Link: How AI Will Rewire Us

Radical innovations have previously transformed the way humans live together. The advent of cities…meant a less nomadic existence and a higher population density. More recently, the invention of technologies including the printing press, the telephone, and the internet revolutionized how we store and communicate information.

As consequential as these innovations were, however, they did not change the fundamental aspects of human behaviour: a crucial set of capacities we have evolved over hundreds of thousands of years, including love, friendship, cooperation, and teaching.

But adding artificial intelligence to our midst could be much more disruptive. Especially as machines are made to look and act like us and to insinuate themselves deeply into our lives, they may change how loving or friendly or kind we are—not just in our direct interactions with the machines in question, but in our interactions with one another.

Christakis, N. (2019). How AI Will Rewire Us. The Atlantic.

The author provides a series of experimental outcomes showing how, depending on the nature of the interacting AI, human beings can be made to respond differently to teammates and collaborators. For example, having a bot make minor errors and then apologise can nudge people towards being more compassionate with each other. This should give us pause as we consider how we want to design the systems that we’ll soon be working with.

For better and for worse, robots will alter humans’ capacity for altruism, love, and friendship.


See also: Comment: In competition, people get discouraged by competent robots.

I enjoyed reading (February)

Disrupting the diploma (Reid Hoffman): I love the idea of a certification as a “communication device”.

…we need to apply new technologies to the primary tool of traditional certification, the diploma. We need to take what now exists as a dumb, static document and turn it into a richer, updateable, more connected record of a person’s skills, expertise, and experience. And then we need to take that record and make it part of a fully networked certification platform.

a different approach to research questions: a useful holiday read (Pat Thomson): This made me think about the kind of research that I want to end up doing. Yes, there’s always a space to “fill in the gaps”, but will I really be able to innovate if I simply fill in what’s missing?

Alvesson and Sandberg take issue with the dominant mode of generating research questions – they call this gap spotting. They argue that the usual process consists of reading literatures, finding what’s been said about a particular topic and locating something that isn’t done – the gap. This gap spotting leads to an incremental approach to research, they say. While gap spotting is perfectly defensible, and will certainly garner the do-ers of gap-spotting research PhDs and even research grants, it won’t, they suggest, produce game-changing research, particularly in the arts, humanities and social sciences. Instead, gap-spotting produces work which is predictable. Gap filling adds to what is known, but doesn’t change the field.

Is It Plagiarism or Collaboration? (Jennifer Carey): If we’re trying to create learning spaces that prepare students for the “real world”, and we acknowledge that working in the real world requires collaboration with others, why don’t we develop more assessments that require students to work together?

We want students to do “group work,” to collaborate, and to discuss. However, we have very specific realms in which we want this to happen: the group assignment, the in-class discussion, studying for exams, etc. At the same time, many of us want to put up barriers and halt any collaboration at other times (during assessments, for example). When collaboration takes place during assessment, we deem it plagiarism or cheating, and technology is often identified as the instrument that tempts students into such behavior.

The attack on our higher education system — and why we should welcome it

For one thing, the MOOC hypesters were wrong. They discovered, on the backs, or within the wallets, of their VC partners, that knowledge building is a complex integrated system with multiple facets. The linear nature of MOOC solutions to the perceived problems of higher education (better instructional software and greater numbers of learners) failed to account for knowledge building as an integrated social, economic and cultural activity of society. Suggestions of MOOCs replacing universities began to seem quaint and childlike.

Posted to Diigo 05/22/2012

    • Mark Elliott writes about stigmergic collaboration and the evolution of group work
    • Pierre-Paul Grasse first coined the term stigmergy in the 1950s in conjunction with his research on termites. Grasse showed that a particular configuration of a termite’s environment (as in the case of building and maintaining a nest) triggered a response in a termite to modify its environment, with the resulting modification in turn stimulating the response of the original or a second worker to further transform its environment. Thus the regulation and coordination of the building and maintaining of a nest was dependent upon stimulation provided by the nest, as opposed to an inherent knowledge of nest building on the individual termite’s part. A highly complex nest simply self-organises due to the collective input of large numbers of individual termites performing extraordinarily simple actions in response to their local environment.
    • So, we are talking about actors in a social environment (termites, in this case) configuring their environment in response to their environment, collectively building a nest not due to any inherent knowledge of how to build the thing, but rather from a modification to their environment at a granular, personalized level
      • Collaboration is dependent upon communication, and communication is a network phenomenon.
      • Collaboration is inherently composed of two primary components, without either of which collaboration cannot take place: social negotiation and creative output.
      • Collaboration in small groups (roughly 2-25) relies upon social negotiation to evolve and guide its process and creative output.
      • Collaboration in large groups (roughly 25-n) is enabled by stigmergy.
    • As stigmergy is a method of communication in which individuals communicate with one another by modifying their local environment, it is a logical extension to apply the term to many types (if not all) of Web-based communication, especially media such as the wiki.
    • The concept of stigmergy therefore provides an intuitive and easy-to-grasp theory for helping understand how disparate, distributed, ad hoc contributions could lead to the emergence of the largest collaborative enterprises the world has seen.

