Educemiology: the “Epidemiology” of Medical Learning Resources

Abstract: 
It is often claimed that Medical Education is much benefited from technological progress. Recent advances in the social web sphere have highlighted the importance of openness, enabled social collaboration, improved participation, allowed for the emergence of social networking and intelligence and have pinpointed key new terms like “Apomediation” and “disintermediation”. All these have started playing key roles in educational processes, and have inevitably shifted focus from educators to educational resources and education material that may be shared by online communities of learning through various open educational repositories. Moreover, recent advances in the semantic web front, have shed light and emphasis on the notion of linked data, which basically concerns the publishing of structured data so that it can be interlinked more effectively and hopefully become more useful. This has shifted focus from serving web pages for human readers into sharing information in a way that can be read automatically and “understood” by machines. Inevitably this enables data from different sources to be connected in a better way and be queried more effectively and efficiently. In this paper emphasis is placed on the fusion of the above advances and how these have been approached in mEducator (www.mEducator.net) in order to organise, repurpose, re-use and share medical educational resources, by capitialising novel approaches in both semantic and social web dimensions. We will demonstrate how mash-up tools can create geographical maps of learning resources, thereby representing in a novel (but still familiar way) way connections that are inherited among learning materials and relationships built in the environment amongst the educators and the students as well. This potentially creates a new term which we coin in here, that is, “educemiolody”. In an analogous way of defining epidemiology as “the study of the distribution and patterns of health-events, health-characteristics and their causes or influences in well-defined populations”, educemiology stands for the creation and study of “epidemiological” maps, displaying how medical learning resources from one Institution or academic teacher or expert are distributed to other places and connected to other resources and people, so as to be used in other educational contexts. It is hoped and envisaged that this will become the cornerstone method of health education research, and help inform policy decisions for shaping new guidelines and standards for medical academic staff development, promotion and upgrades. Moreover, educemiology may be utilised to identify benefits for departmental portfolio implementations, that be targeting in turn towards institutional quality assurance and external audit procedures.
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Session

Friday, 6 April, 2012 - 09:30 to 11:00