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AFRO-NETS> Supercourse Update - March 1999
- Subject: AFRO-NETS> Supercourse Update - March 1999
- From: Ronald E Laporte <email@example.com>
- Date: Sat, 27 Mar 1999 13:35:56 -0500 (EST)
Supercourse Update - March 1999
We are very pleased concerning the developments in Argentina. Cur-
rently 3 medical schools have agreed to mirror the course. Raul Mer-
cer has done great work in contacting people. There will be a major
meeting on April 9, which could form the basis of bringing the super-
course to all the medical schools of Argentina, and potentially to
the rest of Latin America. We will be meeting with 5 representatives
from NASA, 2 from PAHO and one from WHO on April first to discuss
possible areas of collaboration. It should be most interesting.
Hiko Tamashiro from WHO Geneva indicates that the outstanding 'Envi-
ronment, Health and Sustainable Development' supercourse may become a
part of a major WHO initiative. This could markedly spread the Super-
course into new areas of the world.
Tom Songer and I have been teaching Chronic Disease Epidemiology this
term. As part of it we have been using lectures for the supercourse.
As the supercourse is a new concept, we have been trying different
approaches. Last week I decided to teach a lecture on Minamata Dis-
ease for 2 hours. I am a diabetes epidemiologists who knows virtually
nothing about Minamata Bay, Minamata disease, Environmental epidemio-
logy, and mercury. What a scary thought... but I thought I would try.
I was amazed. If I had to prepare a 2 hour lecture like this it typi-
cally would take 20-30 hours pulling it together, with getting the
references, creating slides, and trying to sound like I almost knew
the area. Typically this first lecture on an unknown subject would be
a dog with me not knowing anything and not being able to answer the
questions. My first experience doing this was great. It took about 4
hours to create a lecture. There was almost no slide preparation as
the slides are taken from the lecture. The lecture was not the same
as in the supercourse, but this gave me the backbone and the links to
find additional information. The most gratifying experience is that
as I was teaching this, I could feel why Professor Takazawa loved
this area, his excitement and passion for the area came through to
me, and I think through to the students.
After all this work by us, and many of you, I can really say that it
is a very powerful asset to our teaching, it reduced enormously class
preparation time, while giving you a lecture that you can present
with excitement and pizzazz. Also, it is nice to say that the lecture
you are giving was produced by you and the world expert in the area,
as it does result in a combined effort. Please try at some point to
present a lecture or part of a lecture using the supercourse. We
would value your comments as this is brand new, that of teaching from
The URL for the Minamata disease lecture is:
I also wanted to show you something really interesting:
Welcome to my Cave!!! My sister showed me this up in Buffalo, and it
drove me mad. A systems program for a Maryland School district devel-
oped it, and it is rapidly going around the world with 600,000 hits
since January. It is fascinating, and I send it to you not to make
your frustrated, but rather it illustrates one of the major aspects
of the Supercourse, how people pay attention and learn. Last year we
published in Nature Medicine the concept of Hypertext comic books:
The answer is in this article where we decribe Barlett schemata for-
mation. It is a wonderful program that reads your mind, and once you
discover the reason, will tell you a little bit about how you learn.
Best regards from Pittsburgh,
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