Sunday, February 01, 2009

PeRSSonalized Medicine; Health Blogs Observatory

Are Health 2.0 applications like buses - you wait for ages for something decent, then they all start coming along at once? This weekend saw the launch of two new applications - PeRSSonalized Medicine, from Bertalan Mesko's Webicina portal, and the Health Blogs Observatory, from Ivor Kovic and colleagues.

I wonder - is it any coincidence that they both originate out of eastern Europe (Hungary and Croatia, respectively)?

Bertalan explains the genesis of PeRSSonalized Medicine in a post on his Scienceroll blog. It was based in a discussion of why so few doctors use Web 2.0 tools (in my view, the question could be expanded to all health professionals, including nurses). He has created a free tool to help "track medical journals, blogs, news and web 2.0 services really easily and creates one personalized place where they can follow international medical content without having a clue what RSS is about". The nice thing about it is that is not 'one size fits all', but allows for a degree of personalisation of what content to follow (albeit from a list that the site provides - but hopefully this will expand over time, and Berci invites suggestions for additional resources).

The Health Blogs Observatory aims to provide a directory of health-related blogs (and Informaticopia is in there already), but also to "conduct annual surveys of health bloggers and their blogs to gain better insights into the state of health blogging", something Ivor has already done and published on (

They are both worthwhile ventures - visit, contribute, collaborate, and help them grow.

Of course, you can follow both of them via RSS feeds, on Twitter, etc. - eg, and

Labels: , , , , ,

Saturday, December 06, 2008

The use of social networking (Web 2.0) in higher education

Peter Murray has point out to me an interesting report from Franklin Consulting entitled A review of current and developing international practice in the use of social networking (Web 2.0) in higher education which has recently been published.

The report was commissioned by the Committee of Inquiry into the Changing Learner Experience who asked for an international perspective on Web 2.0 tools and their use in universities around the world. The results which cover Australia, The Netherlands, South Africa, United Kingdom and United States of America) highlights the drivers and inhibitors to use and draws some conclusions about the likely direction.

Their findings reflect patchy uptake and a wide variety of ways in which these tools are being used, but suggest "The potential transformation of the practices themselves is yet barely understood or encountered".

There was a remarkably high level of agreement about the issues to be addressed which included:

Social and professional lives: The use of Web 2.0 for both social and professional purposes has created uncertainties for HEIs. This is reflected in institutions’ current regulatory behaviour codes for use of Web 2.0 for both staff and students.
Privacy and safety: Issues of privacy and safety have been raised within the international reports as matters of concern for students and institutions.
Identity: One of the key issues that both students and institutions will face is the nature of students' and staff online identities.
Issues for Institutions: Traditional frameworks for the development of academic knowledge do not sit comfortably with the speed of information sharing and information production that exists via the Internet.
A lack of new pedagogic models creating uncertainty for both staff and students.
Time constraints; administrative overload, high maintenance of the learning process
and learning the new technologies are all time consuming.
A culture shift for academics: The rapid and huge expansion of information accessible through the web coupled with tools that can be used to repurpose and create new knowledge on-line have created a very different information and a communication environment
Issues for students :Issues for students are common across all countries where they are engaged in using Web 2.0 tools.

The perceived advantages for co-creation of knowledge and the support for
on-line collaborative activities are balanced against concerns over the
longevity of software applications and reduced institutional control as learning space becomes atomised.

Labels: ,

Sunday, November 09, 2008

The web-based Personal Health Record - research implications report

An interesting report has recently been released which examines research implications for patients, consumers, health services and UK industry arising from developments in the web-based personal health record.

HOIP CIC was commissioned to undertake a scoping study into the implications of the web-based personal health record (PHR) and the resulting research priorities on behalf of the NIHR invention for innovation (i4i) programme and for the DH Policy Research Programme.

