We are very excited to announce that the first international collaborative student project will go ahead in February 2010. During this project fourth year physiotherapy students from the University of the Western Cape, South Africa will collaborate with fellow foundation year students from the Royal College of Surgeons, Ireland. The project is being organised and supported by Rachael Lowe, the Physiopedia founder, in collaboration with Michael Rowe from the University of the Western Cape and Aileen Barret from the Royal College of Surgeons.
The project is an elective module where students will be invited to participate. The students will be allocated into groups of four students (two from each nation) and tasked with working together to build pages/content in Physiopedia. The topics that the students will work on will investiate key physiotherapy skills and also explore cultural differences between the nations.
At the end of this project students should be able to:
- Demonstrate evidence based practice skills such as literature searching and critical appraisal
- Demonstrate scientific writing and referencing skills
- Demonstrate an ability to work in teams, agree goals and time frames, roles and responsibilities
- Demonstrate web-editing skills
Students will also have:
- An increased understanding of the clinically related topics that they have investigated
- An insight into the cultural differences in the physiotherapy profession in different nations
- Experience of online collaboration
For more information on this project see the ISP1 page in Physiopedia or follow the #ISP1 in Twitter.
We are currently collaborating with the Sparkman Center for Global Health to add the contents of Physiopedia to the Widernet project of developing a digital library, entitled the eGranary, in several educational training institutions in Zambia.
Many of the developing country universities, schools, clinics and hospitals with whom Widernet work have no Internet connection. Those that are connected to the Internet have such limited bandwidth that they cannot offer free Web browsing to the majority of their staff and students. Bandwidth in Africa can cost up to 100 times what it costs in the U.S., so for some organizations a slim Internet connection can consume the equivalent of one-half their operating budget. Even for those individuals who have the wherewithal to pay for Web browsing, the experience can be frustratingly slow — it can take hours to download a single audio file.
The eGranary Digital Library addresses these issues by moving a large assortment of educational Web documents onto the subscriber’s local area network (LAN) so that the documents can be made available to everyone within the institution freely and instantly. In essence the Widernet project “stores the seeds of knowledge” inside the institution where they can be accessed even when the Internet connection is broken. More specifically, this particular eGranary that we are collaborating on is designed for Medical, Nursing, and Public Health students in Zambia. To date there have been requests for more physiotherapy information but few quality physiotherapy resources have been located thus far, so we are honoured to have been invited to contribute to this project.
Please help us to help those in less resourced countries in this way by contributing content to Physiopedia. Together we can contribute to improved global health.
The EIM residents are at it again….. they are creating new pages in Physiopedia as part of an assignment for their residency training. They have created some great pages and really helped us to increase the content within Physiopedia, so thanks to all those involved.
I just wanted to take the opportunity to cross post the latest post the I made at my own blog as I think (I hope) that the readers of this Physiopedia blog may find it quite interesting, if not inspiring!
The movement for open educational resources has been noticeably gathering pace recently and has sparked quite a lot of debate within the e-learning community. The recent Open Education Conference in Vancouver certainly had a lot of buzz (and tweeting) around it!! The term “Open Educational Resources” (OER) was first adopted at UNESCO’s 2002 Forum on the Impact of Open Courseware for Higher Education in Developing Countries funded by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. They defined OER as follows:
“OER are teaching, learning and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use or re-purposing by others. Open educational resources include full courses, course materials, modules, textbooks, streaming videos, tests, software, and any other tools, materials or techniques used to support access to knowledge.”
Basically OER are all about sharing. In a brave new world of learning, OER content is made free to use or share, and in some cases, to change and share again, made possible through licensing, so that both teachers and learners can share what they know. There are many examples of institutions that have made a big effort to provide OER which everyone can benefit and learn from. This movement certainly makes self directed online learning a real possibility for our continuing education and professional development. However, those that will benefit the most are people whom otherwise have limited access to information. There is an urgent need to improve the availability and use of healthcare information in developing countries.
People in the developing world are dying for lack of knowledge. Today, 1.3 billion people lack access to basic health care services and many more are at risk of receiving poor quality care. A major contributing factor is lack of access to relevant, reliable healthcare information. The New York Law School/HIFA2015 White Paper: Access to Health Information Under International Human Rights Law, concludes that health information is an essential component of many identified and established human rights. The resulting HIFA2015 campaign has the goal that by 2015, every person worldwide will have access to an informed healthcare provider. The challenge is to ensure that everyone in the world can have access to clean, clear knowledge – a basic human right, and a public health need as important as access to clean, clear water, and much more easily achievable.
My contributions to these efforts come from my Physiopedia project. Essentially Physiopedia is an OER that provides free information to health care workers. As well as being a place where education can take place, I really do hope that physiotherapists across the world will see the benefits that contributing information to this site can bring. It really doesn’t take that much effort to create a page in Physiopedia and if all physios in the UK alone created just one page using the unique knowledge that we all have, that would immediately be 48,000 pages!!! Not only is it a great CPD activity in itself but contributors can also feel good in knowing that they are contributing to improving health care in the developing world.
Following the publication of the last Physiopedia Newsletter we were contacted by David Baxter, the editor of Physical Therapy Reviews, with an invitation to publish our newsletter. We have been overwhelmed by the support that David has given us with this project and are very grateful to him. We hope to visit him and his colleagues to discuss further international collaborations in the near future.