Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Web 2.0 at BCS Bristol

This evening I attended a meeting of the BCS Bristol branch at which Mike Farrow gave an interesting talk of the development, and possible future direction of Web 2.0.

He used several examples, often involving Amazon, of how getting user involvement in writing content, reviews etc can enhance the usefulness of a web site, and improve its commercial potential.

He also talked about blogs, wikis, tagging and RSS feeds as examples of existing technologies and about REST and AJAX (which i need to find out more about) as emerging technologies, which may influence the future moves towards the true semantic web.

The presentation and question and answer session had more emphasis on business models and company profits than I felt comfortable with - but it may have been right for the audience.

One useful tidbit which i picked up over coffee was about the forthcoming Internet Explorer Version 7 including it's RSS reader, for release around Christmas, which will move towards the standards based approach of FireFox and others - but will mean that web sites built around previous IE extensions may not be visible to those using the new version of IE. (For further discussion on compatibility issues etc see Microsoft and Internet Explorer vs. web standards and others.)

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Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Major incidents hit NHS national systems

Major incidents hit NHS national systems - 19/Sep/2006 -

This artile from Tony Collins in Computer Weekly highlights some of the major problems which have been identified in the NHS's National Porgamme for IT.

It could be crticised for accentuating the negative, this is an important function because, as the article rightly points out, these incidents are putting patient care at risk.

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Free Medical EMR (#02)

Some of other free opensource EMR systems , i got , through search ... or emails to me ........Testing In Progress

Free and Opensource Medical EMR List No.2

  • FreeMed : Most Powerful , Document management  , Hl7 Interface , Modular System
  • MedClipse : Free OS EMR Included " agenda, billing (tarmed), medical and administrative data management, prescriptions & referals"(Non English Main website) Download
  • Elexis : (Non English site ) for all aspects of a medical practice: EMR , laboratory findings accounting, billing & other daily work.
  • Endoclinic : Patient Management System
  • FreePM : physicians practice management / EMR
  • CAISI : an EMR system based on Oscar
  • ClearHealth : a next generation practice management system and EMR -Web Based
  • Natural EMR : EMR for for the special needs alternative medical providers-web based
  • Ultimate EMR : Web based

Feel Free To Update me with another free opensource  EMRs...

Dr.Hamza Emadeen Mousa - author - Stuff

Contact Me

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Open Source EMR Projects List (#01)

Open Source emr Projects .. Seems Promising but is that Pro as The paid ones? many of Open Source EMR projects developed using Interpreted languages as PHP depends on mySQL as DB system … that`s make it work online as well ..
Open source EMRs still didn`t get all the Features of the Open source systems .. still quiet solid not that interactive for the developers who wanna to add Plugins of features ..Modularity system still in progress … i get that Opinion after i tested over 4 EMRs ..

here the list of some Opensource EMRs Projects

Dr.Hamza Emadeen Mousa - author - Stuff

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Monday, September 18, 2006

Which CMS is Fit as Medical CMS?

alot of free Open source CMS (Content Management System) all over the web but which one is could use for medical resources?

that`s Q. some one email me to post about the answer..

The Effective CMS features :

  • Good Plugin and addons support
  • Web 2.0 Features
  • Easy Multimedia Integration
  • Rss Notification
  • gallery Integration support
  • easy Integration with other scripts as forums , blogs
  • Search Friendly
  • Themes made easy and good themes support
  • Good User System.
  • easy friendly Control Panel
  • Email Notifications
  • Good Security and bugs tracking support
  • Multi Lingual support

Just simple answer That`s depends on the wanna this CMS to hold .

-for Medical portal Included Medical Community :You should Use Compatible system .. to save time The CMS should contain Forums , News system ...articles system

Some sites make The forums alone .... make the user confused 2 User systems included one for the CMS and the other for the forums ...

so what CMS could use as Medical Portal ?

