In Beta: Thoughts on the first session

Yesterday Ben Ellis (@bendotellis) and I hosted the first In Beta session live on Hangouts. In Beta is a project that Ben and I started talking about when we met at ER-WCPT last year and the idea is that we have a semi-regular online group chat about any topic related to physiotherapy education (see this post for more information). Our intention is that the conversations focus on the practical problems that educators may come into contact with when trying out new ideas in the classroom.

The conversation yesterday focused on Ben’s idea for incorporating an inquiry-based approach into a new module with a focus on the management of patients with long-term conditions. Yesterday we were joined by 6 colleagues – mostly from the UK – who were able to share reflections on their experiences when trying similar approaches in their own departments (see bottom of the post). Ben suggested that the new approach would be aimed at shifting students’ thinking away from the details of the conditions that patients have and to focus instead on the people who have them. As Ben said:

I am keen where possible for the structure of the module to not be built around specific conditions, but instead to focus on how approaches which empower people to self-manage long term conditions can be applied across a range of clinical situations.

If you’re interested in inquiry-based learning but haven’t yet had a chance to try it in your own classroom, the Google Doc has some useful ideas and resources. The document will remain available for the foreseeable future and includes more detail regarding Ben’s plans for the module. In addition the recorded audio from our conversation will form part of the collection of resources we want to gather on this topic and will be shared into the In Beta G+ community, which is free for anyone to join.

From my point of view, the conversation was great, especially hearing about the challenges experienced by colleagues at other institutions. It’s always valuable to be reminded that the problems in your own department are almost always not unique. The reflections and insights generated were really helpful for me, at least. It was also wonderful to hear from people who I only know on Twitter 🙂

A huge thank you to Fiona Moffat, Roger Kerry, Amanda Deaves, Jo Pierce, Mark Williams, and Anestis Divanoglou for taking part and making it such an interesting conversation.

By Michael Rowe

I'm a lecturer in the Department of Physiotherapy at the University of the Western Cape in Cape Town, South Africa. I'm interested in technology, education and healthcare and look for places where these things meet.