Tips & Resources

Online Courses Offer Guidance on Dealing with Covid-19

Online education platforms are adding courses about the novel coronavirus and the disease it causes, Covid-19. These resources include courses designed for specialists who study the virus or treat people sickened by it, for humanitarian workers, and for general-interest learners who want more knowledge about the disease and how to cope with it.

Here we highlight a sampling of those resources. The majority are in English, but some are in Arabic, French, and other languages. Suggestions for additions to this resource list can be made in the comments below.


Coursera, established in 2012, offers thousands of high-quality online courses, as well as online degrees and certificate programs. Courses it recently added in response to the Covid-19 pandemic include:

Science Matters: Let’s Talk About Covid-19
Imperial College London.

This four-week course, from the Abdul Latif Jameel Institute for Disease and Emergency Analytics (J-Idea) at Imperial College London, is open to all and free of charge. Students will learn about the science underpinning basic questions about Covid-19 and its spread, such as how dangerous the virus is, and how the epidemic can be contained. The material includes videos and readings on where to find the latest information on Covid-19 and situation reports from leading researchers about the current state of the epidemic. Students will also get an introduction to the essential principles of epidemiology and infectious disease modeling. The course’s final week, on health systems and economic impacts, is being created in real time as the epidemic unfolds.

Fighting Covid-19 with Epidemiology: A Johns Hopkins Teach-Out
Johns Hopkins University.

Like the Imperial College London course, this free “teach-out” also provides basic information about the epidemiology of infections like Covid-19 and how scientists study such outbreaks. The two-week course is presented in 24 short video lectures that run a total of about three hours.

Covid-19: What You Need to Know
From the medical-education platform Osmosis.
Free for general learners, $49 for those who want to earn a certificate.

This course brings together regularly updated information from the World Health Organization, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and other agencies on the basics of the disease and topics like diagnostics and protective gear. While anyone can enroll in the course, it’s designed to help healthcare professionals become familiar with the signs of Covid-19 and become better prepared to treat it. They may also earn continuing medical education credits. Students who take the course for free get access to all materials—five videos, 12 readings and six quizzes.

Mind Control: Managing Your Mental Health During Covid-19
University of Toronto.

This four-week course is designed to help people deal with anxiety related to Covid-19 as it relates to their current lives and their fears about the world it will leave in its wake. Learners will gain a deeper understanding of the anxiety reaction and strategies for managing it. Three weekly sections contain videos and practical exercises on topics like “Achieving Relaxation: A Skill We All Need to Learn Now” and “Why Watching the News is Addicting and How to Manage Your Consumption.”  The final week summarizes key lessons and suggests additional videos.

The author, a professor of psychology, writes: “My sincere hope is that you will leave this course with a better understanding of how your brain reacts to crises, along with some powerful tools for managing it before it manages you.”

Covid-19—A Clinical Update
University of Florida.
Free to audit; $49 to earn a certificate.

This two-week course, taught by a professor of medicine who specializes in infectious diseases, aims to counter misinformation about Covid-19 and give learners the knowledge and skills to make a difference in flattening the curve of the disease’s progress around the world.

Videos answer questions like who is at risk, how is the disease best treated, and how can we slow the spread of the infection. Exercises that will be reviewed by other learners in the course aim to show the power of tracing cases and isolating those who are infected. They also encourage learners to create campaigns to shift their countries’ cultures to embrace behaviors that can help suppress the epidemic and save lives.

Resilience Skills in a Time of Uncertainty
University of Pennsylvania.

This four-week class is a special edition of an existing course within a specialization called Foundations of Positive Psychology. The university is making the course free to support people confronting various difficult challenges related to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The course teaches learners how to incorporate resilience interventions into their personal and professional lives. It explores several types of resilience interventions, including strategies for managing anxiety and increasing positive emotions, such as gratitude.


This U.K.-based platform has a three-tier pricing structure. Learners can join most courses for free, but will have time-limited access to the course’s material. For a fee, they can upgrade to get unlimited access to the course and eligibility to earn a certificate of achievement. Students can also buy a one-year subscription that grants access to hundreds of courses on the platform.

Special courses added in response to Covid-19 include:

Managing Covid-19 in General Practice
St George’s, University of London.
Free to auditors; $39 for upgraded access.

This course is designed for primary care clinicians and other health care professionals who are dealing with the large volume of patients affected by Covid-19. The course is based on guidance offered by U.K. public health bodies but will also be relevant to health care practitioners in other nations. Topics covered in this course include when to suspect Covid-19 infection in primary care, management of acutely unwell patients, management of those with mild symptoms in home isolation, and tips on how to keep a general practice running safely.

Covid-19 Diagnostics and Testing
Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics.
Free to auditors; $39 for upgraded access.

This course is presented by a global nonprofit organization that develops diagnostics to combat major diseases affecting the world’s poorest populations. Students will learn about the different types of diagnostic tests for Covid-19 in use around the world, the latest recommendations on testing strategies, and key considerations for the safety, quality and impact of diagnostic services.

Covid-19 Critical Care: Understanding and Application
University of Edinburgh.
Free access and free upgrade.

This course is designed to teach frontline care providers and clinical staff how to effectively care for critically ill patients during the Covid-19 pandemic. Topics include daily critical care practices, self-care and staff well-being. The information in this resource will support those refreshing critical care knowledge and skills, newly qualified doctors, those who are upskilling, and those returning to acute clinical services during the pandemic.

