Supercourse Newsletter October 3, 2005
Real knowledge is to know the extent of one's ignorance.
The lecture heard around the world
Last week Eric Noji, M.D. gave the Cutler lecture here in our
Graduate School of Public Health. The lecture room was packed to
hear him speak about disasters.
It was a very exciting as we had taken his lecture and created 6
different channels of knowledge sharing, .ppt, Supercourse and
.pdf. These three were available for teachers to use the full
lecture or individual slides. In addition another information
channel was within the auditorium itself where over 270 people
heard him. We also used web casting and web archiving. In these
three modes Eric did the teaching.
The systems worked extremely well. The overall cost to reach all
over the world was less than $200. It was viewed in Tehran by
Ali Aldraden and his friends, in Egypt by Raina Aziz and China
to name a few places. We made a mistake in that we did not real-
ize there would be such a huge demand. We planned for 300 people
linking in, instead 2000 wanted to see his hour talk. This
crashed the server, and many of you got a message saying you
could not get on. We thus were too successful?Now, however, if
you want to look at the web archive of Eric?s lecture, there is
no problem, and you can reach it through the front page of the
Supercourse (http://www.pitt.edu/~super1/). What was interesting
is that the web cast drove the down loading of the PowerPoint
lectures with almost a 10 fold increase in usage. For those of
you who could not access the lecture, we apologize, and we offer
to buy you some iced tea, or a brewski should you visit Pitts-
We would very much like your comments as to what could be im-
proved. Please write to us at mailto:email@example.com. We have
received several comments such as from Guam:
My husband and I saw Eric's lecture on our computer at home last
night and were spellbound! There were a few technical problems
and when you come off your cloud, I'll write!
You done good!
This was the first time that something like this was tried in
Global Health and Disasters. We are now convinced more than ever
that we will be able to develop a system where the best scien-
tists create the best lectures, and 1,000s if not millions of
people can learn from them.
It was a great feeling being able to distribute a lecture to all
the epidemiologists and schools in Texas, and most of the states
in the US immediately before the Hurricane struck land. We need
to see if we can establish a global network for sharing our re-
sults with schools.
As part of our meetings Elina Palm and Salvano Briceno from the
UN suggested that we build a UN disaster Supercourse and global
network. If you are interested in joining, please send me a note
to mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org. Salvano termed the work we are do-
ing as ?raising awareness?, which is a wonderful way to frame
It was a most exciting week. We look forward to hearing your
comments on how we can improve the lecture distribution system.
?In the present circumstances, no one can afford to assume that
someone else will solve their problems. Every individual has a
responsibility to help guide our global family in the right di-
rection. Good wishes are not sufficient, we must become actively
Supercourse with you... are actively engaged
Best Regards from Global Pittsburgh
Ron, Eric, Faina, Mita, Soni, Eugene, Rania, Ali, Ian, Sunil,
Mike, Francois, Lucy, Saida, Anna, Steve plus the 100s of others
who made the global lecture possible.