Teaching Epidemiology Online (Pandemic Edition)

Am J Epidemiol. 2021 Jul 1;190(7):1183-1189. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwaa285.


In response to the threat posed by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, many universities are encouraging or requiring online instruction. Teaching an epidemiology course online is different in many respects from teaching in person. In this article, we review specific approaches and strategies related to teaching epidemiology online during the pandemic and beyond, including a discussion of options for course format, grading and assessment approaches, pandemic-related contingencies, and the use of technology. Throughout this article we present practical, epidemiology-specific teaching examples. Moreover, we also examine 1) how the lessons learned about the practice of epidemiology during the pandemic can be integrated into the didactic content of epidemiology training programs and 2) whether epidemiologic pedagogy and teaching strategies should change in the long term, beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has served to heighten our awareness of concerns related to student health and safety, as well as issues of accessibility, equity, and inclusion. Our goal is to present a practical overview connecting pandemic-era online teaching with thoughts about the future of epidemiologic instruction.

Keywords: coronavirus disease 2019; epidemiology education; online instruction; remote learning.

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19 / epidemiology*
  • Education, Distance / methods*
  • Epidemiology / education*
  • Humans
  • Internet*
  • Pandemics
  • SARS-CoV-2