Jan Herrington’s model of Authentic learning

A few days ago I met with my supervisor  to discuss my research plan for the year. She suggested I look into Jan Herrington’s work on authentic learning so I thought I’d make some notes here as I familiarize myself with it.

To begin with, there are 9 elements of authentic learning (I believe that in designing our blended module we’ve managed to cover most of these elements. I’ll write that process up another time):

  1. Provide authentic contexts that reflect the way the knowledge will be used in real life
  2. Provide authentic tasks and activities
  3. Provide access to expert performances and the modelling of processes
  4. Provide multiple roles and perspectives
  5. Support collaborative construction of knowledge
  6. Promote reflection to enable abstractions to be formed
  7. Promote articulation to enable tacit knowledge to be made explicit
  8. Provide coaching and scaffolding by the teacher at critical times
  9. Provide for authentic assessment of learning within the tasks

The above elements are non-sequential.

“Authentic activities” don’t necessarily mean “real”, as in constructed in the real-world (e.g. internship), only that they are realistic tasks that enable students to behave as they would in the real-world.

Here are 10 characteristics of authentic activities (Reeves, Herrington & Oliver, 2002). Again, I believe that we’ve designed learning activities and tasks that conform – in general – to these principles. It’s affirming to see that our design choices are being validated as we move forward. In short, authentic tasks:

  1. Have real-world relevance i.e. they match real-world tasks
  2. Are ill-defined (students must define tasks and sub-tasks in order to complete the activity) i.e. there are multiple interpretations of both the problem and the solution
  3. Are complex and must be explored over a sustained period of time i.e. days, weeks and months, rather than minutes or hours
  4. Provide opportunities to examine the task from different perspectives, using a variety of resources i.e. there isn’t a single answer that is the “best” one. Multiple resources requires that students differentiate between relevant / irrelevant information
  5. Provide opportunities to collaborate should be inherent i.e. are integral to the task
  6. Provide opportunities to reflect i.e. students must be able to make choices and reflect on those choices
  7. Must be integrated and applied across different subject areas and lead beyond domain-specific outcomes i.e. they encourage interdisciplinary perspectives and enable diverse roles and expertise
  8. Seamlessly integrated with assessment i.e. the assessment tasks reflect real-world assessment, rather than separate assessment removed from the task
  9. Result in a finished product, rather than as preparation for something else
  10. Allow for competing solutions and diversity of outcome i.e. the outcomes can have multiple solutions that are original, rather than a single “correct” response

Design principles for authentic e-learning (Herrington, 2006)

“Authentic learning” places the task as the central focus for authentic activity, and is grounded in part in the situated cognition model (Brown et al, 1989) i.e. meaningful learning will only occur when it happens in the social and physical context in which it is to be used.

“How can situated theories be operationalized?” (Brown & Duguid, 1993, 10). Herrington (2006) suggests that the “9 elements” framework can be used to design online, technology-based learning environments based on theories of situated learning.

The most successful online learning environments:

  • Emphasised education as a process, rather than a product
  • Did not seek to provide real experiences but to provide a “cognitive realism”
  • Accept the need to assist students to develop in a completely new way

There is a tendency when using online learning environments to focus on the information processing features of computers and the internet. There is rarely an understanding of the complex nature of learning in unfamiliar contexts in which tasks are “ill-defined”.

The “physical fidelity” (how real it is) of the material is less important than the extent to which the activity promotes “realistic problem-solving processes” i.e. it’s cognitive realism. “The physical reality of the learning situation is of less importance that the characteristics of the task design, and the engagement of students in the learning environment” (Herrington, Oliver, & Reeves, 2003a).

Learners may need to be assisted in coming to terms with the fact that the simulated reality of their task is in fact, an authentic learning environment. It may call for their “willing suspension of disbelief” (Herrington, 2006).

There is a need for design-based research into the efficacy of authentic learning to better understand the affordances and challenges of the approach.

An instructional design framework for authentic learning environments (Herrington & Oliver, 2000)
One of the difficulties with higher education is teaching concepts, etc. in a decontextualised situation, and then expecting the students / graduates to apply what they’ve learned in another situation. This is probably one of the biggest challenges in clinical education, with people being “unable to access relevant knowledge for solving problems”

“Information is stored as facts, rather than as tools (Bransford, Sherwood, Hasselbring, Kinzer & Williams, 1990). When knowledge and context are separated, knowledge is seen by learners as a product of education, rather than a tool to be used within dynamic, real-world situations. Situated learning is a model that encourages the learning of knowledge in contexts that reflect the way in which the knowledge is to be used (Collins, 1988).

