Creating Awareness for Using a Wiki to Promote Collaborative Health Professional Education

Creating Awareness for Using a Wiki to Promote Collaborative Health Professional Education

Karishma Sharmin Haque (Bangladesh Institute of Health Sciences, Bangladesh), Abu Md Akteruzzaman Bhuiyan (Bangladesh Institute of Health Sciences, Bangladesh), Mou Bhowmick (Bangladesh Institute of Health Sciences, Bangladesh), Ziauddin Ahmed (Bangladesh Institute of Health Sciences, Bangladesh) and S. N. Sarbadhikari (Bangladesh Institute of Health Sciences, Bangladesh)
Copyright: © 2012 |Pages: 11
DOI: 10.4018/ijudh.2012010103

Abstract

A Wiki is an expandable collection of interlinked web pages that allows users to quickly and easily create and edit content. Wikis can be used for obtaining information and knowledge. They can also serve as a method of virtual collaboration to share dialogue and information among participants in group projects or allow learners to engage in learning. Wikis enable such activities and actively involve learners in their own construction of knowledge. In this paper the authors discuss the wiki they created (http://bihs-wiki.wikispaces.com/) for the Bangladesh Institute of Health Sciences. A brief orientation lecture and a hands-on workshop were arranged for all users. Content development for the wiki and learning activities went on concurrently. Students were more enthusiastic in this process and acted as ambassadors. The wiki is an effective platform for sharing information, experiences, and resources among health professional educators and learners.
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Introduction

In the Health sector in Bangladesh the application of ICT (Information and Communications technologies) tools is inadequate. Some of the health professional educators and students are accustomed to using only the e-mail services. In a narrow sense, only access to computer is the criterion for setting the Digital Divide. But in a broader perception, result oriented access to the Internet and technology with interactive participation should be the basis to define the Digital Divide (Akbar, 2001). In a study among the doctors of Bangladesh, Theodoros and Evi (2004) reported that almost 42% of the participant never used email and 49% never accessed the internet as a source of information. However, current policies are favoring widespread adoption of the Internet in Bangladesh (Azam, 2007).

Globally, today’s learners are members of the Web Generation, in need of different approaches in their education (Tapscott, 1998). They interact frequently with computers, video games, and the Internet. To meet the needs of these learners, the faculty members need to shift from one-way teaching and learning methods to interactive and cooperative instructional strategies (Kamel Boulos & Wheeler, 2007; Hsu, 2007; Oermann, 2004).

It is interesting to note how the Web has transformed with time. Historically speaking, there has never been any “Web 1.0”, but the Web has evolved into “Web 2.0” and “Web 3.0”. Web 2.0 is a term coined by Tim O’Reilly that describes the trend in the use of WWW technology and web design that aims to enhance creativity, information sharing, and, most notably, collaboration among users (social web dealing with data). These concepts have led to the development and evolution of web-based communities and various hosted services. To exemplify, social-networking sites (e.g., FaceBook, Google Plus), wikis (e.g., Wikipedia, Citizendium), and blogs (e.g., Twitter – a microblogging site), are all familiar (Sarbadhikari, 2011). Kamel Boulos, Maramba, and Wheeler (2006) had mentioned the Web 2.0 applications like wikis, blogs and podcasts as a new generation of Web-based tools for virtual collaborative clinical practice and education.

Web 2.0, or the “Social Web,” has also been called the “Read and Write Web.” It enables people to collaborate with one another and interact socially in a web environment. A wiki, one of the many Web 2.0 collaboration tools, is web-based software that allows all viewers of a web page to edit its content online. Since it is easy to use, a wiki lends itself to collaboration and cooperative work on texts (Ebersbach, Glaser, & Heigl, 2006).

With a wiki students are sharing information and experiences with peers, the teacher, and others. They can collaborate online with one another, work together as a group, and critique each other’s work. Wikis are used as discussion forums; where the participants explore specific topics of a short term nature or for general discussions. With this ability a wiki can supplement an existing Course Management System or be used for discussion in place of such a system (Kardong-Edgren et al., 2009). Through a wiki a learning community can be created among students and teachers which can be actively engaged in the learning process. The wiki also provides an effective communication tool among a group of learners.

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