Saturday, December 28, 2013

A Roundtable Discussion on Technology Enhanced Learning. 11th Asia Pacific Medical Education Conference - Saturday, 18 January 2014; Symposium 7 (1415hrs to 1545hrs)

A round table discussion between a panel of health professions educators with interactive audience participation.

This will include sharing of key take home messages illustrated by examples or short practice narratives of the use of Technology Enhanced Learning in various educational settings.

We anticipate a highly interactive session augmented by online discussions.


         Goh Poh Sun
         Marcus Henning
         Sanjay Khanna
         Junji Otaki
         Kenneth Pinto
         Gominda Ponnamperuma

Profiles of the panelists on website above.

Key slides

         Poh Sun

"I feel the most important thing to focus on is the learning, rather than the (e) in eLearning"

"I am now convinced that a hyperlinked curated index of digital teaching resources, that reflects the breadth and depth of undergraduate teaching, and postgraduate training is the way forward"

         Marcus Henning

"There is a need to create an accessible online learning environment in a regionally diverse learning community such as that exists in New Zealand"

"Coursebuilder is an effective software platform for developing teaching and learning content, which can be embedded in CECIL - a university-wide online interface that integrates discussion threads, assessment, administration, and other learning activities."

         Sanjay Khanna

"Technology is flexible and can be used in different ways to facilitate learning."

"Flipped classroom teaching that is designed to actively involve students seems more acceptable to them than didactic lectures."

         Junji Otaki

"Even if you are not an expert in the use of IT, you can explore ways of using it."

"To aggregate clinicians' opinions on educational materials, an easy-to-use online system on which a manager can collect and edit opinions while making them anonymous could be useful."

         Kenneth Pinto

"When using technology in the classroom, start small and simple, then iterate towards advanced use and outcomes."

"The MOOC wave will also cover Medicine. How should Medical education take advantage of MOOCs?"

My Educational Technology journey began in NUS, where I was the Publications Officer for the Centre for Instructional Technology (CIT). This was around the time that social media was starting to make its way into education. My colleagues are mostly software engineers. Blogs, wikis and other social media eluded them. Through helping educators navigate the world of social media, I got more directly involved with educational technology, rather than just writing about it.

My current areas of responsibility include Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), mobile learning and plagiarism prevention. MOOCs were the biggest educational technology trend in 2013. Even NUS, which is relatively averse to putting teaching content online for the world to see, jumped on the bandwagon. We began with a small internal course last year on Essentials of Academic Writing. Currently, two NUS courses are in progress on Coursera: Unpredictable? Randomness, Chance and Free Will by Prof Valerio Scarani from the Centre for Quantum Technologies, and Write Like Mozart: An Introduction into Classical Music Composition by Assoc Prof Peter Edwards from the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music. One more will be launched in February - Reason and Persuasion: Thinking Through Three Dialogues By Plato. This will be taught by Assoc Prof John Holbo.

These are the external (for public) courses that NUS is running on Coursera. But we are also running courses on Coursera only for NUS students. Rather, we are using Coursera as a platform on campus to help with the delivery portion of the flipped classroom. These courses which started earlier this month are for NSmen who are waiting to matriculate. The courses are bridging courses which count for credit. This approach is not really massive (the "M" in MOOCs). They are not open either. So, we call them iBLOCs - Internal Blended Learning Online Courses.

Emphasis on MOOCs is because that's been the majority of my work since the middle of last year. Perhaps we can discuss how these may impact medical education? (There will be a course on Genomic and Precision Medicine and other medicine-related courses on Coursera too.)

         Gominda Ponnamperuma

"Whichever the medium of delivery, the role of the teacher, be it as an examiner or as a tutor, cannot be replaced by technology; technology can only assist and enhance the role of the teacher."

"Although judging what is plagiarism is the prerogative of the marking tutor (not the software), an advanced software package that provides information on both the quality and quantity of the overlapping material (i.e. material suspected to be plagiarised) in a more cohesive and synthesized form can certainly help."
"With the help of such software, the onus of detecting plagiarism should eventually shift from the tutor to the learner."

