Two workshops (held on 15 May and 10 September 2008) provided opportunities for staff, curriculum and educational developers in medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine and health professions to meet together as part of an interprofessional Special Interest Group (SIG).The workshops were led by the authors and Nigel Purcell (MEDEV Subject Centre), Reg Dennick (University of Nottingham), John Spencer (Newcastle University) and Mark Gamble (University of Bedfordshire).
The SIG was established in June 2006 and four meetings have been held to date. SIG activities incorporate the Resource Archive for Teacher Trainers (RAFTT) project, led by Nigel Purcell, and a JISC-funded mini-project led by Clare Morris and Judy McKimm Supporting a community of MEDEV professional developers. These activities aim to provide members with opportunities for networking; sharing up-to-date information and expertise and developing and exchanging ideas; a safe place for discussion and debate; ‘making a difference’; research and scholarship and personal development.
This one-day workshop was held at the University of Bedfordshire ‘Bridges’ CETL. The main aim was to develop the on-line site to support the community of practice which enables SIG members to access and share a range of educational resources, and promotes communication and collaboration. The workshop included interactive, creative, small and large group activities, discussions, hands-on on-line learning and development, interspersed with presentations and demonstrations as triggers for activities and dialogue. Topics included leadership, academic writing and development for skills teaching, framed around a collaborative leadership approach aimed at sharing ideas, challenges and educational practice.
Participants engaged in practical activities which facilitated leadership and personal development through engagement with the on-line environment. The CETL Cspace (Creative space) provided rich opportunities to work collaboratively and individually, both face to face (e.g. writing on the walls, finding postcards to capture metaphors of leadership) and on-line (through discussion boards, blogs, journal club pages and wikis). This allowed a real time ‘capturing’ of experiences of learning on-line and an exploration of the possible functionality of the online space to support and sustain this emerging community of practice.
Michael Fullan’s model of ‘leading in a culture of change’ (2001, p4) provided the leadership development framework. Fullan suggests that if leaders can combine moral purpose; understanding change; relationship building; knowledge creation and sharing and coherencemaking within an approach that embodies enthusiasm, energy and hope, they will gain commitment of members to change. The results are that ‘more good things happen and less bad things happen’. The workshop provided the opportunity to use and apply the Fullan model to visioning change; become familiar with the on-line tools and contribute to further development of the SIG.
RELATIONSHIP BUILDING -
KNOWLEDGE CREATION AND SHARING
This session focussed on faculty development for skills teaching. Participants were invited to engage as ‘students’ in the practical activity of making origami shirts, then critique learning theory and a model of practical skills teaching from their own educational experience.
The SIG is exploring how to establish an on-line collaborative writing forum to support members in writing and publishing. Challenges, pitfalls and opportunities for those wishing to publish in academic peer-reviewed journals, books and on-line publications were discussed. The SIG will use wikis and on-line discussions to support the sharing of ‘works in progress’, and will explore ways of writing collaboratively and more creatively to generate outputs involving groups of SIG members.
A half-day pre-conference workshop was held at the ASME national conference at Leicester on 10 September 2008. The workshop was primarily for new SIG members, offering an opportunity to showcase some of MEDEV’s and the SIG’s activities as well as introduce participants to some educational and leadership theory and practice. Three specific activities were included:
Evaluations were very positive. Participants were enthusiastic about developing face to face and on-line communities, enjoyed opportunities to explore collaborative Web 2.0 tools in a supported environment and saw potential for professional development. New participants enjoyed hearing about activities and welcomed the opportunity to engage in SIG activities.
The SIG offers developmental, networking and collaborative opportunities and a source of information, sharing and generating ideas and support. It offers opportunities for action research, generation of new knowledge, scholarship and raising the profile of education. The SIG welcomes new members to attend workshops and/or activities of the on-line community.
Future meetings will be held in various locations with a view to enabling members to explore different educational and learning environments and participate in masterclasses on topical issues for staff and educational developers. The next SIG workshop will be held on 10 February 2009.
For more information: email@example.com