sábado, 26 de fevereiro de 2011

Ensino Baseado em Problemas

Using Problem Based Learning in Training Health Professionals: Should it Suit the Individual’s Learning Style?
Full Text(PDF, 248KB)  PP.25-32  DOI: 10.4236/ce.2010.11005

Tsameret Ricon, Sara Rosenblum, Naomi Schreuer

Creative Education,  Vol.1 No.1, June 2010

Context: Recently, problem-based learning (PBL) methods have been incorporated into occupational therapy (OT) curricula as in healthcare curricula worldwide. Yet, most studies examining the effectiveness of these methods have not taken into account the individuals’ learning style and occupational functioning, despite of their importance. Objective: Our research examined the question of whether specific learning styles correlate with a higher self-evaluation by occupational therapy students of their occupational functioning (learning, studying) during a new course incorporating PBL method and with greater course satisfaction. Methods: 40 female students took part in the study. The various learning demands in the new PBL course are described. We assessed students’ learning styles using Felder’s Index of Learning Styles, while Self-Assessments of Occupational Functioning (SAOF) provided learning outcome data. We used both a modified 23-item SAOF and a novel 26-item adapted version, to examine the occupational functioning required of healthcare practitioners. Course satisfaction was assessed accordingly. Results: Occupational therapy students adopt all learning styles (sensing, intuitive, visual, verbal, active, reflective, sequential, and global) equally. Nevertheless, two-tailed Pearson’s tests revealed that a sensing (i.e. practical, facts-oriented) learning style most strongly correlates with greater assessed occupational functioning in the areas of habituation and performance, e.g. time organization, routine flexibility, and communication (r = 0.33, p < 0.05). An intuitive learning style correlates with a significant ability to identify problems (r = 0.35, p < 0.05) and set goals (r = 0.36, p < 0.05), and global learning style yielded greater course satisfaction (r = 0.56, p < 0.05). Conclusions: Students having sensing and intuitive learning styles gain most from the use of PBL method. Thus, the apparently contradictory findings of earlier research regarding the efficacy of PBL methods may have arisen from differences in the learning styles of the populations surveyed. Since problem- based and traditional teaching methods appear to suit different learning styles and to better impart different skill sets, they should be regarded as complementary.

domingo, 20 de fevereiro de 2011

Recursos multimidia

Effectively incorporating selected multimedia content into medical publications

Alexander Ziegler1 , Daniel Mietchen2 , Cornelius Faber3 , Wolfram von Hausen4 , Christoph Schöbel5 , Markus Sellerer6 and Andreas Ziegler1
Institut für Immungenetik, Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Freie Universität Berlin, Berlin, Germany
Structural Brain Mapping Group, Klinik für Psychiatrie und Psychotherapie, Universitätsklinikum Jena, Jena, Germany
Institut für Klinische Radiologie, Universitätsklinikum Münster, Münster, Germany
Abteilung für Innere Medizin, Bundeswehrkrankenhaus Berlin, Berlin, Germany
Interdisziplinäres Schlafmedizinisches Zentrum, Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Berlin, Germany
3D-Shape GmbH, Erlangen, Germany

BMC Medicine 2011, 9:17doi:10.1186/1741-7015-9-17
The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at: http://www.biomedcentral.com/1741-7015/9/17
Received: 18 October 2010
Accepted: 17 February 2011
Published: 17 February 2011
© 2011 Ziegler et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Until fairly recently, medical publications have been handicapped by being restricted to non-electronic formats, effectively preventing the dissemination of complex audiovisual and three-dimensional data. However, authors and readers could significantly profit from advances in electronic publishing that permit the inclusion of multimedia content directly into an article. For the first time, the de facto gold standard for scientific publishing, the portable document format (PDF), is used here as a platform to embed a video and an audio sequence of patient data into a publication. Fully interactive three-dimensional models of a face and a schematic representation of a human brain are also part of this publication. We discuss the potential of this approach and its impact on the communication of scientific medical data, particularly with regard to electronic and open access publications. Finally, we emphasise how medical teaching can benefit from this new tool and comment on the future of medical publishing.