  • Mambo .. easy CMS and Quality Themes and Plugins support Including forums ,News and articles ...RSS support
  • Joomla .. coming from the Mambo easy and Powerful support for themes , plugins and Security enhanced . RSS support
  • Php-Fusion .. Including Forums , Links manager , Categorized news , articles and Download section.... and Photo gallery as well .. easy Control Panal and Good Plugin support alot of themes available. RSS Plugin
  • e107.. Simple to use with Powerful support with Powerful Control Panal .RSS support
  • Xoops simple and easy to use .. good plugins and themes support . RSS support

-News system :News system Features

  • News Categorization
  • News Archive - Or Advanced Archive system ...Weekly , Monthly or by Category
  • Calender
  • RSS notification
  • Search Friendly
  • Simple and easy to Navigate
  • Multimedia Support to add Multimedia News or Podcasts / Vodcasts .
  • News Via Email ..
  • good Themes and plugins support.

you can Use simple blog ... regarding you may add media in It so look for good plugins support ... The blog Interface ? if you using the Wordpress it`s easy to customize the blog look to anything you want.

News systems :

  • Wordpress ..Categorized Posts system .. Plenty of Themes and Plugins support
    ....Multimedia support ... RSS feed... Interactive Posts system (Comments) .. Archive support and advanced Archive Plugins .... Gallery support with easy Integration to other CMS and forums ..... Podcasts Support .. search Friendly and Permalinks Options
  • sNews .. new on board simple and easy ... Categorized News system... Comments system .... Template made easy....Search Friendly ..Local Search engine ....RSS feed Simple archive system
  • Limbo.. Mambo like lite CMS .. easy to use and Supper themes support and Plugins support... categorized news ... News Voting system .... RSS support... good user system ....

- Educational Systems & eLearning Web Solutions:

What If you are looking for elearning Web Based Solution for medical Use? What are the features should be in the eLearning system?

  • Interactivity : here The interactivity should be more advanced Plus the comments systems ... adding Chat ....
  • Powerful Notification .. Email .. RSS ...
  • Advanced Calender and Archive system
  • Multimedia Support adding - Flash Support
  • Multimedia Library and Archiving
  • Plugins and themes Support
  • Powerful examing And Testing system..
  • Easy Navigation
  • Powerful Control panal
  • Advanced User system - Multi Level Support
  • Tutorials and classes Plans ..
  • Agenda and News support
  • Learners Administration
  • Courses , Sessions & tutorials Administration
  • Surveys
  • Reporting Support
  • Learners Profiles
  • Easily Presentation integration (Powerpoint , Flash , Openoffice Presention )
  • Simple DMS (Document management System ) for Resources (*.doc , Pdf , Swf , Exe , Videos , Audio)
  • Player for Multimedia and Document files
  • Advanced Export System Artciles , News , Tutorials as PDF files ... Courses , Schedule as CVS or XLS files

so what`s the free web based eLearning Solutions could used?

-DMS (Document Management System)

There is Huge lake of Medical online Free Documents :( i remember at The first year at the medical school ... it was so hard to find Presentations , Documents etc.. but now there is many DMS available but almost no Medical uses yet :(

Note :

  • Filebrowser from Lussumo .. It`s no DMS ... it`s just Powerful PHP script to browse the files and the folders ... and Preview some types of files like SWF - Why i did list it here ? to exclude the difference ( ) The DMS and The simple scripts.

Features of Good DMS :

  • Multi User support
  • Multi Level Users support
  • File and Folder Manager
  • Searchable
  • Player for Multimedia files (Mov . Audio . SWF..etc )
  • Document Files Viewer (PDF . Doc . XLS . CVS..etc)
  • Image Viewer
  • Easy and Advanced File Navigation (by type , date , category , user , activity)
  • Log Viewer and Export
  • Security Enchaced
  • FTP file Uploading Support
  • Multimedia Info Reading as MOV , MP3
  • RSS feed
  • Easy Control Panal
  • Advacned File Archive
  • News system
  • Bulk Operation

here i`ll list some of DMS open source and easy to use ..