Covid-19: Tackling the Novel Coronavirus
London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.
Free access and free upgrade.

This course is for people working in health care services, or anyone interested in how experts are responding to the outbreak. Topics covered include how Covid-19 emerged and was identified, and what is needed to deal with it going forward. The course is presented in English, with translations available in Chinese, French, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish.

Thrive in Trying Times Teach-Out
University of Michigan.
Free access and free upgrade.

This course, led by experts from the Center for Positive Organizations at the University of Michigan, offers tips for community organizing and maintaining well-being during this time of crisis. Learners will discover the scientific grounding behind terms like thriving, resilience, and compassion, and consider the value of gratitude and staying connected in a time of social distancing.

A surgeon walks home after finishing his shift at the American University of Beirut Medical Center (Photo by: Marwan Naamani/AP).
A surgeon walks home after finishing his shift at the American University of Beirut Medical Center (Photo by: Marwan Naamani/AP).


EdX, founded by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University, provides more than 3,000 online courses provided by more than 140 universities and corporations. Currently, it offers one course in English that’s designed for medical professionals dealing with Covid-19. Several others are offered in Spanish.

Mechanical Ventilation for Covid-19
Harvard University.

This one-week course is designed to provide licensed medical professionals from non-ICU settings with an understanding of mechanical ventilation so they can help critical-care teams deal with a surge of patients with Covid-19. The authors caution that ventilators should be used under the supervision of qualified licensed medical professionals, such as respiratory therapists and critical-care doctors and nurses. During extreme times like the Covid-19 pandemic, however, the number of critical-care specialists is strained and clinical personnel from other areas may be called in to help.

Preparing non-ICU hospital personnel to help in the operation of a mechanical ventilator “will make us stronger, giving us all an extra pair of hands to lean on for support,” the authors write. “We encourage all non-ICU clinicians to consider completing this course, readying themselves to best help their colleagues and patients on the front lines of this virus.”


Kaya is the global learning platform of the Humanitarian Leadership Academy, a nonprofit organization that is part of Save the Children, a charity registered in the United Kingdom. Kaya’s courses are free and are designed for those working in the humanitarian sector. In response to the novel coronavirus pandemic, it is offering:

The COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Learning Pathway—Open Access
Save the Children, Humanitarian Leadership Academy.

This course is designed for Save the Children partners and local responders. It aims to equip humanitarian workers with skills for responding to the pandemic. The learning pathway contains capacity strengthening programs to support humanitarians’ responses to the crisis and a library of downloadable resources relating to working in the context of Covid-19. Topics include programmatic support, diversity and equality, cash and voucher assistance, psychosocial and psychological first aid, health and safety, communication and language skills, leadership skills, staff welfare, and training design and facilitation.

E3mel Business Academy

This online business school, based in Cairo, provides courses in Arabic that train young people in entrepreneurship and management skills. It offers the following free course on concerns related to the novel coronavirus.

Health Awareness, Prevention and Control of Infection with the Novel Coronavirus (Covid-19)
In Arabic.

The course aims to provide answers to some of the most common questions about Covid-19 and separate facts from myths about the disease. Topics include the origin of the virus and the appropriate infection prevention measures for households, workplaces and health facilities. The course consists of 12 video lectures and a final quiz.


OpenWho is an online learning launched by the World Health Organization to improve responses to outbreaks of deadly diseases, including the novel coronavirus (Covid-19), by providing fast and free access to the latest scientific and operations know-how. Courses are open to anyone.

New offerings related to Covid-19 include:

Emerging respiratory viruses, including Covid-19: Methods for detection, prevention, response and control
Available in Arabic, English, French and other official languages of the United Nations.

This self-paced course provides a general introduction to Covid-19 and emerging respiratory viruses and is intended for public health professionals, incident managers and personnel working for the United Nations, international organizations and NGOs. It includes modules on how emerging respiratory viruses are detected, monitored, and prevented, and risk communication and community engagement.

Covid-19: Operational Planning Guidelines and Covid-19 Partners Platform to Support Country Preparedness and Response
Available in English, French and several other languages, though not in Arabic.

This course is mainly for people who work on the global response and coordination to the novel coronavirus. Its aim is to build capacities in order to support policy-makers in assessing national and local preparedness and planning compatible response strategies in coordination with global actors.

Clinical Care—Severe Acute Respiratory Infection
Available in English, French and several other languages, though not in Arabic.

This course is primarily for health care clinicians who work in Intensive Care Units (ICUs) in low- and middle-income settings. It aims to provide them with tools that can be used to care for critically ill patients from hospital entry to discharge. Course materials include modules on diagnostics, antimicrobials, oxygen therapy, mechanical ventilation and other medical treatments, as well as discussions of best practices and ethical considerations.

Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) for Novel Coronavirus (Covid-19)
Available in English, French and several other languages, though not in Arabic.

This one-hour course is designed for frontline health care workers and public health professionals, to train them in the basics of infection control and prevention in health facilities.

ePROTECT—Respiratory Infections
Available in English, French and several other languages, though not in Arabic.

This four-module course provides an introduction to acute respiratory infections of public health concern and the basic hygiene measures health care workers should take to protect themselves.

Hala Mkhallalati and Charles Huckabee contributed to this article.

One Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button