Editorial note

During proofing and production of this article, there was significant debate about whether the multimedia files should be included as figures or additional files. We have taken the view that readers and indexers currently expect figures to be 2D graphical images suitable for printing, which is not the case with these files. The multimedia files are embedded into the PDF version of the article, and downloadable from links in the HTML version of the article. This article may act as a catalyst for Publishers to agree on the best way to present multimedia content.


Despite substantial improvements since the early attempts of anatomists during the Renaissance, medical illustrations have always been handicapped by being restricted to two dimensions (2D). Comparable, but even more severe limitations have prevented the distribution of moving images as well as sounds through medical publications. A common solution to communicate complex multimedia data currently relies on the creation of supplemental files that are available for download either through the publisher's or the author's website. However, this results in the unattractive separation of the actual publication from supporting multimedia data, which may contain crucial information (see [1] for an example). As electronic publishing gains momentum, it seems logical to fully exploit its potential by integrating multimedia and text files into a single article.
While online publishing formats are gaining popularity, there can be no doubt that the current standard in electronic publishing is the portable document format (PDF). Since June 2008, this file type provides also the possibility to integrate three-dimensional (3D), video, and audio content together with the text into a single file. Strangely, the potential of this technique does not seem to have been recognised so far in the field of medical publishing, while astronomers [2], chemists [3], structural biologists [4,5], as well as zoologists [6,7] have already exploited the many opportunities offered by this approach. Using examples from various medical disciplines, we demonstrate how the readers of medical publications can profit from embedded multimedia content. We also point out some of the opportunities that are now available for medical publishing in general.

Interactive 3D imagery embedded into publications

To highlight the improvements that are attainable, we present here two fully interactive 3D models. The model of a face that is integrated into this article (Additional file 1) illustrates that the ability to freely manipulate a 3D structure, for example by zooming in on particular characteristics, offers interesting opportunities for a range of medical disciplines, since, for example, the shape of individual anatomical features of the skin could be apprehended by the reader in a truly interactive fashion. In contrast, the semischematic, surface-rendered 3D model of a human brain that is based on a magnetic resonance imaging dataset (Additional file 2) is intended to serve as an example of a greatly simplified anatomical representation of a human organ in 3D. In addition to colour coding, individual components have been labelled using so-called 3D mark-ups.

Additional file 1. Portable document format (PDF)-embedded, interactive three-dimensional (3D) model of a face. The 3D model was generated using an optical face scanner (FaceSCAN3D, 3D-Shape GmbH, Erlangen, Germany). This system measures the 3D shape of an object in less than a second using projected light patterns and a set of cameras. Applications of this methodology may include, for example, before and after surgery comparisons and the documentation of dermatological or orthopaedic patient characteristics. Scanning was performed on a healthy male volunteer. Activation of the embedded multimedia content requires the use of a PDF reader compatible with version 1.7 Extension Level 3 (for example Adobe Reader 9). Use the '+/- zoom' or 'toggle full-screen' options in order to maximize window size.
Format: PDF Size: 3.3MB Download file
This file can be viewed with: Adobe Acrobat ReaderOpen Data

Additional file 2. Portable document format (PDF)-embedded, interactive three-dimensional (3D) model of a human brain. This 3D model is based on a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) dataset from a healthy female volunteer which was acquired with 500 μm isotropic resolution using a 3D protocol (3DT1TFE) on a Philips Achieva 3 T scanner (Philips Healthcare, Eindhoven, The Netherlands). Segmentation and modelling were accomplished using automated brain extraction with the FMRIB software library (FSL) brain extraction tool (BET) [15], automated segmentation of the cortical grey matter based on the hidden Markov random field-expectation maximisation (HMRF-EM) framework by means of FSL FMRIB automated segmentation tool (FAST) [16], and manual segmentation of the remaining structures using Amira 5.2 (Visage Imaging GmbH, Berlin, Germany). Note the pronounced differences in surface mesh quality between the 2D cover image and the interactive model, which are a consequence of the need to reduce the final file size. FMRIB = The Oxford Centre for Functional MRI of the Brain. Activation of the embedded multimedia content requires the use of a PDF reader compatible with version 1.7 Extension Level 3 (for example Adobe Reader 9). Use the '+/- zoom' or 'toggle full-screen' options in order to maximize window size.
Format: PDF Size: 10.5MB Download file
This file can be viewed with: Adobe Acrobat ReaderOpen Data
Interactive 3D imagery of human organs such as, for example, the brain is also available through the web (Table 1). However, most of the freely accessible brain models can be viewed only while the user is online, or require the installation of specialised software. In addition, certainly the greatest disadvantage of many of the models on offer is that they do not permit the viewer to 'take possession' of the visualisations and to disseminate them in any way desired.
Table 1. Websites offering interactive models of the human brain
In contrast, the advantages of the approach implemented here include (i) the full integration of the entire 3D model into the final publication, (ii) an intuitive, interactive form of access to the embedded model online as well as offline, (iii) the opportunity to disseminate the embedded model as desired, and (iv) the possibility to generate views and representations not predetermined by the author(s) of the manuscript, as would be the case, for example, in a video.

