Tuesday, 27 July 2010

What are the risks in sharing PhD findings before completion?

Danger sign

Last week I was at the ASME conference. The conference abstracts are available online but the conference does not facillitate or encourage the sharing of actual presentations ar this stage. It occurred to me whilst there that rather than having posters displayed in quite a small space and often lacking the opportunity to engage with the presenters, wouldn't it be much better to have these online in advance so that comments could be left for the authors.

I am suspecting that I am increasingly growing in distance from my medical education researcher colleagues. And this is the reason why. One of the presentations I attended was so good that before it ended I emailed the presenter (during the presentation!) and asked if I could have a copy and encouraged that it could be placed by them on Slideshare. This was work leading to a PhD but as yet unpublished in any other form. Today I gratefully received an email with a PDF of the presentation. But the accompanying message stated that the author had been advised not to upload the work as it contained unpublished material. They were happy for me to have it personally and share it informally.

I know that my audience here may well disagree that it is dangerous to share work in this way. But how do we manage to change perceptions? How would you counsel a PhD student you were supervising on this? Is it up to organisations such as ASME to lead the way in this? Or should institutions have policies? Is there any proof that sharing work does lead to better outcomes for students and the wider community?

I feel this is at the very edge of 'open science' and makes me realise how far there is to go.

Image: CC by Jacockshaw, Flickr.

EDIT: Here is the Friendfeed discussion that emerged around this post:

Saturday, 24 July 2010

ASME Conference 2010

The Association for the Study of Medical Education (ASME) had their conference in Cambridge, UK earlier this week. You can find out more about the conference here. I did tweet thoughout the conference and although I was a rather solitary voice I did have some good interaction with my followers as usual. A transcript of tweets can be found here.

I wish I could link to some of the very interesting presentations I attended but they are not online as far as I am aware. However, one of the keynote addresses was given by John Norcini, from FAIMER (Foundation for Advancement of International Medical Education and Research) using Prezi. I searched the website and found his presentation so can share it here with you.

Although ASME is an international organisation it does have strong UK roots so his presentation on the problems for medical education internationally was an interesting change. I should also point out that the UK does not yet have a national licensing exam. Licensing is carried out by medical schools who are accredited by the GMC (although I did hear some talk at the conference that a national exit exam may be back on the agenda).

One of his most interesting points was that often medical education followed fashion, which was then evaluated. He gave Problem-Based Learning (PBL) as an example of this. But there was evidence during the conference that other aspects such as the use of simulation are also being thought of more critically now. We don't have the evidence to justify widespread use.

I also talked to some other doctoral researchers about the need for a network to share our questions and learning. Watch this space for more about that!

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Social learning with Twitter

I was looking at this presentation by Jane Hart when I thought I should share my own screencast about using Twitter for learning. I have been experiementing with using Screenr to record feedback to students who ask me questions through a discussion forum in Blackboard. I discovered that not all students know what a screencast is so that is something for me to consider in future years! And I have also experimented with downloading and sharing the short videos I've made on a Facebook page. Like all my screenrs this is quick and dirty but hopefully gets across quite a nice story.