The report examines the following areas:

* The perspectives of participants and contributors to the study
* The challenge of commissioning and delivering research in web 2.0 timescales
* Policy implications and alignment
* Confidentiality, access and trust
* The user/consumer perspective
* The service perspective
* Technology perspectives
* The industry perspective

The report identifies 39 themes for further more detailed research. The research team are inviting those reading the report to take part in an online questionnaire to categorise these themes by their level of strategic or operational priority and the timescale within which the research needs to take place.

The full report, survey and forums to discuss the issues raised can be found at:

Labels: , ,

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Elsevier Article 2.0 Contest Site

Elsevier has posted an Article 2.0 contest site with prizes of $500-2500 for the best scientific article online presentation. It seems like theyare giving programmers the opportunity to take on the role of an innovative publisher using their xml dataset of articles...

The contest runs September 1st - December 31st, 2008 and prizes will be announced January 31st, 2009.

Also for the library Geeks amongst us:
A web2.0/library2.0 issue of Elsevier's Library Connect (October 2007):

Plus three interesting library/programmer bloggers:

With best regards,

P.S. - If you are contemplating going for this, I wouldn't wait until 12-31 to upload. Note that Elsevier took down their website for the Grand Challenge yesterday- the deadline date (for developing an innovative data interpretation or manuscript submission/ reviewing tool with prizes of 15-35K). Perhaps their deadlines are 12:01 a.m. Greenwich Mean Time of the date specified...;-)

Source: Susanna Richards
Editorial Administrative Assistant
Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Department of Microbiology and Immunology
A-5321 Medical Center North
1161 21st Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37232- 2363

Labels: , , , , ,

Monday, June 16, 2008

Free Webinar: Accessibility of Next Generation Web Applications: An Overview of Web 2.0

Thursday, June 19, 2 PM EASTERN (New York time)
Presenter: Jared Smith from WebAIM
Register at:

The term "Web 2.0" is being used to describe new methods of using the web, innovative technologies, and next generation web applications. AJAX, blogging, wikis, content aggregation, tagging, and mashups arejust a few components of "Web 2.0". Even if we have not reached a new version of the web, these new technologies and ways of using the web represent a significant change.

Despite the issues that Web 2.0 technologies may have on accessibility, the very nature of these applications can potentially result in much higher levels of accessibility for people with disabilities. This session will provide an overview of what Web 2.0 is, how it can impact users with disabilities for good and for bad, and some approaches and techniquesfor addressing accessibility.

Register for this free Webinar on Web 2.0

Carolyn Dudas
Web Developer/Information Specialist
Penn State Behrend
4205 College Drive
Erie, PA 16563-1201

Labels: , , , , ,

Friday, June 13, 2008

Web2.0 implications for doctors

There is an interesting blog post by Richard Smith at the BMJ entitled Get with Web 2.0 or become yesterday’s person focusing on generational, educational, cultural, linguistic, and psychological barriers to wider adoption.

He suggests that doctors are "too fond of a top down world—because they are usually at the top" and suggests that the social web means that the "top down world is crumbling".

Despite his advocacy, the difficulties I'm having in managing to register with the BMJ site to post a comment suggest that his assertion that "The machines we can fix. It’s the people—particularly old timers (that’s anybody over 40, I’m 56)—that are the problem" is not necessarily true yet.

Labels: ,

Monday, June 09, 2008

Jacob Weiss is so busy working on his awesome new Drupal site I bet he's not going to have time to let you all know about it. But it's official. It launched yesterday to critical acclaim.

Check it out:

CanConnect... Middle Tennessee's first ever online community for cancer survivorship.

Source: Anna Belle Leiserson
Web Coordinator
Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center

Labels: ,

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

How People Learn - Dr Betsy Weiner Presenting

Went to Dr. Weiner's presentation at Vanderbilt Nursing School today and it was WONDERFUL! Remarkable use of Second Life as a Web 2.0 teaching tool! It focused on Disaster Preparedness training, but was a subset of talking about various methods of how people learn (what domains).