Dr.Hamza Emadeen Mousa - author - Stuff

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Sunday, September 17, 2006

Easy Interactive Multimedia Presentation and Medical Tutorials

MultiMedia Builder .. I used This tool to creat some CD presentation before but it`s more than that ... IT`S easy to use and quiet fast .you can use it to creat small Interactive Medical Presenations .. in mins... and more than that ... it`s export the project as Stand alone file "EXE" what can Multimedia Builder do more?

  • Autorun CD browsers (menus) for corporate CD-ROM's.
  • Tutorials
  • Cue Cards
  • Kiosks
  • CD Audio and Mixed-mode CD Audio Players
  • MP3 Players
  • Front-end for your corporate or personal CD's
  • File launchers and toolbar
  • Computer based training

Special Medical use " as i use now ;) "

  • in Audio CDz for Medical podcasts
  • Medical Interactive tutorials and Presentation

Resources :

SIte and download - link -

Screen shots -link-


Thursday, September 14, 2006

Feasibility of combining e-health for patients with e-learning for students using synchron

Blackwell Synergy: J Adv Nurs, Vol 56, Issue 1, pp. 99-109: Feasibility of combining e-health for patients with e-learning for students using synchronous technologies (Abstract)

The latest edition of the Journal of Advanced Nursing contains an interesting paper by Ray Jones, Heather Skirton and Miriam McMullan from the School of Nursing and Community Studies, Faculty of Health and Social Work, University of Plymouth.

The study aimed to to introduce and evaluate methods for using information and communication technologies to involve academic staff, students, and patients in a common synchronous e-learning environment, by evaluating three synchronous technologies: (1) non-commercial satellite interactive television (TV); (2) Internet videoconferencing; and (3) webcasting, through feasibility studies of 'TV-style' panel discussions on health topics and seminars with interaction with viewers by e-mail, inter-site research meetings with face-to-face interaction, user surveys and literature reviews.

They found that Interactive satellite TV required the booking of rooms with specialized receiving equipment. This limited accessibility contributed to the high cost per participant. Videoconferencing proved acceptable for cross-site research meetings and is proposed for joint meetings for doctoral students with overseas centres but has the same access issues as interactive satellite TV. Webcasting is accessible to most users with Internet access and provides a feasible means of delivery of synchronous interactive material, concluding that; Webcasting proved the most acceptable way of supporting a common synchronous environment.

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Wednesday, September 13, 2006

E-Learning in Practice Conference - Bristol

Evidence in Practice conference at UBHT, Bristol

Yesterday I attended an interesting conference on elearning in the National Health Service (NHS), held at the Bristol Royal Infirmary, Education Centre.

The first keynote presentation was given by Prof Sally Glen (new Pro-Vice Chancellor, University of Wolverhampton & editor of ) and Maggie Nicol, Director of the Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, Queen Mary University of London and City University London & Barts & The London considering Elearning and the NHS: Working with academic partners.

Sally opened by comparing the drivers for the increased use of elearning in the NHS and Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) and concluded that they are very similar. An overview of the advantages and disadvantages of elearning followed with consideration of some of the principles which surround them. Maggie then followed with consideration of some of the practical issues, including; intellectual property rights, firewalls, delivery mechanisms, accreditation, funding, private partners and sponsors using examples from her development of a simulation for infusion devises training.

The next speaker was Nicki Davis a junior doctor from United Bristol Healthcare Trust , who described "A day in the life of an elearner" based on focus groups held with junior doctors in the trust. The results were similar to other similar studies with doctors and other health professionals, suggesting that there are issues of access, time and motivation for the use of elearning and pleading for developers to take the needs of the users into account.

