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The final thing I want to share from the inaugural British Columbia Forum of the Canadian Coalition for Global Health Research was a presentation from the workshop day of the conference. The focus of this day was on transferring information (rather than just resources) in an effort to improve Global Health. The very first session caught my imagination. It was on a project called NextGenU by Dr. Kate Tairyan.
NextGenU is a free, open university created online to address the need of learners around the world. It’s courses are offered free of charge to anyone. The content creators for NextGenU strive to create the highest quality material, and have partnered with established professional and educational organizations and institutions to provide accreditation and oversight for their course offerings.
For example, the very first course offered on NextGenU is a basic course in Emergency Medicine, suitable for guiding a medical student’s clerkship or practicum in the specialty area. The course content is in accordance with the curriculum guidelines provided for medical student education by the Society of Academic Emergency Medicine. It is fully resourced with online textbooks/resources, an interactive chat room with automatic translation, and a complete syllabus that I believe would be the envy of any medical school (it certainly is just as good as the syllabus from my school).
More than the online resources, there is a mandatory mentor/preceptor role both face to face and online that recognized that the best education models of the future will take the best of both approaches to learning, the independent but socially driven online model ; as well as the face to face, traditional mentorship model.
This is a bold new approach, and a real opportunity to provide real education across a variety of settings, environments, and situations…a way to breaking out of the tower, to “flip” education around and make it about helping meet students where they are serving, and reinforce not just the acquisition of knowledge essential to the practice of medicine, but also the spirit of service needed to create outstanding physicians in the truest sense of the word.
Although I already have a syllabus for my Emergency Medicine rotations coming up in August of this year (a rotation that is critically important to me, as I hope to match later this year in Emergency Medicine) I am enrolled in the NextGenU Emergency Medicine Clerkship and will be completing it concurrently with my rotation. It will be a little bit of extra work, but I know it will be worth it. I hope some of my peers can join me.
My efforts in #hcsm chat & #meded chat on Twitter or my monitoring of Twitter Journal Club, even though they take time from traditional studies, have paid off for me in knowledge and professional contacts. Even more so, my work with Health Tap University (an amazing Med2.0 effort) have benefitted me greatly in ways that I never anticipated.
However, I do not have any illusions that NextGenU is the final word just yet in “Medical Education 2.0” even though it is an amazing effort. Medical students need to reach out and get engaged with the resources available out there in a variety of settings, whether being involved in more traditional ways through their student organizations or by being engaged through social media. The real power of social media for the student is that it lets our voice be heard all the way from our classrooms and clerkships all the way into the Dean’s office. Let’s use that voice.