Friday, November 07, 2008

European Conference on e-Learning - Day 2

Another sunny day here in Cyprus started with a "mini-track" related to the use of social networking tools in health and social care - chaired by my colleague Pam Moule.

The first presentation was by Sotiris Fanou a PhD student from the University of the West of England. He described his current work on enabling those with Learning Disabilities, who are currently excluded from many aspects of society, to participate in Wed 2.0 social networking via the development of new systems. He described some of the background and the issues identified for those with cognitive impairments which are different to those with visual or auditory problems which are served by W3C accessibility guidelines. He clarified the aims and research questions and dealt with questions about the iterative development process which enable the system to meet the needs of these users and the content creation which is being handed over to those with learning disabilities to take control of themselves.

The second presentation was by Sari Mettiainen and Kristiina Vahamaa from the Pirkanmaa University Finland who described their use of a web based discussion forum to support nursing students on practice placements in disparate clinical settings. They highlighted the problems with existing support mechanisms and their hypothesis that a web based discussion forum could provide better support. Their case study showed positive outcomes for both the university staff and the 25 students involved with increased reflection in the students writing.

I presented next some of the findings related to Web 2.0 adoption or otherwise in UK universities delivering health sciences courses.

The final presentation of the morning was by Elaine Haycock-Stuart from the University of Edinburgh. She had worked with colleagues from Wright State University in Dayton Ohio, USA to provide students on both sides of the Atlantic who were studying Health & Society/Global Health with a shared discussion board to share knowledge and ideas. The experience had demonstrated increased technical skills and knolwedgeof health systems in different countries for both UK and US based students.

The last session I attended was Barry Eaglestone from the University of Sheffield who reported on work they had carried out to examine the Information searching behaviours of Lifelong Learners. He discussed the motivations and hypothesis for the research, carried out with 91 general public volunteers and the cognitive styles which were found to be relevant. He showed a query matching algorith which had been used with audio and keystroke logging.

Unfortunately I will be missing some of the final sessions of the conference as we need to start the trek to the airport for the journey back to the UK. In general it has been a well organised conference in a lovely setting. Some of the sessions have been interesting and have given me a few ideas, but most of the material has not been particularly cutting edge or innovative. I have met various friends old and new and made some interesting contacts whith whom I will be following a few things up after the conference.

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  • Why do you think the conference presentations did not reflect greater innovation? Do innovators not present at conferences or just not at this one?

    By Blogger Anne Marie, at 1:32 am  

  • Anne Marie, This was just my feeling about this conference - most of the stuff I saw presented has been around for at least 5 years. I prefer conferences when I come away feeling that I've been inspired by something new.

    By Blogger Rod, at 7:42 am  

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