Accessing Core Learning? Let us give you a CLU was the next presentation from June Lancaster, Director of the NHS Core Learning Unit, which grew from the ashes of the NHS university and provides some statutory and mandatory training materials and is developing a common induction programme for the NHS. She highlighted issues surrounding quality and consistency and briefly mentioned work on making the learners record link with the NHS Electronic Staff Record (ESR) when it has been built. Their courses are available from however this requires users to say which Strategic Health authority and trust they work for therefore registration for those in higher education etc is difficult/impossible.

This was followed by a short "comfort break" however no coffee was made available!!

The first session after the break was by Veronica Vernon, from Edge Hill University, Ormskirk. She described the work of the SOLSTICE CETL and demonstrated the use of podcasting in a course for student nurses about the patients journey following diagnosis with breast cancer. Particular issues which were highlighted included the place in the curriculum (this component is not compulsory or assessed) and the partnership models of working between academics, clinicians and technologists. The key role of the patient experience was put across with excerpts from patient interviews.

Annmaria MacRury, from NHS Quality Improvement Scotland in conjunction with NHS Education for Scotland then described work she is undertaking for e-learning the ABC of clinical governance in Scotland. The development issues and problems she described were similar to a range of similar projects.

The final session of the morning was Elearning and the NHS: The strategic imperative by John Bewick, (NHS South West) who talked about some of the strategic directions for the NHS including globalisation, social and organisational changes and left the audience the challenge of considering the role of elearning in achieving these.

A limited lunch was then provided but it did provide an opportunity to visit the exhibitors stands, read the posters and catch up with friends and colleagues from around the country about their current projects.

After lunch there were four parallel sessions. As I was chairing the session on E-learning at the leading edge, I was not able to attend the others and can only report on those in my session:

NHS distance learning shouldn't cost an arm and a leg by Garfield Lucas(of Garfnet) & Roz Tritton Wessex Deanery & Oxford Deanery, was really a passionate argument for the use of open source tools in healthcare education with examples from the DEOSS site for dental vocational trainers including a dummy portfolio. The lively question and answer session triggered debates about security and support costs for using this sort of software.

Louise Terry and colleagues from South Bank University then described the research they had carried out into the use of video conferencing with nursing and healthcare management students taking an ethics course. Practical and pedagogical issues were discussed and the differences between the students in the UK and US highlighted. Technical issues about firewalls had meant the use of a private supplier and specialist equipment had meant increased costs which, in the final analysis, had probably not provided value for money. Some of the comments about the characteristics of the learners and their views of synchronous and asynchronous communication methods were particularly interesting.

Malcolm McClean a GP tutor from Horsham and Chanctonbury PCT then demonstrated SELF-online (although the URL didn't work when I tried it) as a good example of esignposting to learning in primary care. The site provide links to events and resources which can be used by primary care staff individually and as a groups for their own personal and professional development, and enables them to rate the resources for others.

The final presentation in this session was another evangelist this time Paul Norrish from East Devon PCT who showed (& passed around) a Tablet PC (SLATE) which he has purchased for Health and safety and Food Handling training for his trust. He had found the portability and accessibility helped to overcome problems reaching some staff who have traditionally been underserved by educational provision and suggested this fun and userfriendly approach provided a revolution for elearning.

The final plenary presentations aimed to bring together some of the current and future issues which had been identified during the day. Dr Luisa Dillner, from the BMJ Publishing Group, considered some of the issues in working with commercial partners using examples from BMJ Learning, including highlighting the expertise and resources which commercial elearning providers can bring. She particularly highlighted the use of high quality (but not as expensive as you might think) video and other multimedia in the new foundation pilot site for medical students and considered some potential future developments.

Phil Candy of NHS Connecting for Health then gave a presentation entitled Elearning and the NHS: Exciting times ahead, which mirrored many of the issues I heard him talking about in Edinburgh at the ALT-C conference last week. He touched on the global context and slow uptake of elearning in the NHS suggesting it is about 10 years behind higher education in this field. He referred to a presentation by Scott Walter "Born Digital" and his own book "Linking thinking - Self-directed learning in the digital age" in identifying the direction of travel and potential future developments including a new "National Alliance for Elearning in Health".

