peter Murray-rust (
Mon, 8 Jan 1996 14:26:10 +0000 (GMT)

I'm very pleased to be involved in the PPS96 course and think that this
will be a most important event. It's ambitious, but we have lots of
evidence that it will succeed. Here are some points in no particular

Most important is that the course depends in the PEOPLE involved.
Besides the scientific and educational content of the course , the
virtaul contact with other people in the same situation can be
extraordinarily rewarding. At times it is hard work, but it's usually
great fun and you will always find someone to help you.

Some of you may be unfamiliar with the 'virtual' medium and it takes some
getting used to. So if it feels strange take a little time - this is
particularly true of the MOO which is strange at first. Make sure that
you don't upset other people - it's sometimes easy to misunderstand
someone (especially if they aren't fluent in the language). In PPS we
had thousands of e-mail contributions and there were no conflicts.

I'm delighted with the current registratiuon and I'm sure this will
continue to grow. The students are one of the greatest assets - everyone
has something to bring to the course whether it be specialist knowledge
in part of the material, experienec of related disciplines, compter
technology, time to spend helping to create resources, etc.

My own activity at present is using the experience of PPS1 to develop a
similar course in 'Structure-based Drug Design'. This is funded by
GlaxoWellcome and Pfizer and we shall be starting to create material this
year. So I'll try to 'drop in' frequently and I'll probably make
suggestions on e-mail and attend some of the MOO sessions.

It's important to explore new ways of doing things and neither PPS1 or
traditional courses are the only routes to follow. If you think there is
a useful thing to do, don't be afraid of suggesting it - but realise that
normally those who make the suggestion end up being expected to do it!
My own feeling is that it's very important to stimulate widespread
discussion of the material and not just to assume that people will work
serially through it. It's not easy to get electronic feedback and so
this is an area which should be carefully attended to. For many
questions there won't yet *be* an answer - a lot of the ocurse will be
into the unknown (as was PPS1).

Best wishes


Peter Murray-Rust, Glaxo Research & Dev. (; (BioMOO: PeterMR)
Birkbeck College,, CBMT/Daresbury,