Thursday, February 28, 2008

Virtual midwives meeting this Sunday

Sarah and I are very excited and looking forward to welcoming you all to Koru Island meeting place in second life this Sunday.
Follow this link for world times for the meeting

Hopefully everyone who is interested in this has now downloaded second life onto their computer and has created an avatar for themselves. Email me at with your avatar name and I will then be able to connect with you in second life and transport you to the meeting.

I will be online at least one hour before the meeting preparing and will log anyone that comes on over the weekend into my friends list then. I will be away from home until Sunday afternoon so will not be able to do it before then.

Just in case there are technical difficulties with second life, an alternative online contact option is through Skype. These are contact details for Sarah and myself through Skype

Skype name
Carolyn - carolynmcintosh
Sarah - sarah.m.stewart

See you on Koru Island Sunday 2nd March 9pm NZ time.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Second life midwives meeting

Our midwives and midwifery educators meeting on Koru Island in Second life is this Sunday. We will be meeting in a New Zealand bush setting, with New Zealand bird song in the background. We have a large screen available for a brief introductory presentation before we discuss your ideas and questions about Second Life.

Sunday 2nd of March
United Kingdom -- 0800hrs
Perth WA -- 1700hrs
Brisbane -- 1800hrs
Sydney -- 1900hrs
New Zealand -- 2100hrs
Second life time -- 2400 hrs 0000 hrs or (12 midnight)

Here is a link to world times for the meeting.

It is not too late to register with second life. Create an avatar to enable you to participate in this international collaborative meeting of midwives and midwifery educators in Second life. There is information and 'how to' videos on my blog which will help you to do so at this link Let me know your Avatar name and I will add you to my friends list in second life. I will then be able to teleport you to the meeting place when you log on.

I have been busy working with my mentor Clare Atkins (Arwenna Stardust) in second life arranging this meeting. My friend and colleague Sarah Stewart (Petal Stransky) has also been supporting me and will help me to facilitate this meeting. I am also expecting one or two of my colleagues from Otago polytechnic to help with technical difficulties or to help answer your questions about meeting and learning in this environment.

Looking forward to seeing you on Koru Island :)

Friday, February 22, 2008

More fun at Leicester in the UK with my friend Aastra in secondlife

Here are some more amazing photos from Leicester Media Zoo

This are Aastra and me on the blimp

Here we are in the surround cinema. Not sure where this is though. Let me know if anyone recognises it.

Exploring second life for education

I have been looking at Second life in preparation for a meeting of midwives. I have been struggling to find good places to go to. When I search in second life I only seem to come up with some very 'dodgy' sites, not the sort of places i really want to hang around in.

I finally did a web search for slurl (which is second life urls) and found a really good wiki with lots of interesting places to explore. I also went to Leicester Universities Media Zoo. Which was very interesting.

This is a slide share of my experience

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Second life in education

Here is another perspective on Second life in education. To stimulate your interest for our midwifery meeting on the 2nd of March. This is a slideshare presentation from Jokay and was posted a year ago.

Midwives on the move in America

Image: Camilo 30 seconds old. From Natashalatrasha's photos at

There have been some positive happenings in America on the issues of midwifery and childbirth. Long overdue one has to say. Midwives and women have been lobbying strongly for changes in legislation to legalise the practice of midwifery across the United States. I have been observing this on the periphery. I have some idea about what has been happening and have been aware of the movement that has been actively lobbying local and national government in the States in recent weeks. This has been termed the big push for midwives .
This movement seems to have been inspired by a movie produced and directed by Ricky Lake and Abby Epstein called The business of being born. This movie seems to have caused quite a stir in the States and midwives and women have been building on this and working hard to make sure that the midwifery option of care is at last available to women.

I received an email today from Steff Hedenkamp of a press release with the following text
(Jefferson City, Mo.) – Midwives advocates across Missouri and the nation today celebrated the passage of Senator John Loudon’s (R, Chesterfield) midwifery licensure bill, SB 1021, from the Missouri Senate Committee on Pensions, General Laws and Veteran’s Affairs. The long-anticipated legislation would decriminalize the practice of midwifery in Missouri and establish a board to license and regulate Certified Professional Midwives (CPMs).

So congratulations to all who have worked so hard to achieve this, it is quite momentous.