Prior to the conference delegates were invited to submit Frequently Unanswered Questions - many of which are still outstanding & are worthy of further discussion.

The presentations will be made available next week at: The Evidence in Practice UBHT web site

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Thursday, September 07, 2006

Volume 31 Number 3/September 2006 of Medical Informatics and the Internet in Medicine

Volume 31 Number 3/September 2006 of Medical Informatics and the Internet in Medicine

The table of contents of the latest edition of this journal has just been made available.

It includes:

Information about liver transplantation on the World Wide Web
F. Hanif, R. Sivaprakasam, A. Butler, E. Huguet, G. J. Pettigrew, E. D. A. Michael, R. K. Praseedom, N. V. Jamieson, J. A. Bradley, P. Gibbs

Investigating nurses' knowledge, attitudes, and skills patterns towards clinical management system: Results of a cluster analysis
M. F. Chan Lecturer

Customer privacy on UK healthcare websites
Darren P. Mundy

Treatment of medical databases and their graphical representation on the Internet
Pedro Conde, Talía Alonso, Isabel Garau, Pilar Roca, Jordi Oliver

Efficacy of stereoscopic visualization and six degrees of freedom interaction in preoperative planningof total hip replacement
Debora Testi, Riccardo Lattanzi, Marco Benvegnù, Marco Petrone, Cinzia Zannoni, Marco Viceconti, Aldo Toni

Evaluation of Internet use in university education by midwifery students
Paweł Rzymski, Maciej Wilczak, Beata Pięta, Tomasz Opala, Jakub Woźniak

Surfing the Net for medical information aboutpsychological trauma: An empirical study of thequality and accuracy of trauma-related websites
J. Douglas Bremner, John Quinn, William Quinn, Emir Veledar

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Final Plenary

The final plenary was by Stephen Heppell (see who has a long history in the field and gave an amusing view of the past present and future.

He compared policy and institutions & what students will be demanding in a future global digital world. The implications for British education was made explicit.

"Content may not be king but community may be sovereign."

He identified some key issues for universities & described projects like & pointed out the trends.

Workplace learning was a key issue in which communities could support each other. Scholarship changing to learning from others rather than traditional paper based resources - teaching moving to an all doctoral profession and every school is a research institution.

One project was about giving away free global exams for all to demonstrate they can create, critique, collaborate & communicate each individual producing a unique product. was given as an example of how excluded children children can achieve.

A very positive and exciting closing plenary.

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Summary of Next generation learners

In this session Phil Candy aimed to identify issues & themes, surprising findings, intriguing insights etc

His insights from the conference included:

*Attract or appeal to students from different backgrounds
*To empower, take control, overcome disabilities etc
*Social software
*Factors affecting uptake – personality etc
*Experiences of learners – relationships with resources & technologies
*Course design etc

*Student v learner
*Next generation - ? young
*? self directed learning
*Little on informal/ out of school
*Little on knowledge management

No surprises
*Terminology ICT etc not relevant to learners
*Appeal to some not others
*Some technologies fit some instruction - ? use in assessment
*Need seamless integration
*Needs to feel right

Intriguing insights

*Generational differences – not that important – more about personal characteristics
*Prefer instant messaging to email
*Need to look at what’s being used outside classroom to see how could work best in education
*Game playing in early life not influential in impact of game playing on ICT for learning purposes.
*Control may be a predictor of digitalness (locus of control stuff)
*Problems most about widening participation groups – bight students will use whatever
*Web2 technologies more fundamentally transformational than untethered or mobile technologies

*Technologies both creating communities & isolation
*May be using to reproduce models of community
*Separation of TV for entertainment to education ? same with web-based.

*Constructivist learning/own sense of world v learning outcomes

*Technology fluency may be temporary & situational

Divided into small groups – for discussions

Lots of issues – from theoretical constructs to practical issues.

