Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Karen Day and Stewart Wells - Adapting social media as a scaffolding tool for teaching health informatics (Ascilite 2009)

This presentation was given at the Ascilite conference 2009 hosted in Auckland, NZ. The full paper can be accessed by clicking HERE.

This presentation focussed on the principles of how information is managed in health care, and included a very brief overview of the necessity for scaffolded learning. The presenter discussed the ‘digitally minded’ nature of students entering the programme, but the difficulty of getting students to talk.

A survey indicated that 100% of students owned a mobile phone, 81% used all their fingers to type, and only 29% had done a basic course in computer science.

One of the strategies they used was discussion forums with very specific instructions, and expectations. A group activity involved selecting an article; one student had to summarise the article, another to review the article positively, the final negatively. The students had a marking rubric to access. They then had to comment on other postings. Average grade was between 3 and 5. The students fed back that “Discussion were really good prep 4 exams. 1) made sure that I started early, didn’t procrastinate, 2) helped to know that you were (or weren’t) on the right track. Tutors made ongoing formative feedback throughout the process. One risk was cheating: “Online discussions became sort of an easy way to put together assignments. Many would copy and paste under heading from discussion and not sure if this is a good or bad thing.” Tutors used Turnitin, and copy/pasted discussions to see if students were copying someone else’s, or their own, work.

The following year the group decided to use, and opened the discussion up in the global world. Students were asked to contribute to the forum, with a max of 150 words, and have a reference. The forum was open to all comers, and included responses from, for example, a CIO. It was a dynamic, interactive discussion. One drawback of the software was that they could not comment directly to any response.

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