherwise couldn’t afford- classical offline students from top unsierivties as well as from others profit from better teaching quality as a result of new competition between online and offline programmes.4.PS: As a JBS admit for the 2013 class I’d wish that they’d use the eLearnings that they have developed for the executive MBA as a mandatory preparation for the full-time MBA (I do not know if they actually do this or not). This way, they could lift all MBA students to a relatively similar basic knowledge level and directly start with more advanced academics.In the automotive industry (where I work) this is already standard: Staff education programmes usually transfer most factual knowledge in eTrainings and then focus on experiencing/ developing skills/ anchoring this knowledge/ etc. during phase-to-phase trainings.

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