*A possible model of elearning
*Based on a study of self directed learning (what people do when no one is telling them what to do)
*Those with passion but not enrolled on formal courses

Report from:
Linking thinking – Self-direction learning in the digital age

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Piloting the Inernational Virtual Nursing School

This short presentation by Linda Malek from Dundee described initial work on the development of IVINURS which is an international collaboration following the work on IVIMEDS.

What Linda described was some of the issues and lessons learnt from the establishment of a Learning Objects Repository based on the same software as JORUM. The discussion of quality and metadata issues was interesting however she was not able to clarify how the subscription/Business/Financial model makes this an attractive proposition for potential partners.

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Shut the polys & return to National Service

"Shut the polys & return to National Service" was a heckle during the question & answer session at the end of the keynote speech by Professor Tim O'shea on New Topologies for learning.

He had presented some history of elearning initiatives and what appeared to be an advertorial for Edinburgh University. One of his concluding and most controversial comments was that the traditional universities (ie Russel Group) were best placed to deliver elearning because of their resources and history - although he admitted they were not good at student support. This really seemed to annoy many of the delegates from post 92 universities, FE and other sectors.

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Wednesday, September 06, 2006

ALT-C 2006 - let's use the technology workshop

Live blogging from a workshop on 'using the technology'.

Starting late due to the room having been used for another meeting before, this workshop looks like it might be one of the potentially most interesting events of ALT-C 2006. It has a lot of interest - I will be doing some live blogging, so this post will be updated at intervals over the next hour or so.

One of the presenters says this is 'Workshop 2.0 – always beta so you can get away with murder.'

Peter 16:14hrs.

We are currently trying to set up a live chat facility using Gabbly -
Peter 16:18hrs

We are split into small groups of about 6-7 - doing an exercise on what our interests are in the use of the technologies. is a new wiki tool I have not come across before - see
The workshop webpage is at:
Peter 16:40hrs

There are some tags to other resources at

Another area that was mentioned is at:

There seem to be quite a few Apple Mac users in the session (and at the event as a whole) - Garageband for creating podcasts easily has had a few mentions.
Peter 16:53hrs

An interesting workshop - a lot of useful ideas generated. Need to go and look at a lot of the links that have been provided by tghe organisers.
Peter 17:21hrs

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ALT-C 2006 - more on blogs, interaction and support

Rod and I spoke this afternoon as part of a 3 short paper session looking at aspects of using blogs and other support for learners and interaction.

Helen Keegan from University of Salford talked about 'Blogs as a support tool for international mobility students'. The study is part of the ESMOS ( project Enhancing mobility through online support), a Socrates/Minerva EU-funded project with partners in six countries. Aimed to look at which technologies could be used to provide support. Needs analysis study found a need for support during the study phase when outside their base country.

The reasons for choosing blogs included reflection and group activities, and potential for psychological and social support (inc. for nursing students working in hospital settings different from what they were used to). One group of BSc Nursing students and one group of BA social work students were in the study; Serendipity was used as the blog tool for the social work students, while the nursing students used a Blackboard plug-in. With the nursing group, a feeling of collaborative community of practice was developed, including a collaborative bibliography; students discussed emotive and psychological issues. The students in both groups felt comfortable expressing themselves on the blogs – says they can be used a s support tool.

Rod and I presented on what we have been doing as far as conference blogs - see for links to some of what we have done.

Sabine Little, University of Sheffield, talked about 'Facilitating inquiry-based learning from afar: educational research in the Caribbean'; not about blogs but other forms of support. She provided a very interesting report on hwo she had been developing a course for critical analysis/thinking/inquiry skills for cohorts of teachers in the Caribbean.

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ALT-C2006 – British Sign Language by SMS and video

One of the most interesting sessions I have been to was from Andy Black about using mobile phones and SMS to provide British Sign Language learning and communication; Andy explained that each country has its own sign language. He talked about the context for the work being the shortage of qualified and trainee interpreters, and those who were around tending to work in industry (with better pay) than the education sector; as a result, the needs of students with hearing problems were often not being met.