Audiovisual content embedded into publications

The strength of videos, however, rests in their ability to convey time-dependent changes within an image, which is exemplified by a short video sequence embedded into this article (Additional file 3). Clearly, the possibility to integrate videos is likely to find a wide range of applications in medical publishing. As we show here, this is particularly evident in cardiology. Audio sequences can be integrated into a PDF as well. As an example, we present a striking case of sleep apnoea (Additional file 4). As in the case of videos, the integration of audio files into a publication might be of considerable interest for practitioners in several medical fields. For instance, documenting phenotypic variations in genetic disorders, such as in different variants of cri du chat syndrome [8], provides an example for the application of this technique. Readers not familiar with the use of PDF-embedded multimedia content will find a brief explanation towards the end of this article.
Additional file 3. Portable document format (PDF)-embedded video sequence of a human heart. This 10 s long video sequence of the beating heart of a healthy male volunteer was obtained using a Philips iE33 xMATRIX echocardiography ultrasound system with colour flow and pulsed wave/continuous wave Doppler (Philips Healthcare, Eindhoven, The Netherlands). Activation of the embedded multimedia content requires the use of a PDF reader compatible with version 1.7 Extension Level 3 (for example Adobe Reader 9). Use the '+/- zoom' or 'toggle full-screen' options in order to maximize window size.
Format: PDF Size: 1.1MB Download file
This file can be viewed with: Adobe Acrobat ReaderOpen Data

Additional file 4. Portable document format (PDF)-embedded audio sequence of a male patient suffering from severe sleep apnoea. This audio sequence, with a duration of 47 s, begins with strong rhythmic snoring, followed by a long (32 s) period of sleep apnoea, before snoring is finally resumed (the slightly audible background noise is due to a TV set). Activation of the embedded multimedia content requires the use of a PDF reader compatible with version 1.7 Extension Level 3 (for example Adobe Reader 9).
Format: PDF Size: 2MB Download file
This file can be viewed with: Adobe Acrobat ReaderOpen Data

Impact on medical publishing

The opportunities offered by embedding multimedia files have a number of foreseeable implications for publications that communicate medical data. From a scientific point of view, the greatest asset is presumably that the transparency of the presented data can be expected to increase, while the need for explanatory supplemental material will largely become obsolete. In recognising these opportunities, the Journal of Neuroscience has recently decided to ban supplemental material altogether [9]. Instead, authors are encouraged to 'publish articles with embedded movies or three-dimensional models, both online and in downloadable PDFs'. PDF files with embedded multimedia content are available as a single download and may be viewed online as well as offline at the reader's discretion. As stressed by the editor of the Journal of Neuroscience, this new policy 'eliminates the only essential role of supplemental material' and is meant to strengthen the desirable concept of an article as 'a complete, self-contained scientific report' [9].
We regard it also as important to point out that articles with embedded information are more likely to be written such that their multimedia content will be referred to as an integral part of the text (see, for example, [2-7]). Clearly, the implementation of such a reader-friendly approach to disseminating multimedia content will aid the transition from paper-based to pure electronic publishing. Having already stressed that publishers should adjust to publications with integrated multimedia content [10], we are confident that the acceptance of this novel format will be growing, as authors and publishing houses alike begin to realise its potential (see [5] for a number of examples). In our eyes, the universal acceptance of the PDF for the publication of scientific data guarantees a considerable life expectancy of this file format. We are confident that future software developments will take the existence of millions of PDF-based publications into account, providing future generations with the necessary backwards software compatibility.
Obviously, the form of communicating scientific results proposed by us is especially suited for electronic publishing, and in particular for those journals with an open access policy. In line with the entire philosophy behind the latter, all embedded multimedia content will become freely accessible over the web, resulting in the widespread dissemination of medical data such as those depicted here. In this scenario, limitations imposed by file size will no longer be an issue, since scientists can send each other a direct link to the article download site without the need to send individual papers by email.
The examples that we provide suggest that multiple medical disciplines will profit from the adoption of PDF-integrated 3D models or audiovisual content. However, a PDF-based scientific article must still be seen as a means to communicate scientific results in a reprocessed form, as opposed to the deposition of raw data in a database that permits a more comprehensive exploitation of this information, but requires also an advanced knowledge of computation or visualisation software tools [11].