Useful tables and checklists on pg. 4-6 and pg. 8-10 of Herrington & Oliver, 2000. An instructional design framework for authentic learning environments
An “ill-defined” problem isn’t prescriptive, lacks boundaries, doesn’t provide guiding questions and doesn’t break the global task into sub-tasks. Students are expected to figure out those components on their own. We’re beginning by providing boundaries and structure. As we move through subsequent cases, the facilitators will withdraw structure and guidance, until by the end of the module, students are setting their own, personal objectives. Students should define the pathway and the steps they need to take.

Situated learning seems to be an effective teaching model with trying to guide the learning of an appropriately complex task i.e. advanced knowledge acquisition

Students benefit from the opportunity to articulate, scaffold and reflect on activities with a partner. When these opportunities are not explicitly described, students may seek it covertly.

Students often perceive a void between theory and practice, viewing theory as relatively unimportant (jumping through hoops, in the case of our students…busy-work with no real benefit other than passing theory exams) and the practical component as all-important. They appreciate the blurring of boundaries between the two domains.

The authentic activity should present a new situation for which the students have no answer, nor for which they have a set of procedures for obtaining an answer i.e. it should be complex and the solution uncertain.

Herrington & Reeves (2003). Patterns of engagement in authentic online learning environments

There seems to be an initial reluctance to immerse oneself in the online learning environment, possibly owing to the lack of realism from contexts that are not perfect simulations of the real-world. Students may need to be encouraged to suspend their disbelief  (pg. 2). They must agree to go along with an interpretation of the world that has been created.
Once the student has accepted the presented interpretation of the world, it is only internal inconsistency that causes dissonance. Other challenges occur when students perceive the environment as being non-academic, non-rigorous, a waste of time, and unnecessary for effective learning (which may well be the case if they perceive “effective learning” as sitting passively in a classroom trying to memorise content)
Be aware that the designer of the online space may present an interpretation of the world that is not shared with everyone i.e. it is one person’s view of what the real world is like.
A willing suspension of disbelief can be likened to engagement: “…when we are able to give ourselves over to a representational action, comfortably and unambiguously. It involves a kind of complexity” (Laurel, 1993, 115). It isn’t necessary to try and perfectly simulate the real-world, only that the representation is close enough to get students engaged e.g. the quality / realism  of images doesn’t have to be perfect, as long as it enables students to get the idea.
Many students find the shift to a new learning paradigm uncomfortable. If students are not self-motivated, if they are accustomed to teacher-centred modes of instruction and if they dislike the lack of direct supervision, they may resist. They may also be uncomfortable with the increased freedom they have i.e. there is less teacher-specified content, fewer teacher-constructed objectives, and almost no teacher-led activities. On some occasions, students may feel that they are not being taught, and may express this with anger and frustration.
The facilitator is vital in terms of presenting the representation in a way that encourages engagement, much like an actor in a play must convince the audience that what is happening on the stage is “real”. Without that acceptance, you would not enjoy the play, just as the student won’t perceive the value of the learning experience.
Students need to be given the time and space to make mistakes. They will begin by working inefficiently, but the expectation is that efficiency increases over time.
We need to “humanise” the online learning experience with compassion, empathy and open-mindedness.

References

  • Bransford, J.D., Sherwood, R.D., Hasselbring, T.S., Kinzer, C.K., & Williams, S.M. (1990). Anchored instruction: Why we need it and how technology can help. In D. Nix & R. Spiro (Eds.), Cognition, education and multimedia: Exploring ideas in high technology (pp. 115-141). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum
  • Brown, J.S., & Duguid, P. (1993). Stolen knowledge. Educational Technology, 33(3), 10-15
  • Brown, J.S., Collins, A., & Duguid, P. (1989). Situated cognition and the culture of learning. Educational Researcher, 18(1), 32-42
  • Collins, A. (1988). Cognitive apprenticeship and instructional technology (Technical Report 6899): BBN Labs Inc., Cambridge, MA
  • Herrington, J. (2006). Authentic e-learning in higher education: Design principles for authentic learning environments and tasks, World Conference on E-Learning in Corporate, Government, Healthcare, and Higher Education, Chesapeake, Va
  • Herrington, J., & Oliver, R. (2000). An instructional design framework for authentic learning environments. Educational Technology Research and Development, 48(3), 23-48
  • Herrington, J., Oliver, R., & Reeves, T.C. (2003a). ‘Cognitive realism’ in online authentic learning environments. In D. Lassner & C. McNaught (Eds.), EdMedia World Conference on Educational
  • Herrington, J., & Reeves, T. C. (2003). Patterns of engagement in authentic online learning environments. Australian Journal of Educational Technology, 19(1), 59-71
  • Laurel, B. (1993). Computers as theatre. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley
  • Reeves, T. C., Herrington, J., & Oliver, R. (2002). Authentic activities and online learning. HERDSA (pp. 562-567)