Deaf learners have found SMS/text messaging to be one of the best recent developments. The work Andy described has been to develop text-based glossaries linked to short video clips that can then be accessed by mobile phone; current examples include;; and The aim is to develop 1500 ICT-specific terms, which are based in definitions developed by the British Computer Society (BCS). At present, video clips are in Quicktime and Windows Media formats, but the aim is to convert them to Flash files (as all 1500 will then fit on a 1GB flash drive), which will allow for greater portability and easier use on mobile phones.

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ALT-C Exhibition

The symposium I wanted to attend on the wednesday morning discussing the Sudeley paradox was cancelled due to a death in the family of one of the presenters, therefore I spent a little while wandering around the exhibition which was very quiet.

Some software suplliers had stands along with JISC, Eduserve, etc with perhaps the most interesting and stimulating activity being a contribution to create origami shapes!

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ALT-C 2006 - some other views

There are several other people blogging ALT-C 2006; including someone (see link) who also blogged their journey up to Edinburgh on GNER using their clunky wifi access, the same as I was. It is interesting to read other peoples' views - see blogs at:

Interestingly the 'official conference blog' (cited in an earlier post by Rod) has few contributions - does this say something about the nature of blogging and attempts to officially sanction it??

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Tuesday evening Celidh

The Tuesday evening social events included a coach "ghost trail" around ednburgh, which I didn't go on and a Celidh in the "Lecturn Bar". A lively 4 piece band accompanied the small number of dancers.

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ALT-C2006 - blogs, podcasts, m-learning and things

Blogs seem to be theme of the event this year; last year, one of the delegates noted, they were hardly mentioned, but there are dozens of presentations this year aboiut using blogs in various ways for education. Rosanne Biirney, from Waterford Institute of Technology in Ireland gave some early quantitative results from a study of blog use she is doing for a Masters course research project; this seems to be one of the few real studies reported. Andy Pulman and Andy Worth talked about blogging at Bournemouth, although I was a bit concerned about the 'control factor' they seemed to be imposing. Surely, blogging is all about getting out there and trying it, not practising in a controlled and restricted 'safe' environment. If blogging is, as they say, a one-to-many activity, can it also be a social networking activity? - discuss.

Prize for most intriguing title so far? - a poster titled 'There's no meat in the rice pudding: turning students into artisans'

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Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Online social presence and group cohesion: facilitation styles and support

The next presentation I attended was by 2 of my colleagues from the UWE Faculty of Health and Social Care
who presented some of the results of their study using adapted criteria from Rouke et al 2004 Assessing Social Presence in Asynchronous Text-based Computer Conferencing, Journal of Distance Education 14(2) to analyse student comments in the affective, interactive and cohesive domains and looked at how facilitators styles influenced the students comments.

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ALTC2006 Wiki & Blog

The official ALT-C2006 conference wiki and blog is at:

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elearners perspectives

Three short papers with similar themes and aims examined elearning from the users perspective, but were funded by JISC and should be available on their web site.. The first two by Kathryn Trinder et al & Grainne Conole et al used different methods & different populations of students but both found that successful elearning students have strategies to fit their learning in with the rest of their lives & use technology to network. The networking was generally by text & instant messaging rather than email or other systems provided by the educational institution. The Conole et al study found that VLEs were taken for granted & criticised for inconsistency amongst staff. The ideas about elearning also varied by discipline when computer science, medicine, languages and economics students were compared.

The third paper, by Perry Williams, was slightly different in presenting a discourse analysis approach and focusing on agency and social structures ratyher than the technology or interface.

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Virtual Ward

Workshop on crating a virtual ward led by Nigel Wynne, Emma Winterman, and Janine Stephenson staff from University of Central England, Faculty of Health

The project was set up as part of their Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL) exploring collaboration with NHS trusts.

