Are MOOCs the new evening class?

I see that FutureLearn have published some preliminary data on participation on the first eight of their MOOCs.  They’ve attracted a fair bit of interest with high enrollment rates. I was struck by some of the demographic data they’ve published, which I’ve embedded below.  80% of participants hold a degree or Masters and 70% are over 35 years old.

Are MOOCs really just like the traditional evening classes or adult courses that Universities have been offering their local communities for decades but now thanks to technology accessible to a global community?  Is this the disruption – delivering evening classes online to a global audience rather than an end to higher education as we know it?  I’ve not researched extensively but this preliminary data from FutureLearn seems to be similar to the demographic data emerging from Coursera MOOCs but happy to be be corrected if I’m wrong.

Damian Roland on #NHSChangeDay

bannerEarlier today I had the privilege of chatting to Damian Roland, NIHR Doctoral Research Fellow in Paediatric Emergency Medicine at Leicester University, about NHS Change Day.  Damian is one of the key individuals who has driven forward the NHS Change Day initiative and he kindly agreed to share how the idea emerged and give some examples of pledges and tips on running events to help us at the University of Dundee as we get going with our plans to get involved in this year’s Change Day on 3 March.

We recorded our conversation in a Google Hangout but my video stream was completely out of sync and Damian’s was a bit out in places too resulting in a video that’s a bit strange so I’m posting the audio track of our conversation.

We chatted for about 12 minutes so it’s not too long to listen to.  Damian is really inspiring and I hope some of that inspiration rubs off as you hear him and we can get the word about Change Day locally in Tayside but also across the rest of Scotland.

To keep up with NHS Change Day in Scotland join our Google+ Community and follow @NHSCDScotland on Twitter.

Exploring rhizomatic learning on #rhizo14

A new year, a new MOOC!  Over the next few weeks Dave Cormier is running a cMOOC on rhizomatic learning over on the Peer2Peer University platform.  I’m  hoping to dip in and out of this MOOC as I’m interested in exploring the concept of rhizomatic learning a bit further and particularly in the context of of #FOAMed (Free Open Access Meducation).

I’ve chipped in on conversations on Twitter about FOAMed and the learning theories that might be relevant to this growing movement in medical education. FOAMed is frequently described as a community of practice and it can also be seen as an example of connectivisim. Social networking and media tools like Twitter, blogs, YouTube etc have played a key role in the growth of FOAMed providing open publishing platforms and facilitating connections shaping a new online learning landscape.

In ‘Communities of Practice: Critical perspectives‘, Yrjö Engeström has contributed a chapter ‘From communities of practice to Mycorrhizae‘ in which he considers the social production of learning as a new landscape of learning. Engeström presents a framework for conceptualising this landscape where runaway objects are created, which have the potential to gain a global scale of influence. These are then exchanged, negotiated and peer reviewed in a learning  environment that is highly expansive, multidirectional and has a swarming type of engagement, which he describes as being like ‘mycorrhizae’.  I think his framework does describe how I see FOAMed.  Engeström had considered rhizomatic learning as a framework but felt the horizontal and vertical rhizomatic connections too limiting.

I’ve been mulling over this off and on for a few months and so hoping that whilst the rhizomatic learning MOOC is running I’ll be able to give a bit more time to exploring these ways of viewing learning further. Against the backdrop of this MOOC I’m also continuing to think about our students’ learning literacies including their digital literacy skills. Reading Ronan Kavanagh’s blog post last week ‘How Twitter cured my mid-life crisis‘ highlighted yet again how differently our students view Twitter.  We’ve used Twitter to support our teaching in public health but the majority of students don’t seem to really like using it or see the point of using it to support their learning.  Those that do get it put it to good use and seem to reap the benefits.  We’re looking at other ways to try and engage students with all of this and make them aware of the potential but maybe we’re flogging a dead horse … or maybe they won’t get it till they’re middle aged!

Further reading

Rhizomatic learning – Why we teach? by Dave Cormier

Mycorrhizal networks and learning by David WIley

What did I learn from #FOAMed yesterday

I loved this series of tweets that appeared in my Twitter timeline this morning from Nick Smith.  Great to see #FOAMed in action and a super example to refer to and quote in workshops on #FOAMed and the role of social media in supporting and enhancing medical education.

