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‘The Walking Dead’ Becomes Basis for College Class

UC Irvine turns hit series into online course

The zombie craze in popular culture has infected higher education.

University of California, Irvine, has announced an online course based on “The Walking Dead.” The university is partnering with AMC, home of the zombie-themed hit series since it premiered in 2010, and Instructure, a provider of online academics, to create the online course.

Students will view scholarly subjects such as social science, public health, mathematics and physics through the lens of a hypothetical zombie apocalypse, using examples from the one portrayed in the series.

The eight-week course will be free and open to the public around the world, and it will be hosted through Instructure’s Canvas Network program. UC Irvine has tapped professors Zuzanna Bic, Joanne Christopherson, Michael Dennin and Sarah Eichhorn, spanning a variety of disciplines, to teach.

The massive open online course, or MOOC, is being developed through UCI Extension with no public funds used.

While UC Irvine is the first university to partner with AMC in such a way, it’s not the first to latch onto the undead phenomenon. Michigan State U. offers a popular “Surviving the Coming Zombie Apocalypse: Disasters, Catastrophes and Human Behavior” course, and Columbia College Chicago has a “Zombies in Popular Media” class.

The Walking Dead” is wildly popular among the college age group and was the No. 1 entertainment show on television in the key 18-49 demographic last season.

The first class is scheduled for Oct. 14, the day after the show’s season-four premiere, and it will run on Mondays through Dec. 2, with provisions to prevent show spoilers for international students.

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