The resource is at: Although a username and password is required. You can use
Login ID: ALTC2006
Password: : Working in Partnership
Then select Course: Pre-Reg Nursing Acute Adult GM50C7
These should work for the next 2 weeks or so.
If you would like to use it after that or need more information or would be a potential partner then please contact Nigel Wynne < > for further information.

After an introduction to the process and software, participants were encouraged explore the patient examples which had been created. Following questions further exploration of how this was used within the course and modules.

Discussion considered the linear nature of the workbook which accompanies the software & the potential for expansion. Questions about making it accessible for disabled students identified further work to be done. General issues about paper v electronic resources, submission, student feedback etc etc & how things fit with course design arose from the workshop, which were not specific to this software but showed common issues.

Future developments include more cases and improved interprofessional learning – possibly with the use of video conferencing.

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NAO to re-open NPfIT inquiry

The Guardian today reports that 'the National Audit Office (NAO) is to re-examine the NHS's £6.2bn nationwide computer overhaul just two months after giving the 10-year project ... a clean bill of health.'

The story is at:,,1864956,00.html

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ALT-C 2006 – opening ceremony

It's 9:30 on a fairly overcast Tuesday morning here on the edge of Edinburgh at Heriot-Watt University. The wireless network seems to work well (once the initial slow set-up was got over); I am sat in the main lecture theatre, which is full.

The opening was started by Rhonda Riachi, from ALT, and Andy Walker, Vice Principal of the university, who welcomed delegates and claimed that the origins of the university make it the eighth oldest in the UK. About 100 of the 600 delegates are from outside the UK.

The first keynote speaker is Dr Diana Oblinger, from EDUCAUSE ( the USA. Her talk is titled 'Listening to what we're seeing', and she started by looking at the context of education today. She says that context of the world is shifting, and wonders how education will change. She began by looking at the learners today – are digital, connected, experiential, immediate and social; they have an immediate natural comfort with technology; always connected with colleagues electronically in ways that older generation (inc. educators) are not. Many like to\learn in peer-to-peer situations (horizontal approach) and like interaction and engagement; many are visual and can read images as well as or better than text; often choose to work on things that matter and that might make a difference in the world. She also notes that these are generalisations.

Today's learners show some of the changes happening in our culture (norms and values, etc); multi-modal communication (and often simultaneous) tends to be a norm; many people are increasingly adopting 'do-it-yourself' approaches, eg online banking shopping and learning, as opposed to going to traditional authoritative sources; tools such as mp3 players and timeshifting abilities to watch broadcast media give increasing choice; libraries are not seen as first choice information sources, but learners tend to go to online resources such as Wikipedia, Google, etc. - many of these resources are developed/maintained by 'amateurs'. These cultural changes are affecting people of all ages.

Some of the implications of these changes she covered are:
- connecting with students (ie with people)
- network and connecting to a network of people and information is more important than knowing content (eg Siemen's 'connectivism' ideas)- social connections and networks
- connecting in virtual worlds to practice things that happen in the real world
- collaboration by design and the nature of learning spaces.

She spent quite some time looking at ways in which physical spaces were changing, or could be changed, so as to encourage interaction, conversations, and learning. She also emphasised that using technology is not the same as integrating technology for what it might be best used for.

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Monday, September 04, 2006

Blogging ALT-C2006

Rod and I will be at the ALT-C 2006 conference this week (, which is being held at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh. The theme is 'the next generation' (presumably of e-learning. We hope to report back not only general things but anything of specific interest with a health informatics flavour. Phil Candy, Director of Education, Training and Development for NHS Connecting for Health, is supposed to be speaking on the theme 'next generation learners'; it will be interesting to see whether he says anything new or we get the same old tired rhetoric as we have had from Disconnecting for Health and its predecessors over 10 years and more.

We will be giving a paper based in the work tnat we and our colleagues have been doing in the last couple of years on conference blogs.

Peter Murray - posted via wifi from GNER train somewhere between Newcastle and Edinburgh.

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