I do know that not everyone is 100% behind these changes. Sage Femme, a well known American midwifery blogger has reservations about midwives being required to be licensed and believes there should be a voluntary option to this. I am unsure how this would work but I am not totally familiar with the American situation and therefore not at all qualified to comment on this.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Challenges of technology

Image from Liam Higgins of flickr

I am feeling very challenged by technology :(
I have what should be a 'super duper' laptop. An HP Pavilion dv6000. Lots of RAM lots of Memory wireless internet etc. I have had it for one year now. It crashed on me completely a few weeks after I had bought it and I lost all my data. After it was reset it worked OK for a while but is always flicking on and off the net and occasional crashes but restarts itself. I took it back to the shop several times but it usually behaves itself while it is there so they say there is nothing they can see that is wrong with it. Finally got sick of it and took it to the computer repair people to check it out and tell me if it is OK. This comes at a cost of $50 for each half hour spent, unless it is a hardware problem which is under warranty.

So they checked it out and thought it might be because I had partially removed Norton anti virus (I use Avast which is good and is free). He completed the removal of this and charged me $164.00. OK, so I bring it home and it is worse than ever, keeps having error messages and crashes to blue screen. I phone the computer repair people who tell me the laptop now needs to have everything deleted from it, back to original factory settings, this will cost between $100-200 for them to do. I took the machine back to Dick Smith where I bought it and they put it back to factory settings without charging me (just as well I just might have hit someone). Back home again, now I have to set everything back up again, all my software, plugins etc, this has taken me virtually all morning this morning.

And what happens now??? Well!!! the computer will not maintain a wireless connection. I have to have it plugged into a cable to be on the internet. Dear reader if you have read this far you will perhaps understand my frustration!! I have called the repair man back and he says "AH!! it is probably a faulty wireless card". He does not have equipment to check this, so this check was not done I suppose in his original assessment. This apparently can be fixed under warranty.

I have no faith in this machine. I want it to be replaced and get another one. It cost me whole lot of money which I cannot really afford. But this is not going to happen. So I am going to tell everyone, do not buy an HP pavilion dv6000.

We have another laptop at home. It did not come with wireless but I bought a pcmc card for it. It is not nearly so powerful or 'super duper' but it seems to work OK. It does lose wireless connection occasionally but not nearly as much as this machine. It cost about 1/3 of the price of this machine and is the one my husband uses.

My advice to anyone reading this would be, do not buy a 'super duper' high powered machine thinking it will be, faster, better, more powerful. Go for the cheap and cheerful. It will probably work just as well and you will not be so frustrated having spent a heap of money on a pile of junk that no one will help you with.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Change of day for second life midwives meeting.

Change of day for second life meeting from Saturday to Sunday.

I have had feedback from a couple of people that Saturday night for us. Saturday morning UK is not going to suit. I need to change the meeting to Sunday night for us Sunday morning for the UK. I will keep the time at the same time.

New Time
Sunday 2nd of March
United Kingdom -- 0800hrs
Perth WA -- 1700hrs
Brisbane -- 1800hrs
Sydney -- 1900hrs
New Zealand -- 2100hrs

This is the world times with the new time fixed in

world times for this meeting

Sorry for this change and hope that this is Ok with all or most of you.

I do hope you are able to join us. I have a small core of people who have supplied me with their avatar name. I would like to have a few more who might be able to attend. If you would like to talk with someone while you go through the process of entering second life and creating an avatar then please connect with either me or Sarah through Skype or Google talk

Skype name
Sarah - sarah.m.stewart
Carolyn -carolynmcintosh

Google talk uses my google mail
Carolyn -
Sarah -

Sarah also has a Twitter account
Sarah - SarahStewart

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Midwives and educators meeting in second life.

I have been furthering the plans for our meeting in second life to
explore opportunities for midwifery meetings, conferences and
educational opportunities.

In preparation I took my laptop to be serviced and somehow have lost
my list of friends in Second Life that I had already created. (This is
one of the frustrations of technology, sometimes it lets you down.) If
you have already offered or accepted friendship from me in Second Life
and receive another request will you please accept it, this is

Plan for meeting of midwives in second life.

Saturday 1st of March (Note now changed to Sunday 2nd of March)
United Kingdom -- 0800hrs
Perth WA -- 1700hrs
Brisbane -- 1800hrs
Sydney -- 1900hrs
New Zealand -- 2100hrs

Here is a World Clock with the time for this meeting in your
N.B. If this time is a major problem for you please let me know as
soon as possible so that I can make changes if necessary.