Besides the How People Learn Powerpoint, there are two demonstrations I will do today in class: (online example of the use of How People Learn in the Online modules for Emergency Preparedness) (a virtual reality example of Emergency Preparedness using the Second Life format)

Labels: ,

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Medicine 2.0 Congress in Toronto, Sept. 2008

The Medicine 2.0 Congress will take place in Toronto, Canada on September 4-5th, 2008. This is an international conference, with the focus on Web 2.0 applications in health and medicine; it is organized and co-sponsored by the Journal of Medical Internet Research, the International Medical Informatics Association, the Centre for Global eHealth Innovation, CHIRAD, and a number of other sponsoring organizations.

The Call for Abstracts is now open for abstracts, speaker and panel proposals - go to and pre-register. The conference invites academic and international contributions, and also covers areas such as Science 2.0, Peer-Review 2.0, and social networking for consumers AND health professionals. See the topic list at the CALL FOR ABSTRACTS

Deadline for abstracts is May 2, 2008. Among possible topics to address are:
  • Building virtual communities and social networking applications for
  • health professionals, patients and consumers;
  • Collaborative biomedical research, academic / scholarly communication,
  • publishing and peer review;
  • Consumer empowerment, patient-physician relationship, and
  • sociotechnical issues;
  • Ethical & legal issues, confidentiality and privacy;
  • Personal health records and Patient portals;
  • Public (e-)health, population health technologies, surveillance;
  • Search, Collaborative Filtering and Recommender Technologies;
  • Semantic Web ("Web 3.0") applications;
  • The nature and dynamics of social networks in health;
  • Usability and human factors on the web;
  • Virtual (3D) environments, Second Life;
  • Web 2.0 approaches for clinical practice, clinical research, quality
  • monitoring;
  • Web2.0-based medical education and learning;
  • and much more.
Please feel free to disseminate this information; there is a button on the front page that allows you to quickly share via several social networking and other sites.

Labels: , , , ,

Friday, September 21, 2007

IMIA Web 2.0 Taskforce set up

IMIA, the International Medical Informatics Association ( has set up a Web 2.0 Exploratory Taskforce. It aims to bring together interested individuals from within and outside IMIA to explore the nature and potential of Web 2.0 applications, aiming at developing background materials and proposing specific lines of action for the IMIA Board and General Assembly.

Or in other words, we want to look at what Web 2.0 is (and beyond to think about 3.0), what it might offer IMIA and the wider health informatics community, how it might affect the future development of the discipline and health more widely, what tools we might use to support IMIA's activities as we develop our e-services - and anything else that seems relevant.

The Taskforce is being co-ordinated (in the first instance) by Peter Murray, IMIA Vice President for Working Groups and Special Interest Groups, and Lincoln A. Moura Jr., IMIA Treasurer. We welcome involvement from anyone with interest in what we are doing - and especially people with expertise in Web 2.0, in particular if they are from Europe and Asia-Pacific areas, as we have few Taskforce members from those areas at the moment. Email pjm.imia[at] with what you can contribute to the work.

We have set up a portal with information about the scope of the work, and that will collate information on and links to work as it develops. See

Labels: ,

Friday, May 04, 2007

JISC Web 2.0 - reflections

The final day, when we had much more interaction and actively-encouraged participation has lead to discussion of a whole host of interesting issues, including identity management, and the ethics of requiring students to use particular technologies. However, we probably needed to go through a lot of the earlier materials in the more structured manner.

It has been an interesting experience - hopefully some good ideas and recommendations can come out of it, and the Moodle fora will capture a lot of the ideas. Kudos to the organisers (Tom Franklin - and Mark van Harmelen (

If you want to look at the Moodle for asynchronous discussion, slides and audio recordings of presentations and Q&As at - you can self-register or use the guest login, (self) registration is required for contribution to the discussion.

