Supercourse-Epidemiology, the Internet and Global Health. (Books & Electronic Media)

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CD-ROM, available free upon request by sending an email containing the recipient's name, affiliation, and address to eunsa@ pitt.edu. Alternatively, Supercourse can be downloaded from the following URL: http:// www.pitt.edu/super1/assist/download.htm

So what exactly is "Supercourse"? In essence it is an ever-growing, Internet-based, freeware, distance learning tool. It is intended for students beginning to explore epidemiology, global health, and the opportunities of learning through the Internet. But more than that, it is a resource for lecturers and academics seeking to find new ways to present material or compare their way of teaching with that of others across the world.

I personally first came across Supercourse while struggling with the finer points of epidemiology during my Masters course in public health and was delighted by the treasures waiting to be discovered. Not being someone who enjoys reinventing the wheel, I find the concept of the Supercourse very appealing and oh so sensible.

So what awaits the visitor to the Supercourse Website or on loading a copy of the free CD-ROM?

The front page is clear and uncluttered. It offers an introduction to the principles behind the Supercourse and presents hyperlinks under the headings: 1. What is the Supercourse; 2. Supercourse lectures; 3. Other Supercourse lectures; and 4. Want to join us? My advice is to jump straight to the "Lecture by Topic" or "Lecture by Alphabetic Order" hyperlinks. These take you into the heart of a Pandora's box, currently consisting of 623 lectures on the Web. The topic portal leads you to around 20 subject headings arranged under the labels "Epidemiology", "Special Diseases", "Public Health", "Telecommunications", and "Biostatistics". You then choose your subject area, such as "Cancer", and are led to a hyperlinked list of around 25 separate cancer-related lectures. The other method of quickly searching is to use the alphabetic listing. Thus you could hunt for "screening" under "s" in the alphabetic portal or in "Epidemiology--Basic Methods" using the topic portal.

Supercourse is not a comprehensive source of lectures on all aspects of each subject heading. Rather it is an organized collection of personal best lectures on important or pet subjects. So go hunting and if what you want is there-great--but if not, don't be surprised!

Once you find the lecture that you want, you are presented with a standard format in terms of front page, navigation buttons, general layout, and closing summary and review slides. …