On Koru Island in the Kiwi educators meeting place, in the virtual
world of Second Life.
I will teleport you to this location

1. Start time, meet and greet and get settled.
This may take a wee while to get everyone comfortable.
2. 10 minute power point presentation
Highlighting some of the options currently available in Second Life.
3. Open floor for discussion
Brainstorming opportunities for midwifery and midwifery education in Second Life
4. Arrange subsequent meeting to further discussion in venue to be arranged.

Please look at my blog postings to help you understand what you need
to do in preparation for this meeting

In particular check this one to get you started

You need to be registered with Linden Labs Second life to be able to
You need to create an Avatar and go through the initial process on
Orientation Island in second life. This will take you anything from
one hour to a few hours to do. If you wish to participate you will
need to do this. Once you have done this you will need to email me
your Avatars name so that I can offer you friendship. This will come
to you in second life and as an email. You must accept this offer of
friendship in second life so that I can add you to my list of
contacts. Sarah Stewart will invite your friendship as a back up to
my list. My second life name is Dacary Dumpling and Sarah's is Petal

I will be online for about one hour before the meeting preparing for
it. I will be looking to see when people in my contact list come on
line and will then invite them to teleport to my location on Koru
Island. You need to accept this invitation and will arrive at the
island with myself and the group.

If you are interested please email me directly so that I can contact you clarify the process and make arrangements with you for the meeting.

Carolyn's email,

Orangutan birth

I just had to share this one with you too.

Two very different birth videos

In this post I want to highlight the very different experiences women can have with what might be called a 'normal vaginal birth'.

In this first video a young woman gives birth to her child in water. In contrast to the video posted on my friend Sarah's blog, this baby is taken from the water quite quickly. I wonder if, given a little more time, the mother might have reached down and picked up the baby herself. Obviously all the labour has gone before this and this is just the birth of the baby. It appears a relaxed and loving birth experience. Both mother and child seem to take a moment or two to realise what has just happened.

In this second video a young woman is giving birth in a hospital. We do not see the whole birth. She is fully draped in sterile drapes, with many gowned and masked health professionals and others buzzing around. The doctor at the foot of the bed is ready to catch the baby. He does not seem to be using any instruments so it would seem safe to assume that this is a 'normal vaginal birth'. A friend or family member is taking this video. The language used is Spanish I think, but the body language clearly indicates that the doctor is not pleased to be videoed. I wonder why? The doctor does not seem to engage with the woman at all. His focus is entirely on the woman's vulva. A shame we do not see the rest of this video.

I welcome your thoughts on the contrast between these two birth experiences. All over the world, and I think New Zealand is no exception to this, women can experience birth in the way these two young women do, and many variations in between.

How might these different birth experiences affect women as they start on their journey of motherhood?

Monday, February 11, 2008

Midwives meeting in second life.

Having had a meeting in second life with my friends, supporters and mentors, Petal and Arwenna my plans for the midwives meeting in second life is moving along. We discussed where we might hold the meeting and decided on Koru Island, the New Zealand educators island. Arwenna is an owner of this place and Petal and I are members and are able to hold meetings here without cost. Arwenna has a screen onto which we can load power point presentations, she thinks we might also be able to organise a screen to stream a video into second life. This is starting to feel much more 'do-able' now. So the plan for the session now is;

Participants log onto second life and I will send an invitation and teleport them to the Koru Island meeting place. (to do this participants need to have registered in Second Life, negotiated Orientation Island and moved to Help Island on the mainland. See my previous blog post.

Meet at the Koru Island meeting place. This has an area where we can sit around in a lovely New Zealand setting with New Zealand trees and bird song in the background. We can sit here and watch the power point.

After this I would like to stream a video if this is possible.

We will then have an opportunity to talk about possibilities the participants envisage for using second life for midwifery education, continuing professional development, conferencing or networking. Might be able to brainstorm, find some uses and answer some questions people have.

If we have the opportunity we might finish off by visiting another virtual place where there is already a midwifery education space. I still need to be able to arrange and confirm this.

Things I need to do now.

Prepare a power point which illustrates aspects of second life.

Try out some options for recording the session

Prepare more information to guide the participants into second life and to Koru Island.

Keep those who have expressed interest in the loop and encourage them to register with second life and go through the Orientation island process.

