Introduction and guidance
This free badged course, Understanding antibiotic resistance, lasts 24 hours, with 8 weeks. You can work through the course at your own pace, so if you have more time one week there is no problem with pushing on to complete a further week.
The course will introduce you to the science behind the problem of antibiotic resistance. You will learn about the history of antibiotics, what they are and how they work. You will learn how antibiotic resistance develops and spreads and look at the issues surrounding antibiotic resistance. Finally, you will look at some of the cutting edge ways that scientists are trying to tackle the problem of antibiotic resistance, from promoting good hygiene to developing new antibiotics from the soil.
Although this is an introductory course to antibiotic resistance, it assumes that you have a basic understanding of DNA and proteins. If you are unfamiliar with these concepts you might want to try our free OpenLearn course DNA, RNA and protein formation before you begin this course.or listen to our set of audios at
There will be numerous opportunities to check your learning. This includes interactive quizzes, of which Weeks 4 and 8 will provide you with an opportunity to earn a badge to demonstrate your new skills. You can read more on how to study the course and about badges in the next sections.
After completing this course, you will be able to:
- understand what antibiotics are and how they work
- understand how bacteria become resistant to antibiotics
- appreciate the issues surrounding antibiotic resistance
- know about the challenges in developing new antibiotics
- know about alternative approaches to tackling infectious diseases.
Moving around the course
In the ‘Summary’ at the end of each week, you will find a link to the next week. If at any time you want to return to the start of the course, click on ‘Full course description’. From here you can navigate to any part of the course.
It’s also good practice, if you access a link from within a course page (including links to the quizzes), to open it in a new window or tab. That way you can easily return to where you’ve come from without having to use the back button on your browser.
The Open University would really appreciate a few minutes of your time to tell us about yourself and your expectations for the course before you begin, in our optional start-of-course survey. Participation will be completely confidential and we will not pass on your details to others.