Mobile learning is cost effective and offers ease of tracking-Dr. Zarrin Siddiqui

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e learning session at Surgicon 2013

Mobile learning is cost effective and offers
ease of tracking-Dr. Zarrin Siddiqui

Use of information technology and e learning will make
the teachers more efficient - Dr.Bushra Shirazi

Teachers should be equipped with the 21st century technology
and various teaching tools available - Dr. Masood Jawaid

KARACHI: Dr. Zarrin Siddiqui an eminent educationist from Australia gave an invited talk on Mobile learning during the Surgicon 2013. This session devoted to e learning was jointly chaired by Mr.Naveed Yousuf from Aga Khan University and Dr. Bushra Shirazi from Ziauddin Medical University, Karachi. Speaking about the features of mobile learning she highlighted the flexibility in communication, reliance and effective use of time besides patient safety. Mobile learning, she opined, caters to the learning style, it is cost effective, offers ease of tracking but it should be integrated with learning management system.
Continuing Dr. Zarrin Siddiqui said that institutions should provide grants for innovation besides good Information Technology support is also essential. Faculty and the students should be used to it and facilities for charging mobile should also be made available. She also referred to professional ethics and pointed out that people should be mindful of personal space as every one has some home and family commitments and responsibilities to look after children; hence it is not at all advisable to communicate beyond office hours or on holidays.
Dr. Azra Naseem from Aga Khan University Hospital discussed designing and engaging: e learning experience. Speaking about learner engagement ,she opined that it is extremely important that the leaner pays attention, listens, asks questions, reads and shows enthusiasm and also develops a critical thinking. One should be creative problem solvers. Innovators and risk takers can work in collective multidisciplinary team while learning is a life long activity.
She then gave details of the faculty development programme which they initiated at Aga Khan University in 2011-2012 and mentioned about assessment for learning, interaction between students for discussion and between the teachers besides safe learning space. Prof.Shams Nadeem Alma asked whether being conversant with e learning makes a good teacher at which Dr. Bushra Shiraz remarked that it makes teaches more efficient, a good teacher is a good teacher. Technology is there and we should know it and learn about it but there are a lot of issues which needs to be discussed, debated and a solution found to the problems faced to make e learning successful and enjoyable.
Dr. Mohamad Zubair from DUHS made a presentation on Surgery Online and said that providing gadgetry at public institutions will be a problem but many students are already using this technology. However, we have to make its use as per our convenience and keeping in view the available facilities. At present there is no vascular or thoracic surgeon in any of the public hospitals in Karachi hence how we are going to manage the trauma cases efficiently. We at the DUHS, Dr. Zubair stated, are in the process of developing some minor surgery courses, we are also preparing operative videos and would like to improve upon it once we get the feed back.
Dr. Rehman Alvi from Aga Khan University Hospital talked about SCORE: Surgical Council on Resident Education and shared their experience at AKU. He pointed out that it was mandatory for residents in USA. There are different surgical protocols. He was of the view that it involves lot of expenditures and it was not possible for any institution alone to afford it, hence he suggested collaboration between the Department of Medical Education at CPSP, Professional Specialty Organizations and the Associations. If they all join hands and pool their resources and expertise, it can work wonders. Faculty training and acceptability by the faculty members is essential, he added.
Dr .Zubia Masood from Hamdard Medical and Dental College came up with the idea of Online Surgical Journal Club. She also highlighted the barriers to the establishment of such a journal club like lack of finances and availability of too much information besides lack of motivation. Mr. Naveed Yousuf from Aga Khan University discussed role of e learning in surgery and emphasized that there should be focus on patient care and safety. In fact there is too much to learn. He laid emphasis on knowledge and skills and said that surgery is much more demanding. We see increasing use of technology in surgical procedures, laser treatment, and robotic surgery. There is a definite role of e learning in surgery and we need to use this technology for e learning. It will be learner centered and safe in repeated practice, ensures competence of leaner.
Dr. Bushra Shirazi from Ziauddin Medical University shared her experience of starting e learning using the existing information technology facilities available at the university and using the same IT personnel for something which is basic. There is lack of uniformity in teaching as well as training in various medical institutions, workload is not much in some institutions and medical education has become a business. We are trying to make some e learning programmes but it is the self motivation of the individuals which will make e learning successful, she added. During the discussion it was pointed out that one has to take the faculty on board and ensure effective technology support. It does involve some investment in technology and training of manpower. Dr. Masood Jawaid gave details of various e learning courses they have developed at DUHS where the faculty members are being trained in e learning through hands on workshops. We have already organized online assessment for medical students and postgraduates, he added. Dr. Abdul Khaliq from Dow International Medical College talked about comparison of face to face and blended learning for surgical clinical education.

Hands on Workshop on E learning

Dr. Masood Jawaid Assistant Profess of Surgery at Dow International Medical College and in charge of E learning at Dow University of Health Sciences also conducted Hands on Workshop on e learning which was attended by over a dozen participants. He pointed out that its use should facilitate learning. He then demonstrated some of the programmes which he has developed wherein one has to answer some questions and if the participants get pass percentage marks fixed in the programme, only then they will be able to move forward and answer the next questions. Videos can also be inserted in the programmes. After the test, they can immediately get the feed back and the faculty members can also have access to the feed back and assessment. He then discussed different modules of e learning with special reference to MOODLE which they are using at present at DUHS. Feed back, Dr. Masood Jawaid remarked, is extremely important in e learning. One can use e learning any time anywhere. He further stated that the medical teachers should be equipped with the 21st century technology and various teaching tools which are available. Use of technology will supplement and support teachers in a virtual learning environment.
During the workshop use of eLearning in surgical practice and education was highlighted besides discussing various features of VLE. They participants were also told how to use this medium in their current practice and teaching.
It may be mentioned here that apart from Aga Khan University, Dow University of Health Sciences is the only medical institutions which has embarked upon e learning and has also successfully tested and implemented it in various programmes. DUHS is perhaps the first public sector medical university in Pakistan which has made tremendous progress in the field of e learning because of the keen interest being taken by Prof. Junaid Ashraf Principal of Dow Medical College and Prof. Masood Hameed, Vice Chancellor of Dow University of Health Sciences.

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