Sharing a short video from the frontier of tech innovation

Maximising your personal productivity

Proposed roundtable discussion setup (see YouTube video below for one setup, actual conference venue hall plan and setup below).

Some questions and points raised during audience and panel discussion

    Open vs closed eLearning content for MOOCs

    Personal data protection act

    How to get student engagement and increased use of eLearning programs  

          Role of embedding content in curriculum, and role of assessment

    Off the shelf vs in house development of platforms

    Open source movement

    Use of social media eg. Twitter for APMEC


           Social media as part of a new professionalism (Anne Marie Cunningham)

    Plagiarism detection software

                             We had a good turnout at the roundtable discussion (see above).

Reflective critique

1. One purpose of this symposium was to stimulate discussion on the topic of Technology Enhanced Learning, and engage the audience.

2. The objective for choosing this presentation format was to spend more time at the symposium interacting with the audience, and less time on "presentation". The use of a website / blog; announcement of the blog at the 11th APMEC opening ceremony welcome address; and invitation to the audience to email or post on the blog questions or comments was to stimulate audience engagement.

3. There was one blog participant question on the morning before the symposium (on the role of public or private MOOCs); and one blog comment at the symposium (on the type of educational content shared on a teaching / educational blog - public).

4. The role of social media, especially Twitter was raised at the symposium. The usefulness and potential for further stimulating wider audience engagement was discussed. Some comments on the symposium; and the 11th APMEC in general are seen below.

Had a hard time locating the blog Dr Goh Poh Sun was referring to at #apmec, sharing it in case anyone missed it too

Fri Jan 17 23:58:54 PST 2014
(from symposium participant not at opening ceremony)


#apmec #meded hope to see exponential increase in tweets at apmec 2015, meded conferences should go global Sat Jan 18 1:11:54 PST 2014

5. The symposium panelists are in the process of writing a scholarly symposium roundup and reflection piece for publication.

Thank you to all the face to face; and online participants at the symposium on technology enhanced learning @ 11th APMEC 2014!

Goh Poh Sun

(0437hrs, January 23, 2014; Singapore)

"The open-format adopted for the discussion among the panelists and the audience led to an informative exchange of ideas with the participants expressing varied views on the use of technology for teaching and learning.  The views reflected, in part, the experiences of the participants that ranged from (a) developing technological support, (b) using technology for mounting online modules and supporting material for medical residents and (c) to MOOCS.  An issue raised by a number of participants mirrored my concern as well and was centered on how best to motivate and involve student in self-study of online material.  While no single definitive means of motivating students emerged from the discussion related to this theme, I had shared with the participants my experience on adapting the use of in-house online modules to suit student needs.  I had developed the online modules with the intention of promoting self-study of principles of sensory physiology and pain.  In this context, I shared the data that indicated that while the design of the modules was acceptable to the students, they felt quite strongly that these modules should complement, but not replace face-to-face interaction with the teacher.  This propelled me to integrate the modules with a version of the flipped classroom that involved the following student activities in a science course: (a) e-learning, which involved self-directed learning using the online modules.  Some of these modules complemented didactic lectures (i.e. complementary modules) while the final module in the series provided supplementary information (i.e. supplementary module), (b) formative assessment in classroom that covered the complementary modules and associated didactic lectures, and (c) group discussion in classroom, which involved discussion of and development of concepts introduced with the supplementary module.  While I did not track the pre-classroom or within classroom use of the online modules by the students, the student participation in the classroom activities was relatively more intense throughout the session as compared to an equivalent period of didactic lecture.  In a preliminary survey the students also strongly favored this mode of interaction over didactic lecture.  Perhaps, with appropriate monitoring and refinement, this mode of enmeshing technology with classroom teaching might become a means of motivating students towards a greater self-study and active learning in classroom setting."