Using the Community of Inquiry in online learning environments

I’m in the process of putting together a workshop for the  facilitators of one of our modules that we’re restructuring in order to use a blended learning approach. Here are the notes that I’ve been putting together on the Community of Inquiry (CoI) for the workshop. Bear in mind that these notes are my attempt to get a better understanding of the CoI, and so lack academic rigor (i.e. there are no references). Finally, I apologise in advance for any errors or misinterpretation of the model, especially where I’ve given my own examples for our participants. Feedback, as always, is welcome.

The Community of Inquiry is a framework developed by Garrison and Archer (2001) as a way of describing favourable conditions to stimulate learning in online environments. Since a lot of the Applied Physiotherapy module will be conducted online, the CoI is a useful framework to guide our understanding of interactions in the social network we’ll be using. The CoI suggests that in order for meaningful learning to take place in online spaces, there needs to be evidence of 3 types of “presence”:

  • Social presence
  • Cognitive presence
  • Teaching presence

Social presence is about encouraging purposeful communication in a trusted setting, and developing interpersonal relationships by projecting personality. There are 3 categories of social presence;

  • Affective response: humour, emotional expression (e.g. emoticons, “lol”)
  • Open communication: recognition, interaction, reflection
  • Group cohesion: use names, greet students, use inclusive pronouns (e.g. “Hi Sue. This is a good question that we can all learn from”)
Social presence is an essential component in online learning, in that students who perceive that it is lacking (i.e. they don’t feel welcome and safe) demonstrate low levels of cognitive presence. Some of the ways in which social presence can be enhanced is by communicating in ways that are perceived by students to be “warm” (think; a caring attitude). Participate regularly, respond quickly, use chat when possible. In other words, create a sense of “being there”.

Cognitive presence refers to an ability to construct meaning through sustained communication. There are 4 practical components to developing a sense of cognitive presence, which are similar to Kolb’s cycle of experiential learning:

  1. Provide a triggering event or problem that is indicated by a sense of puzzlement. The idea is to create a conflict between a students perceived understanding of reality (“This is how I believe the world to be”) and a realisation that the evidence doesn’t support their perception (“The world is not how I believed it to be”).
  2. Opportunities for exploration of the problem. This is achieved by creating an opportunity for students to understand the nature of the problem (“How or why isn’t the world the same as my mental construct of it?”), find relevant information (“What evidence can I find that will help me to understand this problem better?”), propose explanations (“If this is true, then it means that…”), and exchange information (“Hey guys, here’s some information that will help us understand this better”). You can see from these examples that this is similar to the process we want to stimulate in our cases.
  3. Students must try to integrate the new information through a focused construction of new meaning based on the new evidence. They do this by connecting new ideas and concepts to old knowledge that they already have. An understanding of the Zone of Proximal Development would be useful here.
  4. There must be a final resolution of the problem i.e. it must be solved.

There are 6 practical suggestions for how cognitive presence can be facilitated in online spaces. I’ve tried to explain each of these suggestions in terms of how we might implement them because it turns out the when facilitators model the behaviour we want to see in students e.g. critical discourse with each other and constructive critique, students tend to do similar things. The idea is that if we succeed in doing things like what is outlined below, we create the favourable conditions for cognitive presence in the online space:

  1. Discourse. We should aim to be active guides by posing questions that are relevant to emerging topics of discussion. Be aware of entering a discussion and “breaking it” by being an authority figure and / or using “academic” language that students may not be familiar with. There’s little point in students’ continuing a discussion when one of us comes in and provides a definitive resolution (i.e. an “answer”) to whatever problem they’re discussing, or when we say things that they don’t understand. Remember that we want to stimulate a conversation for them, not end one they’re already having.
  2. Collaboration. Groupwork should aim to involve generating, sharing, critiquing and prioritising solutions. There are 2 key elements; availability of the facilitator and the intellectual engagement of the student with the content.
  3. Management. Students begin to take increasing control of the learning activities e.g. suggesting and developing their own projects, with feedback from the larger group guiding their implementation.
  4. Reflection. Students tend to spend more time deliberating on their reflections when they know that what they write will be read and commented on by others. This is why we will use “public” reflections online and students will be expected to read and comment on each others’ reflections. Reflection, simply, is forming relationships between your abstract view of the world (i.e. how you believe the world to be) and how the world actually is (i.e. the congruence between your belief and what actually happens in the world). Try to use language to help students make connections between the cases and personal experiences.
  5. Monitoring (self-assessment). Rubrics can be used to help students grade their own progress and understanding. They take responsibility for making judgements about their work, which is what self-directed learning is. In the professional world, it is rare that we have someone else telling us what we don’t know. It’s up to us as professionals to evaluate our skillset and make decisions about where we’re lacking and what we need to do to fill gaps in our knowledge and skills. We need to enable students to make judgements about what they know and don’t know. Peer- and self-assessment is one way of doing this.
  6. Knowledge construction. Students must make personal meaning (i.e. “sense”) of the information they gather. They must identify the problem (“The patient can’t weightbear on the ankle”), collect data related to the problem (ROM, history of the incident, functional ability, etc.), create an hypothesis (“I believe that the lateral ankle ligament has a grade 2 sprain”), test the hypothesis (send patient for stress test under X-ray), confirm hypothesis or collect more data if necessary, make a conclusion. This process is more effective in terms of “deep learning” than memorising the signs and symptoms of a sprained ankle.

Teaching presence is about directing the social and cognitive processes (see above) to develop personally meaningful and worthwhile outcomes. There are 3 categories of teaching presence:

  • Design and organisation i.e. developing and structuring the learning experience and activities
  • Facilitating discourse by maintaining student and facilitator interest, motivation and engagement
  • Direct instruction through “injecting knowledge”, dealing with issues around content and summarising discussions
There is a significant relationship between teaching presence and perceived learning / satisfaction with online courses. In the absence of synchronous, moment by moment negotiation of meaning available in the classroom, high levels of teaching presence in the online space is even more important, as it has a greater relative impact on cognitive presence when compared to students in a physical interaction.

Socialcognitive and teaching presence all interact / are dependent on each other. Studies have found that “teaching and social presence play a major role in predicting online students’ ratings of cognitive presence, and that teaching presence is strongly correlated with students’ satisfaction with the online learning experience and their sense of community. Furthermore, comfort in online discussion was the most significant factor in students’ perceptions of cognitive presence i.e. in order to develop higher order critical thinking, students need to feel comfortable with online discussion. It may be useful to ask students to reflect on their levels of comfort with online discussion. If they report low levels of comfort, further reflection on their part might identify why they feel this way and what might be done to improve their comfort levels, allowing facilitators to modify their approaches and / or the environment.

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2011-09-12

  • @ryantracey they’re passages I highlight using diigo, they get pulled into the blog post so I can find them later #
  • @amcunningham Often use personal experience in class, never thought of them as stories. Maybe it’s the “telling” of the story that matters #
  • We learn from stories and experience http://t.co/zJP85x9. Been thinking how to integrate stories into my teaching but haven’t managed yet #
  • Study Highlights Superficiality of Digital Native Concept http://t.co/SqdCaLJ. Socio-economic background impacts digital sophistication #
  • Revisiting the Purpose of Higher Education http://t.co/N7Kx90G. There needs to be a shift away from knowledge and skills #
  • Are we missing reflection in learning? http://t.co/r42MuL5. We need to create formal space for reflection within the curriculum #
  • TED video: a next generation digital book http://t.co/fzHeqmw #
  • 5 Myths About Collaboration http://t.co/wviyQEU #
  • The Sad State of Educational Research http://t.co/MBazWuY. Educational researchers also responsible for spreading poorly developed ideas? #
  • @amcunningham nice…didn’t know about some of those tools. Been meaning to have a look at scoop.it but haven’t had the chance yet #
  • @amcunningham pretty cool…is it a list of all your tweets, or just those related to a specific theme? #
  • Video: Hands-on with Inkling 2.0, the iPad textbook — Tech News and Analysis http://t.co/ElaSztV #
  • The real cost of academic publishing http://t.co/P1S1HKo via @guardian #
  • So when does academic publishing get disrupted? http://t.co/lQD34Q9 #
  • Why the Impossible Happens More Often http://t.co/zn7cQMf #
  • Achieving substrate-independent minds: no, we cannot ‘copy’ brains http://t.co/TWKB6SE #

AMEE conference (day 2)

These are the notes I took on the second day of AMEE. One of the things I noticed is that in most of the presentations the speakers talk about “doctors”, and that little is said about “health professionals”. There seem to be few people here who understand that effective healthcare can only be delivered by teams. They may speak about multi-disciplinary teams but I doubt that they would accept that they are “on the same level” as others on the team. The traditional heirarchy is still very clear, even if it is only implicit. I’ve substituted “doctor” with “health professional” in my notes.