Didactic aspects

We would specifically like to point out the many opportunities that PDF embedding of multimedia files offers for the teaching of students. This pertains both to electronic textbooks as well as to lectures and seminars. In the case of interactive 3D imagery, the possibility to emphasise particular structures by labelling or colour coding is certainly an important feature (Additional file 2). In addition, a 3D model can be approached in two ways, either interactively (the user is always free to manipulate the object) or via a 'tour' (the author predetermines certain particularly instructive views of the object). The model tree in Additional file 2 provides an example for such a 'tour'. In addition to publications, PDF-embedded multimedia content is particularly well suited for presentations such as university teaching or conference talks.

Medical publishing: quo vadis?

The current popularity of the PDF file format indicates that the option to embed multimedia content will persist for a considerable period. Clearly, the approach outlined in this article is relatively simple, but can greatly enhance the comprehension of medical publications, in particular those appearing in journals with purely electronic dissemination pathways. We expect that interdisciplinary research will also be facilitated by providing a universal platform for the exchange of scientific data and didactic material. However, precisely how technical developments in computation, visualisation, and archiving will influence medical publishing, both in offline and, increasingly, in online formats, is more difficult to foresee. For example, the recent advent of handheld devices that provide constant access to the internet as well as the availability of enhanced scientific publications [12,13] could significantly affect the way in which published medical data are apprehended in the future.

Embedding multimedia content into PDF documents: a quick guide

Direct placement of multimedia content into a PDF file (Table 2 provides a list of supported file formats) can be accomplished using the commercially available Adobe Acrobat software (Adobe Systems, Mountain View, CA, USA) from version 9 onwards, as well as the freely available LaTeX package movie15 (available at http://www.ctan.org/tex-archive/macros/latex/contrib/movie15/ webcite). In the Adobe Acrobat software, multimedia files can be converted into a PDF using the 'multimedia tool' buttons. Using the 'selection' tool, PDF-embedded multimedia content can be extracted and copied into another PDF using conventional copy and paste keyboard combinations. The sizes of the individual multimedia files embedded into this article are 3.3 MB for the face (Additional file 1), 10.5 MB for the human brain (Additional file 2), 1.1 MB for the video (Additional file 3), and 2 MB for the audio sequence (Additional file 4).
Table 2. List of file formats that can be used in direct placement into portable document format (PDF) documents using Adobe Acrobat versions 9 and X
Viewing of PDF-embedded multimedia content requires the use of the freely available Adobe Reader version 9 (or onwards) on Windows, Macintosh, or Linux systems. Activation of the embedded multimedia file can be achieved by 'left clicking' anywhere on the additional file ('Click for 3D/Audio/Video').
With regard to embedded 3D models, their performance depends largely on the properties of the reader's computer system, in particular its graphics card capability and a sufficient availability of RAM. In order to interactively manipulate the embedded 3D elements (zoom, drag, toggle, and so on), it is necessary to use the mouse button(s). The toolbar (present in the top-left corner of the multimedia window that is seen after activation of the embedded 3D model) can be employed to change background colour as well as lighting. A model tree can be activated by 'left clicking' onto the respective icon to the right of the 'Views' drop-down menu. This model tree permits an access to individual substructures of the model and to switch their visibility as well as the transparency on or off. A 'tour' can be activated by clicking on the green arrows in the centre of the opened model tree menu. The interactive multimedia session can be terminated by 'right clicking' anywhere on the model and choosing 'Disable 3D'. A comprehensive description on how to create PDF-embedded 3D models can be found in [5,6], whereas [14] provides a more detailed explanation on how to manipulate interactive imagery.