Finalise the exact date and time. The meeting will be on the weekend of the 1st or second of March. In the New Zealand evening, UK morning.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Facilitating birth through sexuality and intimacy

In my previous post I linked to an article by a woman who spoke of her increased libido and sexual desire during pregnancy and birth. The article does not hold back and fairly outrageous stuff really. So be warned. This has stimulated me to think more on this topic however. How do we as health professionals handle this aspect of our work. Are we open enough to the ideas of women as sexual beings during pregnancy labour and birth? Midwifery is very involved with womens' sexuality whether we choose to acknowledge this or not. I wonder if down playing or ignoring this can contribute to the medicalisation of birth?

We have known about the benefit of nipple stimulation for stimulating contractions for a long time, Hippocrates was the first to describe its use for induction of labour. Sexual intercourse too is known to stimulate uterine activity however a Cochrane review could find insufficient data to draw firm conclusions with scientific basis about the benefits for cervical ripening and induction of labour. It seems to me that regular uterine stimulation throughout pregnancy must be helpful in toning the uterus ready for labour.

If women are prone to premature labour it is advisable that they try to minimise uterine stimulation and therefore they may be advised to avoid intercourse. Do we however promote this as healthy activity which is likely to facilitate labour and birth? How would you, as midwives, create a space for labour where couples can be intimate with one another in this way? Would you as a woman feel OK about being intimate with your partner in labour or raising this as a possibility with your midwife? If you work in a maternity facility do you have any thoughts about this happening within your facility?

Childbirth and sexuality

I came across this link through a posting on my German friends blog . This article is not for the faint hearted, it is a very honest account or a womans experience of increased sexuality and libido during pregnancy and birth. She states that she feels most women feel the way she does, I am not so sure about that. However I do believe some women do. I remember a woman I cared for several years ago. She had a lovely labour and a nice progressive second stage with a lovely normal birth. It was a very normal birth, not particularly quick but not particularly slow. When the birth was complete and she had the baby in her arms she looked up, flushed and smiling and said I really enjoyed that.

I wonder if women were aware of the possibility of birth actually being enjoyable in this way if it might lessen the fear we have of birth. Of course if we are afraid or even just apprehensive we will never be able to 'let go' enough to have this type of experience.

Image: Candy stipe corset belly cast. from allycatson's photostream at

Friday, February 8, 2008

Cell phones and PDAs for mobile (distance) learning

A post on the Eduforge blog yesterday led me to a YouTube video about software which can deliver online surveys and tests through cell phones or PDAs. I have heard of this before but it is intersting to see it in action. Another tool we might be able to use as we move delivering more course content at a distance.

Image from: newlearnscopes photos on

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Progress so far toward facillitating an online learning community in second life

As I progress towards meeting the requirement of my third assignment for the Facilitating online learning communities course I need to blog where I am at with this at present and how I have arrived at this point.

I have been developing a growing love hate relationship with second life since I first joined as Lala Aluveaux, a persona that I no longer use since I lost my head.

As I considered what I might do to facilitate an online learning community I started to think about a virtual birthing centre. I managed to find a place where women can experience virtual pregnancy, but nothing about midwifery education. On the 4th of February I posted a message on the forum for discussion on midwifery and reproductive health research [MIDWIFERY-RESEARCH@JISCMAIL.AC.UK]. this is UK based but has an international following of those interested in, and involved in midwifery research.

This email received a good response and there are a group of around 7 midwives from the UK, Australia and New Zealand who are interested in participating. I created a blog posting to help people who are not currently in second life to get started. I have also sent another message through the midwives group about possible dates. I originally picked the 26th or 27th of February however this conflicted with mid-term break in the UK and so have changed to the 1st or 2nd of March as the most likely date.

My most recent blog posting explained how Sarah an I went into second life and met with one of the midwives who has expressed interest in this and together we have created a second life midwives group.

Plan at present is:
*)Spend a little more time with Arwenna and get a bit more skill in second life myself
*)Firm up a location for our initial meeting in second life
*)Plan where to go from this location, I hope to liaise with a Uk midwifery educator who already has a virtual birthing/learning space
*)Arrange a programme for the meeting, what we might discuss

I think an important part of this initial meeting will be to firm up another time to meet together so that we can all progress an online group of midwifery educators developing online learning, networking and conferencing resources in second life.

If anyone reading this post is interested in joining us please leave comment or email me at with your name and SL name and I will add you to my list.