Supporting Scottish dental education through collaborative development and sharing of digital teaching and learning resources
D Dewhurst

Scottish dentail students had little engagement with mainstream e-learning

Low level of e-learning experience or readiness (among students or staff?)

3 year project to:

  • Provide support
  • Develop digital resources
  • Empower learners and teachers:
  • Effective engagement with academics / clinicians
  • Create resources
  • Maintain a community and encourage participation
  • Share resources in a wider community

People developing resources were not concerned with taking 3rd party content off the web, included personally identifiable information

An electronic lexicon in obstetrics
Athol Kent

For deep learning to occur, students must make meaning from the information we give them. But, we make assumptions about what students understand about our professional culture, which includes an entirely new language.

The project is to create an online electronic lexicon of common O&G common terms and phrases

When the student feels ready, they are assessed on their knowledge of 100 of the 800 words in the lexicon

Students enjoy being seen as “intelligent but uninformed”

Students are able to add their own content to the lexicon

Would you consider making this valuable resource available to the global community? Yes, the database can be made available to other institutions on request

The literature as a means of distance learning in a PG course of family health
A Dahmer

Why does Brazil need large-scale training? Enormous population spread out over an area more than half the size of South America

One of the biggest problems in DE is maintaining motivation among students

Created a fictional city that accurately reflects the kind of places that medical students are expected to work in, down to the political structure of the city, Neighbourhood descriptions

Used virtual teams with individual characteristics

Used comic books, newspapers, podcasts and blogs

Using Moodle to create the learning environment, fits into the university infrastructure

Mimic social problems as well, which the students have to deal with

Humanises the work for students, approximated reality using distance learning

Did you consider using something like Second Life for creating the city? Yes, decided against it because infrastructure is a problem, as well as internet access for students

Virtual clinical encounters for developing and assessing interpersonal and transcultural competence with traumatised patients
Solvig Ekblad

Medical competence:

  • Clinical
  • Interprofessional
  • Cultural

Cultural compentence is the ability of the clinician to overcome cultural difference to build effective relationships with patients, exploring the patient’s values and beliefs

Virtual clinical encounter = an interactive computer simulation of real-life scenarios for the purpose of healthcare and medical training, education or assessment (Ellaway et al, 2008)

Patient information in the VCE is very comprehensive

The intervention is scalable, generalisable, the assessment tool can be summative or formative, works as a controlled environment where medical students can work safely

Implementing the future of medical education in Canada
G Moineau

Recommendations:

  • Address individual and community needs (speaks to social accountability)
  • Enhance admissions processes (cognitive and non-cognitive considerations, interviews, autobiography)
  • Build on the scientific basis of medicine
  • Promote prevention and public health
  • Address the hidden curriculum (learning environment must explicitly promote appropriate professional attributes)
  • Diversity learning contexts (community based, preceptor programme, rural environments mandatory rotation)
  • Value generalism (value primary care specialities / family medicine)
  • Advance inter- and intra-professional practice (participate as part of a team)
  • Adopt a competency-based approach (used CANMeds framework)
  • The physician is a clinician, communicator, collaborator, professional, advocate, scholar, person, manager
  • Electornic portfolio on core competencies → reflective practive, longitudinal over duration of course, pass / fail assessment
  • Foster medical leadership (integrated into curriculum)

An anatomy course on “Human evolution: the fossil evidence”
Netta Notzer

About 130 students attend annually, a 3rd of them non-medical

Information for the course came from lecturers (e.g. their teaching philosophy), other faculty members’ opinions, observations in the class, the curriculum and syllabus, students’ web-sites

Scientific theory can be contradicted by new evidence and be argued. There is no superior authority in science, it is governed by factual evidence

Course is different from traditional anatomy courses, in that it is:

  • Conceptually complex
  • Intelllectually demanding
  • Scientifically dynamic

Course presented in lecture hall, but instructor uses analogy, open discussion and explanation rather than memorisation

Course demonstrates that students from different faculties can learn together

GIMMICS: an educational game for final year pharmacy students and GPs in family practice
Pascale Petit

GIMMICS = teaching game in a controlled academic setting, focus on communication skills

First introduced in 2001, operational in 2003

Teaching goals:

  • prepare for tasks as pharmacists
  • improve quality of care
  • address heterogeneity
  • help student reflect and error-correct

Game is web-based, consists of a virtual pharmacy, is open for others to follow, covers all aspects of the profession

University remodels actual rooms to mimic game interface

Also makes use of reflective journals

Activities within the game are scored

Also used for communication between students and pharmacists

Game is a structured mix of all kinds of activities e.g. consultations, interruptions, home visits, prescription

