Medical schools put little emphasis upon education on public health, even though public health has played an important role in this century. One way to harness its benefit in order to improve global health in the 21st century is to globally share lectures on public health through the Internet. We have developed the Supercourse comprising of web-based learning modules on epidemiology in a standardized format with the size of each web page less than 10 kilobytes. A cross-sectional observational study was conducted to investigate the association of the perception of the access speed to Web-based lectures by teachers with their perception of lecture quality. There were 223 teachers who rated the lectures: 72% were from North America or Western Europe, 40% had taught epidemiology, and 14% reported that the speed of access was slow. Odds ratio of above-average rating among those who reported that the speed of access was fast relative to those who reported that the speed of access was slow was 4.25 (2.03-8.91; P=0.001). The odds ratios were similar and significant after taking into account several other factors, including the variation of rating across lectures, region, and experiences in teaching epidemiology. The results indicate that the perception of the quality of Web-based lectures is related to the speed of access to a web page. The speed of access may be as important, if not more important, as the content itself. This suggests that, to share educational materials on the Web globally for teachers, one must consider not only the content, but also how people at local sites gain access to the Internet.
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