Labels: , ,

JISC webinar - Friday

Friday - last day of the Web 2.0 webinar already. Today provides for a round-up of the week, discussion of issues arising in terms of Web 2.0 use by institutions, and individuals, and consideration of 'where from here', especially in terms of what JISC might be asked to do. Once again, I will try to update this post at intervals over the time of the 'live' session.

One suggestion raised is that JISC might fund studies into different models for provision of Web 2.0 tools (eg external to institutions, internal hosting, or different blends), including the benefits and drawbacks. There seem to be plenty of Web 2.0 tools around, so it seems debatable that JISC might have any role in developing tools.

Some people suggest that we are still at the beginning of the learning curve on use of Web 2.0 in education; others suggest there is little quantitative evidence, but that there is some emerging qualitative data, at least on the issues that are emerging as important. Where institutions are providing tools, there seems, at present, not a great deal of take-up, and individual enthusiasts seem to be driving what work there is. Implications for pedagogy are still being explored. Issues of how to assess in Web 2.0 - especially in respect of groupwork - seem to be an important set of issues.

Do we need new assessment models and methods? How do we evaluate whether learners feel they have progressed, rather than assessment from the teacher's viewpoint?? If the pedagogic models are going to change, then who determines the nature of assessment/evaluation will doubtless change. Is assessment practice holding up the development of new pedagogic models?

Labels: , ,

Thursday, May 03, 2007

JISC webinar - Thursday

The topic for the penultimate day of the Web 2.0 webinar is 'Policy and strategy-concerns, issues, and suggestions relating to high-level HEI policy and strategy'. We had a few technical hitches yesterday, so today I've logged in early to the presentation. While waiting for the session to start, I've been browsing the Moodle discussion fora - which seem to perfectly demonstrate the '1% rule' (,,1823959,00.html - 'It's an emerging rule of thumb that suggests that if you get a group of 100 people online then one will create content, 10 will "interact" with it (commenting or offering improvements) and the other 89 will just view it.') Although we have had up to 50 people 'participating' over the 3 days so far, we have few discussion posts in comparison.

An interesting survey is mentioned in the text-chat - on 'some real data on Web 2.0 use' - it is at >>> (University of Oxford).

The first speaker, David White, from TALL Technology-Assisted Lifelong Learning). His slides are at slideshare >>>. He talked about the 'edge of the institution' (eg Does the institution want to own or facilitate the ‘chat down the pub'?) and 'if everybody does their learning online, does e-learning become simply 'learning'? He suggests that Web 2.0 is changing the role of institutions' computer services, and that the future challenges will shift from the technological to the social, if these services offer e-learning and social spaces; their role might, he says, shift from provision to advice if students and staff are using services and applications outside the institution.

He asks whether it is a good thing for an academic to have a posting on Wikipedia, and presented some interesting results from the survey mentioned above.

People are listening actively, as we get a steady stream of input from the text-chat boxes (and instant reaction sometimes) - maybe the Moodle being not linked directly makes it a link too far for people to go to and use?

The second speaker is Chris Adie, from University of Edinburgh, looking at institutional policies on externally hosted Web 2.0 services. His materials are also at slideshare >>>. He touched on some interesting legislative issues affecting the link between the institution and the external service provider (eg Data Protection re: supplying student details to external bodies, Freedom of Information and Disability Discrimination Acts, sharing data outside the EU). University regulations (eg on assessment) might impact links with external providers in the case of online assessed materials (eg will the material still be available in 4-5 years time when the student finally graduates?). A whole set of interesting questions.

One issue raised was the assessment of student-created Wikipedia entries, for example, and how copies or the history might be tracked - one participant turned things on their head and asked whether one assessment criteria might be not whether the entry remains stable, but how much it is changed by others - interesting.

Technorati Tags: , ,

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

JISC webinar - Wednesday

The theme for today's session of the week-long webinar is 'Learning and Teaching', with Tom Franklin and Mark van Harmelen, who are the main organisers/facilitators of the whole set of activities, as the speakers.

