6247 Harvesting, Indexing, Curation, and Dissemination of University Curricula

Sunday, February 19, 2012: 1:30 PM
Room 214 (VCC West Building)
Gilbert S. Omenn , University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
With the introduction of mobile communication devices, information exchange today can occur faster than ever, flattening the world. Disappointingly, the power of mobile technology has not been used effectively, especially in various fields of public health across geographical boundaries. The Supercourse of Epidemiology and now of Global Health is an open source library of approximately 5000 PowerPoint lectures on disease prevention, created and shared by 48,000 scientists from 174 countries. It was developed and expanded by Ronald LaPorte and Faina Linkov of the University of Pittsburgh. Large sets of lectures have been translated locally into Chinese, Russian, Arabic, and Spanish. The Supercourse has 50 mirror servers around the world. The main target of the Supercourse is the world’s teachers with the goal to use science education to bridge the developing and developed world. The network uses multiple novel recruitment strategies, such as viral marketing and “fishing” for scientific leaders and deans. These lectures are widely used.  For example, a lecture on H1N1 was accessed by 8847 people per day at the height of the epidemic. The Supercourse front page received 42,000 unique visits in the year 2010 without including visits to individual lectures directly through Google or other search engines. We estimate the aggregate number of hits to the Supercourse pages to be 75 million. The lectures on disaster mitigation have been particularly important, with real-time internet communication to international experts, for the recent run of hurricanes and earthquakes and tsunami. Meanwhile, the Supercourse of Science is a sister project based at the Biblioitheca Alexandrina under the direction of Ismail Serageldin, BA President; it is designed to speed the world’s science into the global classrooms, through an interdisciplinary matrix of science. The BA Supercourse site received over 4 million hits since January 2011. Science Supercourse can serve as a model for the scientific information sharing around the globe, specifically focusing so far on agriculture, health, environmental science, and engineering.  These resources and networks are highly complementary to the CRDF Virtual Digital Libraries program.

Laporte RE, Omenn GS, Serageldin I, Cerf VG, Linkov F.  A Scientific Supercourse.  Science  2006;312:526.