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Posts Tagged ‘undergraduates’

Using a wiki and peer evaluation with 1st year medics

Posted by sarahw9 on 12 March, 2009

wiki on BlackboardThis is our second year of using a wiki in our session with 1st year medics ‘Finding the Evidence’.  The purpose of this session is to make sure that students understand both where to find and how to use resources that support evidence based medicine.  This exercise also aims to support the students as they embark on their 10,000 word dissertations where they follow a real patient for two years, looking at the the patients’ medical condition, treatment and their social context. 

We set the students a clinical question, for example, they may be asked if a particular drug helps a medical condition or what evidence there is to support a particular type of treatment (I don’t want to give away of our real questions here!).  

Before the training sessions the students are given an assignment which they complete in groups of 3.  In the wiki there is list of resources they have to search.  They have to record their search strategy (keywords and more detail if relevant), and what they find in answer to the clinical question. Then they have to write a conclusion based on all the evidence they have found, and make any observations about differences of opinion they find in the literature. 

The resources they search are: Clinical Knowledge Summaries; Intute; Medline; The Cochrane Library; and the British National Formulary.  This is to familiarise students with guidelines for physicians, prescribing doses, patient information, as well as the literature at the highest level of evidence and the more exploratory (but still peer reviewed) levels of research literature. 

When they arrive at the session the students are given some further background to evidence based medicine and are shown some extra tips on searching these tools.  We hope they actually take it in now they have used them the tools for themselves.  We discuss the ‘answer’ to the clinical question they were asked and give feedback to the students on their assignments.  Then the fun starts as they are asked to look at another wiki and enter comments on each others wikis, noting three things another group did differently to themselves.   I think this is quite eye-opening for them – to see that another group answering the same question using the same resources finds different results and emphasises different aspects of the question.  They should (and virtually all did in fact) find the same basic bottom line answer to the question, but there may be a few subtleties for example different situations where different treatments are applicable or where the evidence is unclear.  We also ask the students to say what they would do differently if they were going to do this exercise again.

We are still compiling our feedback from the sessions, but so far it it mostly good, and amazingly the students say they can see the point of the exercise.  I think in future we need to consider ways to focus the students’ comments more.  Some have put in alot of detail and constructive comments, others are more along the lines of  ‘ours was better than yours’. 

Overall this is a good way to focus students on particular resources.  It is also very specific to a particular question and plugs straight into resources they are going to be using for their dissertations (or they should be using).

Selina has also used a wiki with the computer scientists if you want to compare notes and outcomes.  Interestingly different groups of students have different characteristics as a whole. This type of exercise may be working for medics and computer sciencists, but would it work for others?  Perhaps its time we tried it.

Posted in Subject Support, Training, Web 2.0 & Emerging Technologies | Tagged: , , , , | 6 Comments »

EMALINK event on the changing undergrad library environment

Posted by selinalock on 20 February, 2009

Here’s a round-up of the EMALINK event I attended on the 18th Feb 2009 at the Pilkington Library, Loughborough University.

Sally Patalong highlighted some of the points made by the 2008 Ciber Briefing paper and talked about some of the technologies they’ve used with students at Coventry University.

  • The briefing paper highlighted that students will be “power browsers” and have worryingly low levels of information literacy.
  • Sally thought that VLEs are teacher-centred as they emphasise tracking and automation.
  • Research conducted at Coventry have shown that students want: smaller groups, more contact time, new experiences, independence, resources, support, qualifications, group work, friends, fun, a social life and to be inspired.
  • Some of the technologies being used at Coventry that are more student-centred include voice tools (e.g. wimba) to record feedback and email it to students, Echi360 to record lectures and have them uploaded to web and video conferencing with distance learners.
  • Sally suggested that institutions needs to move away from all controlling environments (such as VLEs) and use the existing technologies available out there.
  • She finished by asking if we still need University Libraries to deliver resources and answered YES. Especially for (as one of her students put it) the “friendly staffs and helpful advices”.

The second talk of the day was from Jo Bryant who did her dissertation on the Open3 library learning spaceat the Pilkington Library. Some of the things Jo highlighted were:

  • New innovations in library learning spaces such as sykpe phones being made available Dublin City University Library and inflatable “pods” at Glasgow Caledonian University.
  • For her dissertation she used ethnography techniques including observing students in the Open3 learning space 40 hours. Some of her observations were that:
  • a lot of group work was taking place (of groups between 3-10 people)
  • Whiteboards were popular
  • Groups tended to gather around laptops rather than PCs
  • Individual study was also happening despite the higher noise levels
  • the students liked space to spread out and were quite territorial
  • Liked being able to have food & drink – including ordering in pizza when the cafe closed!
  • Liked social nature of space
  • PCs near the entrance were used for quick visits (printing/email)
  • Self-governing space – people tried not to interrupt others but would also not ask people to be quiet.
  • Mostly used by undergrads
  • the students were mainly using electronic resources rather than books but the study did take palce during the exam period.
  • PCs were often logged in but left unattended
  • After the study the space was expanded as it was so popular.

The event ended with some group discussions on what important things University Libraries should do in the future. Suggestions included:

  • Being flexible in their use of space and the services/resources/technologies they offered and used.
  • Asking the students what they wanted.
  • Working with academics to improve student’s evaluation skills.
  • Considered use of technology.
  • Bringing services together in the library building adn ensuring it is an attractive environment to students

Posted in Service Delivery | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Session for 1st Year Computer Scientists

Posted by selinalock on 21 August, 2008

As previously mentioned I’ll be doing a new session for 1st year computer scientists.

This is my draft session so far, feedback encouraged!

CO1007 Session: Finding, Collecting & Sharing Resources
• Session for approx 50 1st yr Com Sci students in wk 5 of term, based in a computer lab.
• To be taught via a wiki – a strategy used effectively by a colleague at Loughborough with 1st yr Comp Sci students.
• Wiki will allow online interaction between students during the session and hopefully promote reflective thinking.
• Library catalogue will be covered in normal 1st yr induction (10am Fri 3rd Oct), so this session will concentrate on online resources.

Activities/Prompts within the Wiki:

1. Wikipedia – what is it good for?
• Go to and search for Computer Ethics
• What do you find useful about Wikipedia? What are the problems with Wikipedia?
• You may find it useful to read – strengths, weaknesses & article quality in Wikipedia: • Post a Pro & Con to the wiki
o E.g. Pro: covers a huge amount of topics
o E.g. Con: only covers some topics superficially

2. What’s the best search engine for you?
• Use your favourite search engine to find information on plagiarism in computer science
• Why do you like this search engine? Did you find some useful results?
• Post your findings to the wiki
• Now try a different search engine, such as or, which are scholarly and scientific search engines.
• How did these search engines compare to your favourite? Did you find different results?
• Post your findings to the wiki

3. How do you collect and share resources with friends?
• Create an account on using your CFS username, in order to save links that are useful for this course.
• Go to my delicious account (need to create) and add me to your network.
• You will see I have tagged a number of resources CO1007, which I think you will find useful for this course.
• Add a resource you think will be useful to your account and tag it CO1007
• Post your delicious account name to the wiki so that others can add you to their network and vice versa
• Do you think it will be useful to build up a list of shared resources like this? Do you think you might use it for other courses?
• Post your thoughts/comments to the wiki
• Delicious is the most popular, but not the only, social bookmarking tool available. There are others that are aimed at researchers and scientists, such as and

4. An exercise on Google Reader?
5. An exercise on recommended journals?

Posted in Subject Support, Training, Web 2.0 & Emerging Technologies | Tagged: , , , , , , | 5 Comments »