No evaluation, focus is on learning

Can take a long time to introduce minor concepts to students

See Bertram (Chip) Bruce – University of Illinois

The impact of PDAs on the millenial medical student
Monica Hoy

We need to move the conversation away from the idea that a certain generation of students is more “technologically savvy” by virtue of the fact that they were born during a certain period of time

To determine if the stage of training plays a role in attitudes towards the use of newer technologies for learning

Determine baseline prevalence of PDA use among medical studnets

To determine preference among students towards more traditional adjuncts to learning

Students feel that PDAs are more useful as they progress through the curriculum, and derive more value from them when they’re actually practicing, rather than when they’re in the pre-clinical stages

Students are NOT doing it for themselves: the use of m-learning in a minimally supported environment
K Masters

“Use of handheld devices is crucial for modern healthcare delivery” ← really?

Should be encouraging self-learning activities

Students purchase own hardware and software, no advice from staff, no encouragement, no expectation, etc. i.e. no support at all

Second presenter in this session giving information on what type of mobile device (e.g. iPhone, etc.) that students are using…is this important?

Uses deviced for taking notes, accessing medical websites, emails, reference tools, lecture notes, research, videos

Drop in use as sophistication of use increases

Many of the activities that are important for medical education are not accessed by students on mobile devices

Students talk about anywhere, anytime access, and ease of use. However, they also complain of small screen sizes, cost, technical difficulties and lack of support (14% saw this as a problem → but students only use devices for simple activities e.g. email, so high levels of support not necessary)

International medical education
Plenary (David Wilkinson, Madalena Patricio, Stefan Lindgren, Pablo Pulido, Emmanuel G Cassimatis)

Is the globalisation / internationalisation of medical education just another form of colonialism?

What are the:
Models
Opportunities
Challenges

Higher education is a global industry, a globally traded commodity as demand soars

“Constantly inspired by students”

What is the difference between globalisation and internationalisation?

Global medicine:

  • Medicine and disease are global e.g. HIV. Influeza, TB
  • Medical professionals are highly mobile
  • Medical tourism as an emerging industry
  • Medical migration (in some countries, more than half of professionals were trained in other countries)
  • Expansion of agencies and institutions

The international / visiting teacher is becoming less common, but the virtual teacher is increasing (is this happening fast enough?)

Models of international medical education:

  • Outbound / inbound student mobility e.g. electives
  • Staff mobility and sabbatical e.g. conferences, formal exchange
  • Academic partnering
  • Offshore campus
  • “Franchised” curriculum
  • International schools
  • Institutional partnerships

Shift from student numbers to a global strategy for recruiting, supporting students

International students are one of Australia’s biggest earners

Transnational medical education:

  • Global faculty and curriculum (recruit offshore whenever possible)
  • Global students → diversity
  • Global student exchange
  • Key partnerships
  • Global projects
  • Global presence

Huge opportunity for the virutal international teacher

In a global medical programme how would you manage:

  • Accreditation?
  • Registration?
  • Cost-effectiveness?

In 2001: will medicine and medical education escape the impact of globalisation…no

Medical students should be involved in global endeavours? Most salient reason in moral obligation, students want to “help others”

Students the skills to work in an international context, and an understanding of the values of the global citizen

“To grow is to understand that we are very small…”

Understanding difference is part of being a competent health professional

“Different…but not indifferent”

Quality standards:

  • Degrees
  • Licensure
  • Accreditation
  • …and others

Transition from process-based to outcomes-based education

Increasing emphasis on life-long education and regulation for health care professionals

Should look at harmonising quality of education, rather than standardisation

Accreditation must be local, but should be based on an awareness of a global context

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2011-08-08

  • Designing for Social Norms (or How Not to Create Angry Mobs) http://ow.ly/1vmJzH #
  • @alisa_williams Do u think it’s because no1 has shown them the value of collaboration? The system expects and rewards individual performance #
  • Anatomy of an incident: Helicopter crash at UCT http://ow.ly/1vmlK3. Interesting analysis of how the info spread #
  • Tell me again what you did? http://ow.ly/1viz3M. Useful framework for writing and brief insight into a no online learning community #
  • It’s easy criticise….and fun too (apparently) http://ow.ly/1viyT1. Writing papers is hard enough without nasty reviewer comments #
  • British man survives artificial heart transplant http://ow.ly/1viyNA #
  • elearnspace › 5 ways tech startups can disrupt education http://bit.ly/pxMWHf #
  • @RonaldArendse Been thinking about how much disruption can really happen in the institutional context. Can we disrupt at all? #
  • If you could throw everything out and start again, what would your classroom look like? Would you have a classroom? #
  • Visions of Students Today http://bit.ly/nIbERY. Another video by Michael Wesch #
  • Create a Research Space | Learning Journey http://bit.ly/nVyPhF. Great tips on using a framework for writing #

Sharing? Collaboration? No thanks

Last week I took our third year students to see a demonstration of the management of a patient with spinal cord injury as part of the Movement Science module that I teach. I noticed that during the demonstration many of them were taking pretty comprehensive notes, and thought that this would be a great opportunity to use a collaborative writing platform to create something useful for everyone in the class.