Sanjay Khanna

(1930hrs, January 28, 2014)

"My thinking regarding the symposium session on 'technology enhanced learning' encompasses the ideas of diversity, synchronicity and opportunity. First, diversity refers to the idea that each panellist interpreted the notion of technology enhanced learning differently. My presentation was initially situated around the idea of technical mechanisms we use in our centre to enhance learning. Second, we all somehow synchronised our thoughts into a meaningful whole. And this discussion brought out constructive and evocative discussion from the audience. My initial idea of introducing the technical mechanisms used within our centre to enhance learning was side-tracked to notions of stress associated with increased technology demands. Third, opportunity raises the notion of being able to discuss a very important issue with like-minded educationalists at an international conference, thus building on prior knowledge and skills. I really enjoyed the opportunity to work with a great group of learned panellists and to be able to merge and interact with an informed audience."

Marcus Henning

(0431hrs, January 29, 2014)

"The ground work or the homework, carried out before the roundtable discussion, was the most exciting. All discussants were on a steep learning curve. The reason for this was that nobody had a concrete idea as how best the discussion should be carried out. However, the rich brainstorming sessions via email that the leader of the session led while showing video examples of similar roundtable discussions in other conferences clarified the expectations and the roles of the discussants. This was particularly helpful, as the session was not a simple symposium where a few speakers stood up and delivered their presentations, one after the other, but a session where the speakers had to inter-twine their narrations to build a coherent picture. Hence, the general learning point that I gained through this is that this session was yet another confirmation of how important the collaborative preparatory work is in planning such a session.

Reflecting on this experience and what we could have done differently, if such an opportunity presents the next time, may be, now that we have some collective experience in such a roundtable discussion, the each presenter could begin as a question and answer session with the audience. Thereafter the speaker could come up with his or her experience and suggestions/recommendations. This is basically flipping the sequence of events upside down. Then, based on the speaker’s input the audience could be invited again to ask one or two clarification questions. Hence, each presentation could be structured as follows.

1.       Speaker displaying the main question that he/she is going to address as one slide and inviting comments from the audience – 4 minutes.
2.       Speaker giving his possible explanation and solution, if it had not already emerged from the audience or confirming the possible solution/explanation, if it had already emerged from the audience – 4 minutes.
3.       All panellists responding to one or two clarification questions by the audience – 4 minutes.
So, each speaker’s (and panellists’) input would be alternated and sandwiched between the audience responses to the main point addressed by the speaker."

Gominda Pommanperuma

(0959hrs, February 1, 2014)

"The session was active and interactive. However, it might be somewhat difficult to understand
the discussion for non-native speakers of English or hard-of-hearing persons.
If we seek wise use of ICT, there might be still room for improvement.
The session was very interesting and I enjoyed thoroughly."

Junji Otaki

(1410hrs, Feb 18, 2014)

"This was the first time I have been involved in a conference using this presentation format. The preparation was done via email.

No doubt some educational technologists may recoil at the use of email to discuss and collate information for a roundtable discussion. However, the technology of choice - email - is one that was immediately familiar to all the panelists. 

Where technology is concerned, I think it is important not to alienate people. In this setting, we were in different countries and, as far as I could tell, using technologies at different levels. It would have been counter-productive to suggest something else which may have required a learning curve. Instead, the discussions carried on via email. With Dr Goh doing an excellent job of moderating and summarising the discussions, I felt email served us well.

If I were to collaborate on a similar presentation with colleagues I know are familiar with certain technologies, I would have used a wiki or Google Docs. Email trails can get unwieldy and disjointed. (That said, content on wikis can get unwieldy and disjointed too!) There would be page for each of our contributions, and an overall page to weave the contributions into a coherent whole. The discussion would be separate from the content, and that would take place using email or Wikipedia-style comments, which are separate from the actual content of the entries."

Kenneth Pinto

(1417hrs, February 21, 2014)