We have a second life midwives group

We now have a second life midwives group. Today Sarah (Petal) and I(Dacary) met with Sufia (a Uk midwife) in Second life. This was on a UK education Island, not sure which one). Sufia has been in Second Life for about one year now and has more knowledge about it than Petal or I. We met in a church that her husband has been creating. That is him on the right.

We managed to get voice communication going and we were able to actually talk to one another which was fantastic. Sarah and Sufia (SL name)had a lot in common as they had both been involved in establishing email lists for midwives in the past. The international midwifery community is really very small and it is not too hard to come up with people that you know in common.

Sufia also took us to a conference area on this Island and explained that the billboards can be changed to have postings which are more suitable for midwives or educators or whoever the group is that is meeting at the time. I do realise that I still have lots to learn in Second Life. It took a long time for me to get my voice activation going as I had lost the buttons, which are usually on the bottom toolbar, and had to reset them. With Sufia's help I managed to do this. For a while I was just there, while the others were talking, and I could not participate, a bit of a frustration which people who are struggling with getting to grips with second life might not be able to tolerate. It is quite a learning curve but I am becoming increasing convinced that it is worth the effort, to be able to collaborate and communicate in this environment.

If you are keen to join the Second Life midwives group you will first need to join second life. Then search for groups and request to join the group. Perhaps one of the things we can discuss when we all get together is how we might use this group? Will we have regular meetings of the group and where might these take place? Does anyone have any ideas about this?

One of the really exciting things is that Sufia's husband is quite skilled in construction in second life and Sufia herself has also been building. Sufia's husband, Vidz Ah, is creating the Church in the first photo here. This could be useful if we decide we need to construct a place for midwives, and if he is willing to help.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Progress in my online facilitation for assigment 3

I put a call out through this blog and also on the midwifery research list from the UK. The result is that I have a few people who are interested in looking at brainstorming issues for midwifery education in second life. So I am feeling that this much more possible now than I did previously.
Most of those who have expressed interest are also quite new to virtual worlds and some I think will be coming into second life for the first time. So there will not be a lot of expertise in this regard. I am also very new to this and have solicited the help of Claire Atkins (Arwenna Stardust) to help me with the technical side of things.
Clare has taken an interest in the facilitating online learning communities course and has helped several of us novices begin to find our way in second life. She is also going to help up-skill me a little in preparation for the big day. Many thanks for all your help Clare. I copied this image from Arwenna's blog, hoping she doesn't mind.

Sarah (Petal Stransky) and I (Dacary Dumpling). That is Petal on the right and me on the left. Went into second life yesterday and had a look around a conference site at Jokaida. We have different abilities and inabilities in second life. I am better at moving around, (I think Petal's legs are just too short really) and Petal has mastered teleporting others and inviting friends. Together we might be able to work something out. One of the people who has responded is involved with a project at Coventry University, where a virtual birthing room/meeting place has been established in the virtual place they have developed. I am hoping that we might be able to visit there to see what is happening and help to gain a better understanding of the possibilities, particularly for collaboration.

I have not set a date or time yet for the meeting. I think the 23rd or 24th of February looks like the most promising dates at this time. It should be either an early morning or evening meeting. At this time I am thinking it will be an evening meeting for us and a morning meeting in the UK.

Monday, February 4, 2008

submitting assignments through turnitin

How to create a student account in turnitiin

This is a useful video for students about how to submit assignments through turnitin.

Want to join me in second life

I will now post a series of videos her about second life, what it is about and some 'how to' videos.

This video is a good introduction to second life in education.

If you would like to explore this further here are a couple of helpful videos.

This video tells you how to go about logging on to second life and creating an avatar.

The first avatar I created was the female fox as I did not like most of the other avatars. However I really did not like my fox avatar either. I discovered after entering that it is possible to change your body shape and clothes. I preferred to have a more human shape.

This video steps you through what happens when you first enter second life

If you are interested in joining me you will need to go through this initial process on orientation island. After you have done that I can send you a link to teleport to the place where we will meet.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Assessment three

Facilitating online learning communities course assessments.
Assessment three:

Please I need your help!!!
For assessment three I have to facilitate an online group discussion of one hours duration through some medium, this could be in second life, or through an elluminate session. I would like to get a group together to talk about blogging and/or midwifery and/or womens' health. If any of you kind readers out there would like to join me for something like this could you please either email me at or leave a comment here. If people are willing to meet in this way I will arrange a pre-meeting get together just to familiarise ourselves with what we are doing and the technology and to firm up the date time and details of the online group meeting.

