Education/Newsletter/September 2016/Wikipedia as a Teaching and Learning Tool in Medical Education at IAMSE Medical Education Conference

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Wikipedia as a Teaching and Learning Tool in Medical Education at IAMSE Medical Education Conference

By Shani Evenstein (WM-IL; Wiki Education Collaborative)

Presenting the Wiki-Med Course at the 20th IAMSE conference for medical educators.jpg

Snippet: Wikipedia was presented as a teaching and learning tool in medical education at the IAMSE Medical Education Conference.

Earlier this year I did something I don't often do -- I submitted a proposal to give an "oral presentation" at a professional medical education conference. I've been working in medical education for the past 6 years, mainly on curriculum development and e-learning strategies at the American Medical Program at Sackler School of Medicine, Tel Aviv University (TAU). Our main goal throughout these years has been adjusting the way we teach medicine in the 21st century, focusing on creating active learning sessions and engaging students in an era where they have Wikipedia at the tips of their fingers. Despite the track record of practical experience we've had, somehow I've never considered presenting in a dedicated conference. But this year, reading about the 20th International Association of Medical Science Educators (IAMSE) conference, I decided to try come up with a worthy submission. It's important to note that the IAMSE is one of the biggest and most respected conferences in the realm of medical education. It is similar to our Wikimania, in that it too has participants from all over the world, and is hosted each time in a different place -- this year it was to take place in Leiden, the Netherlands, during June 2016.

What could I possibly talk about that would be interesting and innovative enough for professional medical educators from around the world..? You guessed it -- Wikipedia! My proposal was called "Wikipedia as a Teaching & Learning Tool in Medical Education," and it focused on a for-credit elective course I designed and lead at the Israeli Medical Program at TAU, called Wiki-Med. I submitted and didn't think anything would come out of this, but on March I was informed that my submission has been accepted! Oh joy. Now, all I had to do was find funding. Thankfully, for exactly such occasions, they've invented the Travel & Participation Support (TPS) grants! I applied and was thrilled to learn that my proposal was accepted. June soon arrived and there I was in Leiden, a beautiful picturesque city, about 30 minutes from Amsterdam.

Ms. Willy, museum guide and weaver, demonstrates weaving with a historic loom at a museum in Leiden.

Around 200 medical educators, clinicians and scientists attended the conference. Sessions were diverse and touched on a variety of topics from curriculum development to assessment, evaluation and, of course, innovations in medical education. There was something soothing about meeting people from around the globe and learning how they cope with the same day-to-day challenges that you have, getting their perspectives and getting inspired to try new things. My oral presentation was scheduled for the second day of the conference, Sunday June 5, which had 8 "oral presentation" tracks running simultaneously. With 200 participants and 8 sessions, oral presentations were designed to be intimate gatherings, attracting only those participants really interested in your ideas. I was honored to be part of the "Technology and Innovation" track and was supposed to give a 10-minute presentation with 5 minutes for questions. As I was last in the session and there was some extra time, I ended up talking for about 20 minutes and answering questions for 10 more minutes. About 40 participants attended, most of which remained in the room when I finished to say thank you, that it was inspiring and to ask further questions. One educator said she can't wait to try it out at her school. We exchanged emails so I can support her from afar or connect her with the [wikiedu.org Wiki Education Foundation], as she is based in the U.S. For those who might be interested in the slides, they are quite similar to the presentation I gave during the WikiProject Medicine pre-conference day at Wikimania 2016.

One useful connection I made was with an anatomy instructor from the Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy at the University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City. In one of the sessions he facilitated, he talked about fun, short, instructional anatomy videos that he has created for his students and that he posts to YouTube. I immediately asked him what license he is using and if he would agree to release his videos under a CC-BY license (which YouTube offers as an option) instead of the default YouTube license. I explained that if he does that, we will be able to upload his videos to Wikimedia Commons, and then have a mini-project as part of WikiProject Medicine, to incorporate his videos into wiki articles in various ways. He loved the idea and I've already connected him with Doc James, so he has a relevant U.S. contact. He now needs to check each video to make sure there are no copyrights violations (like slides or charts from other books that appear in the videos), and will then release the videos that he can. If all goes well, we will have some cool new videos to add as a resource to some articles in multiple languages. Promise to update you as soon as l follow up with him in the coming month.

Being in Leiden also allowed me to physically meet with fellow Wikipedians from the area, both GLAMers and volunteers of the Wikipedia Education Program in the Netherlands. These meetings helped strengthen personal connections, and as a Collab member, helped gain better understanding of the Wikipedia Education Program in the Netherlands, which was not well documented at that point. Since then, we've had Romaine joining the collab, and doing awesome work to grow the education program and its documentation locally. Finally, visiting some museums in Leiden with some local GLAMers, we ended up at the weaving museum in Leiden. One of the unexpected outcomes of this trip is a video documenting weaving with an antique loom taken at the museum, which has been uploaded to Commons and since then added to wiki articles in various languages. You're welcome to add it to your languages as well. We think it's awesome, and Ms. Willy, the lady in the video, was quite excited to find herself featured in Wikipedia. :)

To sum up, if you too have something special you'd like to present in a professional conference and are looking for funding, don't hesitate to submit a TPS grant request. Like me, you might find yourself with an unforgettable experience in new places you'd never imagined you'll be.

Read more about the Wikipedia Education Program in Israel here.