Faculty writing workshop

I just got back from an academic writing workshop at the Houwhoek Inn (their site needs some serious work). The point was to go there with an idea of an article you were going to write, spend 3 days writing it and getting feedback from the other participants and to end up with a draft that would be suitable for submission to a journal with minimal revision.

My article is based on a survey I did among the physiotherapy students in our department last year that looked at the knowledge and use of some of the most popular social software, including Flickr, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, Digg, Delicious and Wikipedia. The idea was that if we’re going to use some of these services (like social bookmarking by subject, module, class, etc.) then it’d be useful to have an understanding of what the students already know and use. It would give us an idea of what kind of preparation we’d have to do before starting, as well as what level of use we could initially expect from the students.

It’s going to take me a little while to get feedback from the journal editor and reviewers, so it won’t be out anytime soon. I’m hoping that it’ll be published in the next few months though.

Here’s the abstract:

Institutions of higher learning are under pressure to respond to the changing needs of today’s learners and the use of information and communication technology has been at the forefront of that change. The use of social software that enables people to interact with each other in a dynamic way, has been identified as one possible approach. This survey sought to identify the knowledge and attitudes of South African physiotherapy students towards the use of social software in a physiotherapy department. The design was a cross-sectional, descriptive survey that took place in a university physiotherapy department in the Western Cape, South Africa. It included 135 students and used a self-developed questionnaire. Results showed that these students had a superficial understanding of social software. They did however, show an openness to new approaches and a willingness to interact with lecturers outside the traditional classroom setting. A lack of access to appropriate technology was identified as one possible factor for their lack of understanding. Any attempt to incorporate social software tools into this department would have to include significant training and support.

First article published

I just had my first research article published. It’s based mainly on the literature review I did for my Masters degree last year, with a few updates. It’s strange, but when I submitted it about 6 months ago, I thought it was a reasonable piece of work. Reading it now, I feel like taking it back and editing the hell out of it. Does anyone else look back at their earliest work and feel like hiding under a table?

I’m putting the abstract up here in case anyone is interested. The title of the article is “Information and communication technology in health: a review of the literature”.

Abstract

Information and communication technology has been shown to be increasingly important in the education andprofessional practice of healthcare workers. The World Health Organisation (WHO) discusses the benefits of using ICT in the Primary Healthcare setting in terms of better access to information, improved communication between colleagues, facilitating continuing professional development and providing learning tools for healthcareprofessionals, patients and the community as a whole. This review of the literature describes the role of information and communication technology (ICT) in the education and professional practice of healthcare workers and goes on to outline the challenges facing the widespread adoption of ICT. The conclusion is that ICT does indeed have a positive role to play in both the education and professional practice of healthcare workers, including physiotherapists, as long as it is implemented as an adjunct to established and proven practice, and not a replacement.

ICT to support physio students: my presentation at SAAHE

Here is the full content of the presentation I gave at the SAAHE conference on 20 June, 2008. In it I discuss some of the key findings of my Masters thesis, “The use of information and communication technology as a means of providing support to physiotherapy students“. They include:

  • Students view ICT as a means of accessing information, rather than obtaining support.
  • Students fail to use ICT to enhance communication, even though they have the skills to do so.
  • Research was highlighted as the area in which more than a third of students were least confident.
  • Students are unlikely to approach their peers for support.

These findings suggest that South African physiotherapy students do not make use of ICT in ways that would enhance their education, even though the literature showed how beneficial new technologies can be in this regard.

The presentation is available in the following formats:

OpenDocument (.odp)
PDF (.pdf)
Powerpoint (.ppt)

Note: I know that the OpenDocument and PDF formats include all the notes I made and contains most of what I actually spoke about. I’m not sure if the notes on the slides were included when I exported to the Powerpoint format. The reasons for this are varied and have nothing to do with me.