Competing interests

AlZ, DM, CF, WvH, CS, and AnZ declare that they have no competing interests. MS is an employee at 3D-Shape GmbH (Erlangen, Germany).

Authors' contributions

AlZ and AnZ designed the study. AlZ and DM carried out automated and manual segmentation as well as PDF embedding. CF performed brain MRI. WvH carried out the ultrasound investigation. CS carried out audio and video recording. MS performed face scanning and PDF embedding. AlZ, DM, and AnZ prepared a first draft of the manuscript and all authors contributed to its writing and approved the final version.


We are grateful to Thomas Picht (Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Germany) for valuable discussion of neuroanatomical features. Critical comments by Jacopo Annese (University of California, San Diego, CA, USA) and Sameer Antani (National Library of Medicine, Bethesda, MD, USA) have helped to improve the manuscript. We additionally would like to thank Barbara Uchanska-Ziegler (Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Germany) for her comments on the manuscript. Written consent for publication was obtained from all patients and volunteers. This work was supported by the VolkswagenStiftung (I/79 989).


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Pre-publication history

The pre-publication history for this paper can be accessed here:

quinta-feira, 17 de fevereiro de 2011

Critical Thinking

Our Conception of Critical Thinking...

Linda Elder, September, 2007

There are many ways to articulate the concept of critical thinking.  Yet every substantive conception of critical thinking must contain certain core elements.  Consider the following brief conceptualizations...
getting started with critical thinking
"Critical thinking is the intellectually disciplined process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and/or evaluating information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication, as a guide to belief and action. In its exemplary form, it is based on universal intellectual values that transcend subject matter divisions: clarity, accuracy, precision, consistency, relevance, sound evidence, good reasons, depth, breadth, and fairness..."
A statement by Michael Scriven & Richard Paul
{presented at the 8th Annual International Conference on Critical Thinking and Education Reform, Summer 1987}.

"Critical thinking is self-guided, self-disciplined thinking which attempts to reason at the highest level of quality in a fair-minded way. People who think critically consistently attempt to live rationally, reasonably and empathically. They are keenly aware of the inherently flawed nature of human thinking when left unchecked. They strive to diminish the power of their egocentric and sociocentric tendencies. They use the intellectual tools that critical thinking offers – concepts and principles that enable them to analyze, assess, and improve thinking. They work diligently to develop the intellectual virtues of intellectual integrity, intellectual humility, intellectual civility, intellectual empathy, intellectual sense of justice and confidence in reason. They realize that no matter how skilled they are as thinkers, they can always improve their reasoning abilities and they will at times fall prey to mistakes in reasoning, human irrationality, prejudices, biases, distortions, uncritically accepted social rules and taboos, self-interest, and vested interest. They strive to improve the world in whatever ways they can and contribute to a more rational, civilized society. At the same time, they recognize the complexities often inherent in doing so. They strive never to think simplistically about complicated issues and always to consider the rights and needs of relevant others. They recognize the complexities in developing as thinkers, and commit themselves to life-long practice toward self-improvement. They embody the Socratic principle: The unexamined life is not worth living, because they realize that many unexamined lives together result in an uncritical, unjust, dangerous world."

Fonte: The Critical Thinking Community

sexta-feira, 11 de fevereiro de 2011

Carreira Universitária

Professor universitário de instituição pública tem mais titulação e se dedica mais tempo que docente de rede particular

Ana Okada -  UOL Educação
No ensino superior público, 75% dos docentes são doutores ou mestres; no particular, esse percentual chega a 55%. Os dados foram divulgados no Censo da Educação Superior de 2009, divulgados nesta quinta-feira (13). O país registra um total de 307.815 docentes, sendo 340.817 em exercício e 18.272 afastados.

