Citizen Science and Global Learning around COVID-19

The pandemic affects all of us. A large proportion of the world’s population is currently locked down at home, often leading to an increasing sense of helplessness. This is especially the case in the absence of ways to take back some level of control and to learn about the current crisis. Two CRI projects are working on supporting people in their personal learning around COVID-19 and have just been awarded funding from the OpenCovid19 initiative of Just One Giant Lab.

Read more about these projects below:

Quantified Flu

Quantified Flu is a collaborative community science project that combines symptom self-tracking and wearable data to explore the potential individual value in these data. It was started by CRI Fellow Bastian Greshake Tzovaras and his colleagues. The community itself generated a hypothesis that wearable devices might be able to predict when we are falling sick, even before we are consciously aware of symptoms. This is due to the fact that the physiological wearable data may hold some indicators of illness (for example the resting heart rate might elevate).

But beyond this, there is the more broad hypothesis that we can collectively learn a lot about how our physiological signals respond to infections and which symptoms we display when having an infection. This value may exist especially in contextualizing this data with self-tracking of symptoms, with others' data, and with one's own past data.

Quantified Flu is not attempting epidemiology. Rather than considering it a crisis intervention, we see this as related to the crisis in a different way: people have a heightened awareness and interest in whether they are getting sick (and whether that illness is COVID-19). If people are already interested in such self-monitoring, the project aims to make that more rewarding, valuable, and be doing it together.

The OpenCovid19 micro-grant will allow Quantified Flu to rapidly broaden support for additional wearable devices.

How to contribute

If you want to join the efforts of collecting your own symptoms or are interested to see your wearable device data in the context of symptoms, sign up in Quantified Flu! If you want to volunteer beyond this and contribute with data analyses and other things, get in touch with the community by joining the OpenCovid19 Slack and visiting us in the #proj-quantifiedflu channel!

Global Webinars for Students

Millions of high-school and university students all over the world are currently forced to stay at home and rely on online tools for their education. With Global Webinars for Students, the aim is to empower students not only to understand the current outbreak of COVID-19 but also to get a broader understanding of biology, scientific research, epidemiology, drug discovery, vaccine development and all the challenges and limitations of our current knowledge. The project was started by CRI teacher Eugenia Covernton together with CRI Research Fellow Liubov Tupikina and the team of “Lecturers without borders” (LeWiBo) to encourage critical thinking and allow them to become active in educating others, showing them how they can contribute themselves to reduce these social problems.

The project is developing a series of webinars in English, Spanish and French that will be offered for free to schools and universities. They will be recorded to make them available as online lectures. Students will be invited by their institutions and the team in LeWiBo will coordinate all activities, adapting the content to the specific requests of each institution and to the prior knowledge of the students. The webinars will be interactive and the students will have the opportunity to send questions beforehand in order to actively participate in determining the content of each session.

How to contribute

You can find the team on the #proj-free-edu-webinars-viruses channel of the OpenCovid19 slack. You can find LeWiBo social media (Facebook, Twitter), and join the Lecturers without borders JOGL community.

If you would like to request a webinar for your institution, please use this form.

If you would like to participate as a lecturer, please use this form.