All 6 entries tagged E-Learning

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September 18, 2006 courses make a difference

Writing about web page

Every day at we receive emails and feedback from learners telling us that our courses have made a difference to their professional lives. Now we’ve got some research to back up what we have known for a long time: courses make a difference and have a positive impact on patient care.

Dierdre McGuigan and Pam Moule from the University of the West of England and the United Bristol Healthcare NHS Trust have conducted an evaluation of nurses’ use of our Cancer of the Oesophagus course as part of some “research to explore the experience of e-learning in clinical practice”.

Their methodology was as follows:

The delivery of the web-based programme took place with pre- and post testing of knowledge and skills through the use of validated multiple choice questions and quantitative vignette methodology using six vignettes in total.

And their conclusion:

Although the sample is small the results clearly show that staff who undertook the e-learning programme gained knowledge specific to care of patients with oesophageal cancer. Through using vignette methodology the results show that this knowledge impacts on care in a positive way.

Deirdre and Pam are now keen to build upon this study with a much larger sample. The link above is to a poster reporting the results of their study that they prepared for a recent conference in Bristol. Thanks Deirdre and Pam – your work is really very much appreciated.

August 23, 2006 recruits its 10,000th online learner

Writing about web page

At the beginning of August,, the online learning environment which I co–developed and maintain with my colleague and friend Ray Irving and his brother Mark, a Cancer Nurse Specialist, recruited its 10,000th online learner. provides free, professional online cancer care courses that aim to enhance the knowledge and skills of health professionals and anyone concerned with the care of cancer patients.

At present, is an entirely voluntary project for the majority of its contributors and developers. With our sparse financial and technical resources, to have recruited over 10,000 learners (and over 17,000 individual course registrations) from over 100 countries across the globe in three years is a milestone that we're very proud of and which I'm I shouting about today.

We've also received some nice coverage today on a new blog about online learning projects - Edufilter.

The comment below, from a nurse in New Zealand, is indicative of the value of our courses and of the sort of feedback we receive about every single day.

I didn't realise how much I had forgotten until I started doing the Cancer Care for Children and Young People course. It has been a really good refresher. I have thoroughly enjoyed going over the types of childhood cancers, and treatments available, and it has been very thought provoking. I really like being able to complete it online in your own time. With a young family, trying to continue some education is at times hard to do, so thank you.

I wonder how many other UK organisations have recruited over 10,000 international online learners?

July 12, 2006

Reboot the Beeb

Writing about web page

This is a site to get lost in full of signposts to a very near future. The brief for this competition to completely reimagine and re–design the BBC homepage was pretty much as follows:

We want to allow Internet users to go into their own BBC space containing all the content they're interested in, all the TV shows they like and all the things they've played with on the Web. We need to come up with a personalised BBC homepage that will provide users with a starting place for their journey through BBC content and beyond.

As a summary of what's working well and gaining ground on the web it's fascinating. Personalisation abounds. Widgets and aggregates. Embedded media players playing your selections gain more prominence. The spaces imagined allow users to feed external content of their choosing into the hallowed BBC internet foyer. The 'user' is in charge.

Are there any lessons in here for online learning spaces?

May 31, 2006

The Learner as Network

Writing about web page

I really like reading the urgent, in–your–face, passionate postings that Will Richardson writes in his blog Weblogg-ed.

In 'The Learner as Network' he writes:

The idea that each of our students can play a relevant, meaningful, important role in the context of these networks is still so foreign to the people who run schools. And yet, more and more, they are creating their own networks, sharing, aggregating, evolving to the disdain of the traditional model of schooling that is becoming more and more irrelevant.

In a similar vein, a commenter on one of his recent posts writes:

Instead of trying to prepare our students for what the world looked like when we were 18, let’s try to prepare them for what the world is going to look like when they’re our age.

Where are we fostering what Richardson calls "network literacy"?

the functions of working in a distributed, collaborative environment is an important aspect of learning and education that precious few of our students get a chance to practice. And it is only by practicing these skills, whether teachers or students, that they can truly be learned.

March 14, 2006

I'm a boffin

Writing about web page

BOFFINS Stuart Sutherland, Ray Irving and Helen Langton have scored a global success with a new health website.

According to the Coventry Evening Telegraph, who last week did a feature on our most recent course on Cancer Care for Children and Young People, I'm a boffin. I've never thought of myself as a boffin but now I must surely get myself a white coat from a workwear clothing manufacturer as soon as possible.

Do readers of local newspapers really need to have this sort of work translated to them in this sort of language? Do local journalists feel that this is the only way in which we can be understood? Should they not spend more time checking that their rewrite of your press release maintains some sort of accuracy? Still, it's very welcome publicity which took up over a third of their business page. I'll happily be a boffin if that's the price of coverage in the local press.

January 31, 2006

Out of site, out of mind

If you are a distance or online learner, the University of Warwick is not the plush, handsome campus on the edge of Coventry; it is a series of online spaces where one can communicate with one's peers, submit assignments to tutors, receive marked assignments from tutors, download key learning resources and engage in collaborative activity with virtual teams or study groups.

So, when your university password is suspended, you do not have that access to those peers, to those collaboration spaces, to the place where you receive your marked work, to the tutors or even the online self-assessment tests, from which you might receive feedback on your performance.

However, the current system for resetting passwords – involving a pop-up window which many browsers will block by default and a form that provides no information about how it should be filled in and no feedback if it is filled in wrongly – is a very clumsy solution which creates as many problems as it solves and significant volumes of support calls on many University staff. Furthermore, if students are required to call IT services' helpdesk to extricate themselves from the problems caused by this inelegant, unfriendly solution, then the significant number of our distance learners based in radically different time zones – the Far East for example – are hardly well supported, as they do not share too many of their waking hours with helpdesk's opening times.

So, when we suspend all of our distance learners' passwords and provide a very poor service with which to change passwords, we are effectively shutting huge numbers of students out of the University of Warwick with poor guidance about how to get back in. Our distance learning MBA students are the University of Warwick's single largest group of students. Imagine if the single largest group of on-campus students were blocked from every physical entrance to the University campus. We'd solve that situation pretty swiftly, for sure, without asking the students to go and get their own new keys cut from an unreliable key cutter.

When on-campus students have their passwords deleted, they can still get on site, communicate with their classmates and their tutors, and access their learning resources and their lectures. When distance learners have their passwords deleted (or when they have their programme end dates wrongly entered by the Graduate Office such that their ITS accounts expire, as happened to hundreds of distance learners at the end of 2005) then those students effectively do not have access to the University of Warwick.

Out of sight, out of mind?

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