(Ver figura com perfis de professores e alunos do ensino superior em 

http://educacao.uol.com.br/ultnot/2011/01/14/ensino-superior-publico-tem-mais-professores-mestres-ou-doutores.jhtm )

Dentre os professores de universidades, faculdades, centros universitários e institutos federais a titulação está distribuída da seguinte forma:

Doutores: públicas (48%); particulares (14%);

Mestres: públicas (27%); particulares (41%);
Especialistas: públicas (14%); particulares (38%);
Graduados: públicas (11%); particulares (7%).

De 2008 para 2009, a quantidade de funções docentes cresceu 6%; a maior demanda por professores universitários foi a de doutores (16%). O professor padrão das instituições públicas é homem, tem 44 anos, é brasileiro, doutor e trabalha em regime integral. Já o docente de faculdade particular é mais jovem, com 34 anos, também homem e brasileiro, é mestre e trabalha em regime horista.

Regime de trabalho

Nas públicas, a maioria dos professores trabalham em tempo integral (78,9%); já nas particulares, a maioria é horista (53%) e só 21,5% está em regime integral. De acordo com a LDB (Lei de Diretrizes e Bases), do MEC (Ministério da Educação), é aconselhável que pelo menos um terço do corpo docente trabalha em tempo integral.

A legislação também prevê que pelo menos um terço dos docentes seja mestre ou doutor; os dois tipos de instituições contemplam essa diretriz.

Tecnologias de Informação & Saúde Pública

The potential of internet-based technologies for sharing data of public health importance

Greg Fegan a, Michael Moulsdale a & Jim Todd b

a. Kenya Medical Research Institute, Centre for Geographic Medicine Research (Coast), PO Box 230, Kilifi, 80108, Kenya.
b. National Institute of Medical Research, Tazama Project, Mwanza, United Republic of Tanzania.

Correspondence to Greg Fegan (e-mail: gfegan@kilifi.kemri-wellcome.org).

Bulletin of the World Health Organization 2011;89:82-82. 
doi: 10.2471/BLT.11.085910

As professionals in data processing, analysis and information technology, we read with interest the Bulletin’s coverage of the barriers to data sharing in public health.1 We contend that there are many existing solutions for low-cost, high-quality data collection, management and analysis. Many of these systems are built on open-source technologies and thus are more amenable to receiving input for their design and operation from information technologists and researchers in low-income countries. The information technology gap between rich and poor countries may not be as large as some may think. For example, a recent map of Facebook “friend” linkages shows areas of high internet connectivity in low-income countries, with specific interest to us being the connection into Rwanda from Mombasa, Kenya.2
In our institutions, after some consideration,3 we adopted a web-based, open source clinical trials package called OpenClinica (Akaza Research, Waltham, MA, United States of America) for a large (n > 3000) multi-site trial (more information available at: http://www.feast-trial.org). For observational epidemiological and clinical studies that rely on, or are derived from, surveillance systems there are several free, easy-to-install systems such as RedCap,4 OpenMRS5 and OpenXdata. Indeed, there are novel technologies that have come from low-income countries that are now in use in high-income countries, e.g. software developer Ushahidi.6 As Tom Smith of the Swiss Tropical Institute said at the Pan-African Malaria Conference in 2009 when introducing a presentation on a mobile phone-based system for malaria surveillance in Zanzibar, United Republic of Tanzania: “Africa is in the vanguard in the use of such technology.” Indeed the Kenyan mobile phone-based money transfer system, M-Pesa, is highly regarded and has spread very quickly.7 Given the ubiquity of mobile phones, the use of developing technologies, such as lens-free microscopy,8 are likely to have major impacts soon on disease surveillance in low-income countries.
With such technologies comes the need for a tool to effectively analyse and disseminate the data generated. One such tool is the open-source software package, simply named R, arguably9 the most rapidly evolving and powerful data analytical engine with which the major statistics software packages can integrate. A most useful input from the World Health Organization and the Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases has been sponsorship of the online R course at Thailands' Prince of Songkla University and publication of a free book. R’s potential for data storage, use and analysis is well illustrated by Zack Almquist10 who has created a freely available set of tools that interrogates data from the year 2000 census in the United States of America.
Pisani & AbouZahr discuss how collaboration allows researchers to stand on the shoulders of giants.1 We think this R package does just that. The field of genetics, which they cite as one that public health and epidemiological researchers should emulate, has been greatly assisted by R through the BioConductor project. Robert Gentleman, who developed R with Ross Ihaka,11 is a notable contributor to this project.12
With powerful data programmes freely available, data can be shared more widely, but this also depends on skilled personnel. In east Africa alone, we need to train 100 new data managers and statisticians every year so that researchers, data managers and analysts can benefit from the wider availability of data and to ensure its quality. Public health researchers need to be trained in good data collection methods, mentoring with researchers and partnering with data analysis experts from developed countries. Systems are required that extend beyond research projects into the collection of routine data for public health systems that can be used to monitor the health of the whole population.
We think technology and shared data have the potential to radically transform the health systems of low-income countries within our lifetime. We believe that technology and data should be shared equitably across all countries and that everyone should be enabled to use the results from the acquired knowledge.


