Sunday, August 15, 2010

Hello from the UK!

Thank you for letting me make a contribution here. I would love to see a multi-author blog like this become a hub for the global community of medical educators.
Here is a short introduction to why I decided to start using social media:

A few months ago I gave a presentation in my university about how I was trying to use new media with Blackboard to help the students that I teach.

Integrating Web 2.0 with Blackboard from Anne Marie Cunningham on Vimeo.

Some of slightly contentious issues that might get a debate going:

1. What safeguards should we take when blogging about our experiences of teaching? Here is a post that I have written about teaching communication skills, and another about where first year medical students told me they looked for resources. I hope you will agree that there is a lot to be learned from these stories, and that I have not identified any individual students. But what should be our boundaries?

2. Should we expect students to engage in public discourse? Would it be fair to require students to write or reflect in public (assuming that there was no risk to patient confidentiality)? Here is my blog post: "In praise of the walled garden (VLE)". That doesn't mean that I am not happy to try and make it as easy as possible for students to access any content I generate through the use of tools such as Facebook. This is a Facebook  page that I set up to support my teaching. I tried to make sure that students knew that this was not a space that was appropriate for interaction. I did this to minimise any risk to patient confidentiality, but also because I wasn't sure that I wanted another place to check (beyond Blackbood forums and email) for student queries. I did get one or two queries to my personal account on twitter but that was OK!

I hope that will get things started!


  1. What is inspiring about this blog is that you have come back from the medical education conferences motivated to do something and just gone out there and done it...You saw value in it and then had a go which is precisely what we should be encouraging in our learners. What makes it particularly good is that you have also asked for feedback and from your peers with the hope of inviting comment to make what you are doing better...priceless ;) @rakeshspatel

  2. I don't have direct teaching experience with medical students, but I can say, from past experience, that students in general don't tend to get involved in public discourse unless we "push" them a bit. This could be done by using a "marking threat", which I personally don't find very effective, because they would feel forced to post and this would probably affect the genuineness of their reflection as well as make the experience less enjoyable.
    I think it is fair to expect them to write or reflect in public, they are just practising their democratic skills and learning how to work within a community of practice. Maybe students need to be encouraged to engage in online discussions by organising specific activities, “social sessions” to get them used to interact through social media for learning… then invite them to reflect on this experience and the group dynamics…

  3. I am excited about the potential to start a SMIME tweetchat which may possibly lead to a SMIME tweet-up.

    #smime (social media in medical education)

    How do we get started?

  4. Hello Ananalisa,
    I think that we are not really going to convince students that public discourse is important- if it is... and I'm not convinced yet for medicine- without doing so ourselves.
    Participating in private communities is a separate issue.. but still important.

    And hello Carrie!
    I'm sorry I missed this comment for so long. What do you think the advantage of a tweetchat is over a blog? Tweetchats by their nature synchronous are more difficult to time... and to get ideas over in. I'm not completely opposed but I think it would be good to get more people writing and sharing first of all.
    Perhaps you should write a post here about what you think the issues are for you. This can then start to be a hub behind the tweetchat.
    What do you think?