I proposed the following to them the next day:

  • I’d set up a shared online workspace, either using a wiki or Google Docs and create the document structure so that they’d just have to fill in the spaces from their notes
  • We’d use class time so that this wouldn’t be regarded as extra work
  • I highlighted the benefits i.e. additions to their individual notes from other students, adding multimedia e.g. video and images to enhance understanding, linking out to external sources to strengthen the evidence base, error correction by the group and myself, and creating a potentially useful resource for anyone else in the world

Their response…no thanks. It wasn’t even up for discussion. I found out that they didn’t even planning on typing up their notes, even after I’d pointed out the digital notes are searchable, expandable and shareable. They told me that if they wanted to share with their friends then they’d just photocopy the notes.

These aren’t selfish students, and they’re not limited by access to technology. They just don’t see that sharing in this context has any value for them as individuals, and that’s where I think the problem lies. They think that sharing doesn’t benefit them in the context of their learning (or studying as they call it, which I think is a fundamental problem in itself). They told me that they are connected but only in their social lives. They regarded studying as that thing they do in the classroom, and that learning comes from studying.

I also got the sense that they believe in some way that this is a zero sum game, in the sense that the notes they have will give them some kind of competitive advantage over other students in the class, thereby increasing the odds that they’ll get a higher mark. What it is they’re competing for is unclear. I wonder if grading is somehow related? Grading sets up a system of ranking and competition, not of sharing and collaboration. From that point of view, sharing knowledge is only good if it doesn’t impact on my own position in the ranking system. If you get a higher mark than me, it pushes me down the list. If sharing is seen as a zero-sum game in which your success impacts negatively on my success, then sharing isn’t a good strategy.

Anyway, I was pretty disappointed because I believe that sharing and collaboration has enormous potential for learning. What do I do…force them to share in the hope that they’ll see the light? Even if I design collaborative assignments that requires a sharing component, as long as they see it as work, I’m not sure that it’ll change their thinking.

Why open licensing benefits everyone

In 2009 I started an online physiotherapy encyclopaedia called OpenPhysio. It was a space for me to run a few assignments with my 4th year students at the time, as well as a bit of an experiment to see what would happen i.e. would physiotherapists and physiotherapy students automatically create and edit an online physiotherapy encyclopaedia. At the time I was unaware of the excellent Physiopedia that had been started a few months before by a physiotherapist in the UK (@rachaellowe).

Looking back, I think that the two projects had different goals (I stand under correction here. Rachael, feel free to set me straight in the comments). OpenPhysio was always meant to be a bit chaotic and informal, while Physiopedia was more structured and rigorous in who was allowed to edit the content. I was thinking “interesting playground”, while Rachael was probably thinking “evidence-based resource”. Here’s an excerpt from the OpenPhysio About page:

“OpenPhysio is an attempt to create a database of high-quality, physiotherapy specific content that is free for clinicians, students and educators to use, modify and improve……Hopefully, in time, OpenPhysio will become a useful resource, not only for accessing free, high quality content, but also as a teaching tool. For example, by giving students feedback on each contribution they make. The usual concerns about the quality of the content (issues around references and credibility) and plagiarism apply but these obstacles should not be prohibitive and in fact could also be seen as teaching opportunities to educate students with regards improving their academic writing skills.”

A few weeks ago Rachael contacted me to let me know that OpenPhysio was getting heavily spammed and it dawned on me that I haven’t really paid much attention to the wiki over the past few years, besides writing up the experience for publication and as a conference presentation. By coincidence, the domain name renewal came up a few days later and I decided to pull the plug on the project. We’re doing some things with social networks and clinical learning right now and I can always embed a wiki there if we need one. When I told Rachael that I was going to let the domain expire, she asked if she could port some of the content from OpenPhysio to Physiopedia, which I thought was a wonderful offer from her. And, because all content on OpenPhysio was licensed with a creative commons license, I didn’t have to get permission from contributors to “give away” their content.

OpenPhysio will go offline at the end of June, 2011 when the domain name expires but happily the content that has been contributed during the past few years has found a home at Physiopedia. Which is why I think that when we make use of IP licenses that allow and promote openness, we get to more easily share and build on what we know and understand about the world.