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D Kleinbaum. Springer, 2002. ISBN 0-387-14257-6
ActivEpi is a multimedia presentation of the material commonly found in an introductory epidemiology course on CD ROM. In 15 lessons, basic concepts and measures of epidemiology are presented. ActivEpi is intended to be used in a variety of teaching formats, including distance learning, self paced learning on-campus courses, and short courses. The course uses a variety of tools including, among others, videos, narrated expositions, exercises, and datasets and quizzes for self evaluations.
With respect to the logical structure of the contents, this introduction is as stringent and clear as previous, more traditional teaching material by David Kleinbaum, including the classic 1982 textbook,1 which has, certainly, helped numerous epidemiologists and epi students around the world, including myself (who had the additional true privilege to experience David Kleinbaum as an outstanding “physical teacher”), to structure epidemiological reasoning. Whether or not the multimedia approach now offered by David Kleinbaum makes learning more attractive, easy, or effective than more traditional forms of learning in a classroom context or from an introductory textbook may to some degree be a matter of taste, generation, and personal preferences. Being aware that this carries the danger of being blamed old fashioned, I have to admit that I felt the multimedia features to be a little bit too abundant in this course, and sometimes even to be a source of distraction actually hindering concentrated learning rather than a real advantage. Perhaps younger generations of epidemiologists who have grown up with multimedia features from their cradle may appreciate this type of learning much more—I am afraid that I will continue to recommend my students a good personal teacher along with a good introductory textbook and/or course script. However, these resources may not be universally available. In such circumstances, this course may fill a real gap.
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