Tom Franklin began by talking about the typical trajectories of new technologies, from them being new and not well understood, and people tending to use them to repeat old ways of working, but then through a phase of beginning to enhance old ways of working, through transforming work, and to them being mature, well understood, and a co-evolution of work and technology. He suggests Web 2.0 technologies in learning are still at an early stage where they are still not understood. He presented a slide comparing old learning to new ( and also exploring new forms of teaching; he says almost all teaching today is driven by the assessments (from teacher and student perspectives); whether this will change or not, he is a little sceptical.

In looking at how things might be done differently (and whether the new technologies can really allow us to do anything new), he looked at sharing of results/data from different groups/studies, and may lead to cross-disciplinary work; sharing resources between students (eg over several years), through course-based social bookmarking; collaborative work and co-design. He ended by presenting a dystopian view for discussion from last week's 'Observer' newspaper (>>>) in which 'in which people endlessly Google themselves and expertise counts for nothing; online communities gather merely to confirm their own prejudices; internet television purports to showcase amateur talent but is dominated by corporate marketing; newspapers are driven to the wall by online advertising and news sites edited at the whimsical click of a mouse; and knowledge of history and literature becomes smothered by an avalanche of blogs from self-obsessed teenagers.'

Mark explored some basic issues around what kinds of values we wish to promulgate in our learners; he supports the empowerment of learners, to work independently and in groups, who engage in lifelong learning. He discussed/promoted the ideas of Vygotsky (social constructivism) and Papert (constructionism), and in his work promotes working in teams, using critical incident analysis. He suggests that, if we are to 'grow' independent learners, we need to foster meta-cognitive skills, and need to find ways to develop groupwork assessment. He concludes (as an enthusiast for Web 2.0) that Web 2.0 on its own will not solve the problems, but may work as catalytic tools in conjunction with developing the new pedagogies.

Technorati Tags: , ,

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

JISC webinar - Tuesday

The second day of the JISC Web 2.0 webinar - today the topic is 'Content Sharing'. The two speakers are Brian Kelly (UKOLN at Bath) and Graham Atwell (Pontydysgu). I am going to try 'blogging live' during the presentations.

Brian's talk is titled 'Content creation: Web 2.0 is providing the solution'; his presentation material is available on the UKOLN website at >>> He began with the proposition that our students are using third party Web 2.0 services already (eg Facebook, GMail, etc), and are often a lot better than those provided by universities' IT services. Even though many Web 2.0 services are in 'perpetual beta' (as opposed to the 'frozen' services provided locally by institutions), he suggests that this is akin to education where we should all be continually improving, ie in 'perpetual beta'. His talk focused on a range of issues around in-house development of services and using external providers, links, etc.

Graham's talk was titled 'Content creation and open educational resources' (delivered from Bremen in Germany). Open educational resources (OER - coined by OECD) is about creation and provision of open source tools, software, content, standards etc. He suggests that the biggest challenge of Web 2.0 to institutions is the concept of openness (as most education is based on closed, restrictive paradigms). Dimensions of openness are easy discovery, re-use, learnability, and community (to support the resources). He suggests some OERs have been very successful (eg the MIT open resources), but there are also challenges, as many repositories are not widely used, or re-used.

Technorati Tags: , ,

Labels: , , ,

JISC Web 2.0 webinar

As this blog is about elearning as well as health informatics, a somewhat different tack from me for a change. All this week (April 30 - May 4), I am taking part in a webinar organised by JISC (, the UK higher education body that provides the JANET academic network and supports/promotes use of information and communications technologies in education.

The webinar is using a mix of live sessions (one hour lunchtime sessions with speakers and live Q& A sessions) and Moodle-based discussion fora (yes, they use 'fora' , not 'forums'). The live sessions use Instant Presenter (

I will try and post a daily overview of the discussions and issues arising - the one for yesterday will be late.

Technorati Tags: , ,

Labels: , ,