sábado, 5 de fevereiro de 2011

Building Rapport with Your Students

October 5, 2010

Building Rapport with Your Students

Rapport, defined as “the ability to maintain harmonious relationships based on affinity” (a definition cited in the article referenced below), is more colloquially thought of as what happens when two people “click”—they connect, interact well, and respond to each other favorably.
Often it happens when two people are very much alike or have lots in common. That’s one of the reasons it isn’t always easy for professors to establish rapport with students—sometimes there’s a big age difference; others times it’s having few (if any) shared interests. However, there are good reasons for faculty to work on establishing rapport with students. The article referenced below lists outcomes, all established by research, that result when rapport is established.
Here’s a selection from the larger list that does seem particularly relevant and that is supported by some research involving teachers and students.
  • Higher motivation—When students feel rapport with their teachers and feel that their teacher’s personalities are something like their own, motivation is higher.
  • Increased comfort—When there is rapport, students tend to answer more freely and with a greater degree of frankness.
  • Increased quality—In a degree program, when students feel rapport with faculty, their perceptions of the quality of that program increase.
  • Satisfaction—Rapport leads to satisfaction—supported by much research, including research done in classrooms. When students report having rapport with the instructor, their satisfaction with the course increases.
  • Enhanced communication—As rapport grows, so does understanding and comprehension. Teachers and students understand each other better when there is rapport between them.
  • Trust—Sometimes trust is necessary for rapport to develop. But trust can also be an outcome. Once rapport has been established, trust between parties grows.
Rapport does not result in learning, but it certainly helps to create conditions conducive to learning—things like higher motivation, increased comfort, and enhanced communication. Teaching doesn’t always result in learning either, but, like rapport, it is one of those factors that can contribute positively to learning.
Five factors for building rapport
The researchers in this article queried business faculty about their perceptions of rapport—what must a teacher do to establish it with students? Five factors appeared almost twice as often as others.
  1. Respect. Teachers and students must show respect for each other, for the learning process, and for the institution where it is occurring.
  2. Approachability. Students have to feel comfortable coming to faculty and faculty must be willing to speak with students, after class, during office hours, via email, on campus.
  3. Open communication. Faculty must be honest. There needs to be consistency between what faculty say and what they do.
  4. Caring. Faculty must care about students; they must see and respond to them as individuals. They also need to care about learning and show that they want students to learn the material.
  5. Positive attitude. Faculty should have a sense of humor and be open to points of view other than their own.
Rapport is not something developed by announcement. Rapport is developed by actions—it results from things teachers do. The good news, as demonstrated by the content of this article, is that we know empirically what teachers can do to establish rapport. The even better news is that the actions required aren’t all that difficult to execute.
Reference: Granitz, N. A., Koernig, S. K., and Harich, K. R. (2009). Now it’s personal: Antecedents and outcomes of rapport between business faculty and their students. Journal of Marketing Education, 31 (1), 52-65.
Reprinted from Rapport: Why Having It Makes a Difference, The Teaching Professor, volume 23, number 6, page 2.