Gearing up for #AMEE2017: Barcamps and Open MedEd practice

This weekend I’m off to the annual AMEE conference in Helsinki.  It doesn’t seem 5 minutes since last year’s meeting, it’s been a busy year, but a quiet one on the blogging front.  Apart from a couple of short posts the last substantial post was my review of my personal highlights from last year’s AMEE.  One of those highlights was the double Barcamp session and I’m delighted that we’ll be running this again in Helsinki.  A key feature of Barcamps  is the participation of all participants with everyone invited to suggest topics, questions, or outline problems that they want to explore and discuss.  One aspect that individuals appreciated about last year’s Barcamps was having time to think and reflect and a number of us having had a positive experience have gone on to use the format in various activities in our own institutions. At Dundee we used the Barcamp format to kick off our Global Health Challenge last autumn and we also adopted it to shape discussion in one of  our e-assessment community of practice meetings. If you’re going to AMEE I’d recommend coming along to one of the Barcamp sessions which are running Monday afternoon and if you’d like to learn a little more about what to expect check out the helpful introduction to the barcamp approach which my colleagues have published in MedEdPublish.

My other key involvement at AMEE this year is with a couple of pre-conference workshops one looking at developing as an open medical education practitioner where I’m teaming up with my colleague Annalisa Manca.  Together we’re also working with Meg Chisholm to run another workshop looking at social media in and as research.  I’m also delighted that another of my colleague’s Amy Arnold, from Robert Gordon University School of Pharmacy, is going to be presenting some of our work on interprofessional learning with medical and pharmacy students.

One of my reflections from last year, prompted by Andrew Coggin’s blog post Pearls from the AMEE 2016 Conference, relates to  the general lack of mention of FOAMed – free open access meducation. Annalisa and I ran a workshop on FOAMed a few years ago but open education practice doesn’t really seem to have taken off in mainstream medical education in the way that it has in other disciplines in higher education.  Within medicine FOAMed has taken off most in emergency medicine, radiology and paediatrics but is perhaps still little known in other specialities.  We’ve got 35 people signed up for our pre-conference workshop on Sunday and we’ll be building on some of the work that we do with our students on our Doctor as Digital Teacher SSC as we introduce participants to the world of open medical education.  I’m in the process of putting some finishing touches to a blog that we’re going to use to support the activities in the workshop and I intend to keep the site going afterwards so that it can be reused as an open educational resource (OER) beyond the workshop.  Before it goes live I’d welcome any top tips other FOAMed advocates might want to share with  those just beginning to think about developing as an open medical education practitioner.  The hashtag for our open meded workshop will be #AMEE2017 #PCW18.

All being well I’ll be posting some reflections on AMEE and hopefully I’l manage a few more blogs posts over the next 12 months.



Up and blogging again

Welcome to my new digital home and my new blog.  Having had a bit of hiatus in blogging, (it’s almost a year since I last posted!) it’s time to get blogging again and particularly so as I’ve finally made the move to get my own domain on Reclaim Hosting.

I first started blogging in 2008 (over on e-LiME) and I’ve been struck in the past year by how often I refer back to some of my old posts, both the published ones and those that have remained as eternal drafts!  I was never a prolific blogger but I found blogging was a good way to support reflective practice and think out loud. Some of my old posts are full of questions and were an attempt to gain the views of others and often they generated helpful learning conversations on Twitter, others through comments posted on individual posts.

When I moved to a more central University role two and a half years ago I found it quite a challenge to blog. My previous post was an academic one and I think I felt freer to blog and share some of my thinking,  Moving to a professional service puts you in a slightly different position and I guess there’s perhaps been a sense of feeling more wary of blogging.  The other challenge has been time, I’ve written lots of blog posts in my mind but they’ve never made it to being spelled out on my keyboard.  Recently though I’ve realised that I’ve missed blogging, there’s almost something cathartic about it, but I think importantly for me blogging was a way to reflect and support my own personal learning.  So I’m back blogging and I’m still learning about higher education, open education, the role of technology in learning and teaching and good old medical education.