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AFRO-NETS> Epidemiology Course on the Internet (43)
- Subject: AFRO-NETS> Epidemiology Course on the Internet (43)
- From: "Ronald E. LaPorte" <RLAPORTE@vms.cis.pitt.edu>
- Date: Mon, 15 Dec 1997 14:09:26 -0500 (EST)
Epidemiology Course on the Internet (43)
I am sending a draft of the first paper. We would most appreciate your
comments. We plan to submit this to the British Medical Journal.
We want to have the authorship listed very different than that which is
done in publications. The reason for it is that this course could not
have been developed without all of us contributing to the effort.
Therefore as authorship we will see if they will accept:
Global Health Network Contributors: http://www.pitt.edu/~super1
In the page we will list everyone who contributed, as we have for the
people who did the reviewing. We will have a list of people who wrote
lectures, those who translated, those who helped with the resource
page, etc. We think this is a fairest way, and identifies the roles
that everyone played in the course. We would very much value your opin-
It is very important that the course be presented at meetings in your
country and across the world. Raul Mercer, for example plans to present
a description of the course in Puerto Rico. Raul is from Argentina.
Please feel free to present information about the course. We will
shortly put up some slides of the course on the web, should you want to
present about it in your center, country, or internationally.
Please return your comments to us by Dec. 22, 1997
Draft of Paper to be submitted to the British Medical Journal
"Global Medical/Health Education in the 21st Century: Health Super-
Authors: Global Health Network Super Course
We teach in academia. Teaching is the sharing of information to our
students. However, didactic lecturing has changed little in 200 years.
In contrast, during the past 25 years information technology (IT) has
improved a million fold. It is time that we in health begin to harness
the IT revolution to improve medical/health training. Here we present
how a global Internet academic modular system can be developed to en-
A new model of international education can be established because of
the Internet. We thus propose to establishing the first global Internet
net based Supercourse. This course uses the power and cost/effective-
ness of the Internet. It could start to establish a global architecture
of medical information that can be used for teaching, research, and po-
tentially the lay public. What is important is not the topic of the
course, but the format as we would propose. If a similar approach is
taken in other disciplines there would be much better communication in
learning and across disciplines. The Supercourse is titled "Epidemio-
logy, the Internet and Global Health"
The problem is that epidemiology is one of the favourite courses, de-
spite the enormous impact of epidemiology on health. Moreover, there is
only a limited knowledge of the use of the Internet in health institu-
tions across the world. We have set out to change this by developing a
course for 20-30,000 students at a time, world wide.
Faculty: The most important faculty person is the person heading the
class, you and I. With the Supercourse we would be in complete control
of choosing lectures, or parts of lectures. However, we can work with
an external faculty consisting of over 500 experts in public health and
the Internet from 48 different countries.
Lecture Format: The lectures are "information modules" in that a packet
of self contained information is available from each lecture. Moreover,
the lecture is a "locator" as hypertext links take one to other perti-
nent modules of information in this course, other lecture series or
elsewhere on the Internet. One format of "hypertext comic book"
(http://www.pitt.edu/~debaaron/htcb.html) is used extensively. The for-
mat is produced using a well known graphing program whose figures have
hypertext links embedded within them. The course is being developed ac-
cording to cognitive psychology theories. Pointing and clicking into
each link takes one to deeper levels of information and comprehension.
The figures are made also to down load. There are information modules
from leading experts in epidemiology and telecommunications who were
recruited by sending messages out to lists across the world. The fac-
ulty have been working for free to establish the first state of the art
global Internet based course.
Local use of the course: An instructor in Mexico City can decided to
use one of the lectures, some of the lectures, all of the lectures or
parts of the lectures. The information modules can serve as a course
unto themselves or be pulled into traditional courses. Other lecture
series can also use the modules. Thus a course on diabetes and its com-
plications might want to include an information module on diabetes epi-
demiology, or on the Internet.
Global courses need to be sustainable, and not targeted to developed
countries. In this course over 10 faculty members are from Africa, 10
from the former Soviet Union, and 15 from Latin America. When finished
we will have at least 10 lectures from people in developing countries.
Texts: The British Medical Journal has agreed to put two excellent text
books on the Web for our use, and others. This is to our knowledge the
first time that major medical text have been put on the web.
Peer Review: All lectures are peer reviewed by the global faculty. At
the end of each lecture there is a peer review form. Should the review-
ers agree, the reviews are anonymously put on the Internet along with
the ratings. As students around the world take the course, they will
also be able to review and critique the lectures. In this manner we
have the top faculty critiquing the lectures for the initial improve-
ment. A continuous quality appraisal mechanism based upon Deming prin-
ciples is thus set up. Annually each lecture will be reviewed, and the
comments assessed to determine if the ratings have changed. The ratings
and comments will be applied to the same lecture given the next time,
and for general comments for the total lecture series.
The strength of the Internet is that we are also able to track usage of
each lecture. We can determine when and where the lectures are being
used by putting counters on each lecture. As more and more people begin
to write lectures, they will be added. The "market place" will deter-
mine which are most used, thus if there were two lectures on the Inter-
net, then the local instructors across the world will determine that
which they want to use.
Languages: The course is being translated from English into Spanish,
Japanese, German, Turkish, Portuguese, Malay, Korean, Chinese, French,
and possibility several other languages. Upon clicking into the lan-
guage, then the course will appear in that language.
Mirrored servers: We have found that often the figures are slow to come
down. To alleviate this problem we will set up mirrored servers across
the world. A mirrored server is a copy of the course put onto another
computer, every time the base lectures are changed so will the mirrored
sites. With this a student from Russia, can access the course in Mos-
cow, or in Chile, from Santiago.
Interactivity: The Internet by its nature is an interactive medium. We
will have students from across the world to talk with each other. Also
we will have "meet the professor" where students from Tokyo can discuss
on the Internet Malaria in Peru with our faculty there. We are also de-
termining the feasibility of a global Internet game of health where
16,000 students can work together to stop the new epidemic of an infec-
tious disease in Uganda from moving north to Europe, west to Russia,
China and Japan.
Course credit: There is no central university giving credit for this
course. Instead, it is under the control of the local instructors, like
us. The goal is not to replace the local instructor, but rather to en-
hance their efforts by providing modules of state of the art informa-
tion that can be used in the classroom setting. We are, however, con-
sidering providing a certificate.
Conclusion: We believe that a new approach towards global medical/
health education can be established be using the Internet. We would en-
vision that other disciplines would develop lectures in parallel to
this with hypertext links between lectures and information sources, so
that a course in epidemiology can link directly in biochemistry, or
The instructors world wide are excellent teachers, however, many do not
have access to the information. Moreover, most of us would love to have
the top person in the world to help us teach lectures that we do not
know much about, with the Internet, this is now possible.
We would be pleased to help you set up your own Global Internet Course
in your discipline.
Send mail for the `AFRO-NETS' conference to `email@example.com'.
Mail administrative requests to `firstname.lastname@example.org'.
For additional assistance, send mail to: `email@example.com'.