Many thanks to Nick for sharing his #FOAMed learning points.  Vive la FOAM!!

AMEE 2013 #FOAMed Workshop

Today I’m running a workshop on #FOAMed with at AMEE 2013, along with my colleagues Annalisa Manca and Ellie Hothersall from Dundee and Laura-Jane Smith from UCL.  We’ll be giving a brief introduction to the growing movement of Free Open Access Medical Education #FOAMed.  We’ll be asking our participants to identify if if they are already using elements of FOAMed and how.  Annalisa is going to go over some of the educational theories that are at play in FOAMed and then Ellie and LJ will be demonstrating how they’ve adopted elements of FOAMed to support undergraduate teaching and in particular how they’ve used to Twitter to support teaching in public health and case-based discussions. We’ll also highlight some of the other FOAMed activities that are going a cross the continuum of education before we get our groups to look at how they might design a #FOAMed approach to some learning scenarios that we’ve come up with.

The slides from our session are here and there’s also a handout that I’ve put together with a brief intro to FOAMed, some examples, information on tools that can form part of a FOAMed toolkit and some tips taken from comments left by some of the FOAMed community on my last post.

What are your top tips on #FOAMed?

FOAMed-Origin-work2-signed-small-280x200Tomorrow I’m co-running a workshop on using free open access meducation – #FOAMed with my colleagues Annalisa Manca from Dundee and Rakesh Patel and Terese Bird from Leicester at the ASME Annual Scientific Meeting being held in Edinburgh.

Encouragingly the workshop is fully booked.  Our plan is to give an overview of open medical education and networked open learning, some examples of #FOAMed, address issues such as digital professionalism in developing #FOAMed resources, highlight how the use of a #FOAMed approach can support the development of communities of practice/learning collectives in medical education. We’re also going to ask the participants to design a #FOAMed resource/approach around some scenarios we’ve put together.

I’m just getting myself organised for an early start tomorrow and thought it might be good to touch base with the #FOAMed community and see if anyone might want to give some advice to our workshop participants on getting the best out of #FOAMed that I could share in the workshop.  For example

  • why do you use #FOAMed?
  • what do you think is the biggest benefit of #FOAMed?
  • what’s your favourite #FOAMed resource/site?
  • what tip would you give to someone who’s new to the #FOAMed approach?
  • what do you like most about #FOAMed?

I’d welcome comments on the blog or you can tweet me at @nlafferty.  If tweeting you might want to say where you’re from and what you’re specialty is or whether you’re a students and perhaps use the hashtag #FOAMedtips and then I can curate the tweets in Storify and publish these later and share with everyone.

If you have spare couple of minutes and can pass on a few tips or thoughts on #FOAMed that would be great 🙂

P.S. – Some updatesfor recommended viewing & reading

Simon Carley has suggested this video by the Mike Cadogan who’s been a key inspiration to many who’ve engaged with #FOAMed including me!

Various blog posts are linked here too which are recommneded reading

Doctors role modelling professionalism

Research on lapses in professionalism by senior healthcare professionals led by one of my Dundee colleagues Professor Charlotte Rees and Dr Lynne Monrouxe from Cardiff Medical School has made the news headlines today including on the BBC.

The research explored the professionalism dilemmas experienced by healthcare students from across five countries – England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Australia – and collected over 2,000 anonymous stories of professionalism lapses from more than 4,000 student participants.

There were a number of tweets highlighting that the piece on the BBC website didn’t link to the publications from this research, so for those interested in reading more about this work here are links to the publications to date.

Narrative, emotion and action: analysing ‘most memorable’ professionalism dilemmas

‘‘It’s just a clash of cultures’’: emotional talk within medical students’ narratives of professionalism dilemmas.

Medical students learning intimate examinations without valid consent: a multicentre study

“A Morning Since Eight of Just Pure Grill”: A Multischool Qualitative Study of Student Abuse

Further publications from Charlotte and Lynn’s research are in press and under review.