This by the way is me in second life. It can get quite lonely there sometimes, it would be really good to have some folks to talk to.

assessment two

Facilitating online learning communities course assessments.
Assessment two:

For this assessment I am required to contribute to a wiki.

As stated in my previous post I have created two wikis one on Wikieducator, and one on wikispaces. I also contributed to the discussion in the wiki barn building exercise. This exercise did not really seem to spark the imagination of most of the course participants, I feel that we never really got a good handle on how to use a wiki. It is not as simple to use as a blog and requires some knowledge of computer codes to add content. I never managed to successfully add a picture or video to my wiki despite several attempts to do this. It seemed to me that a small sub group of the course participants developed a separate community, with a greater understanding of wikis, who were able to go on and developing more wiki resources. This seems to be an ongoing project for this group which I am not part of.

Here is the page counter for the midwifery wiki page on wikieducator

And here are the views for 2007 for the rural midwives wikispace

The fact that these pages have been accessed regularly gives me a feeling of responsibility for the content. I am not sure that I feel completely comfortable with this. I would feel more at ease if others had contributed and therefore it would increase the legitimacy of the content I feel.

Having looked at other wikis online I definitely see the potential for delivering course material, providing opportunities for student collaboration and for new learning to occur. The advantage of a wiki over print in my perception is that it is continually being updated and evolving. Once a book or a journal is printed it is set, new evidence may appear within days or weeks but no change can be made. A wiki can change continuously to accomodate the latest evidence and ideas. Students can contribute and change it. This is both and advantage and a disadvantage. It will allow the students to take ownership of this learning tool but it also relinquishes ownership by any one individual, for example the teacher or facilitator. I can see that students could be upset if others change their work. Does the teacher maintain control over the content and how do students identify the legitimacy of the material that is being delivered? These are ongoing debates.There needs to be clear guidelines about by whom, when and how changes can be made. "Tracking work created in wiki spaces can become a logistical nightmare, and course management can spin out of control quickly if pages are allowed to spawn without some set of protocols to regulate or index them"(Lamb, 2004). Lamb continues "Think of an open wiki space as a home that leaves its front door unlocked but doesn’t get robbed because the neighbors are all out on their front steps gossiping, keeping a friendly eye on the street, and never missing a thing. This ethic is at the heart of "SoftSecurity," which relies on the community, rather than technology, to enforce order". I believe the teacher needs to maintain a watchful eye on the progress of the wiki, provide support and some direction if needed and to bring students back to the focus of the wiki if they are straying too far of course.

If wikis are used merely to deliver course material they are little different to other course management tools such as blackboard or moodle. The value in wikis in higher education lies in the ability of students so engage with the material. The role of the teacher in this environment is to set loosely structured activities and goals which require the students to engage and interact with the wiki to develop and create the tools for others who follow (Lamb, 2004). Wikis can be used to collaborate, support the construction of knowledge resources and form part of a virtual community of practice (Boulos, Maramba, Wheeler, 2006). The needs of the learner has to be the prime focus when considering the goals and activities required in a wiki (Salmon, 2008)

Considering the midwifery page I created in wikieducator. At the moment it simply delivers information. It could easily be adapted to be more interactive. For example where there is mention of the partnership model of care a link could be made to another page where the students are invited to explore this topic together. I have prepared a blank page where students can explore together how they might record a clinical situation in their blog.

I have a long way to go in exploring this topic. My school are heading towards more flexible delivery of our programme. I do not envisage that the resources I have developed will be incorporated into this programme but it has given me some food for thought about how I might go about some of the aspects required. I need to maintain a clear focus of meeting the learning needs of the students.

Boulos, M. N. K., Maramba, I., Wheeler, S. (2006) Wikis, blogs and podcasts: a new generation of Web-based tools for virtual collaborative clinical practice and education. BMC Medical Education, 6:41 doi:10.1186/1472-6920-6-41

Lamb, B. (2004) Wide Open Spaces: Wikis ready or not. In EDUCAUSE Review, vol. 39, no. 5 : 36–48.]

Salmon, G. (2008) Designing E learning. University of Leicester. Youtube video. CorpU tv,s channel.

Assessment one

Facilitating online learning communities course assessments.
Assessment one:
For assessment one I was required to discuss the characteristics of online learning community and the implications for learning and teaching, evaluate online communication tools relating to midwifery education, articulate the skills required for maintaining a successful online community and summarise the ideas experiences and understanding of at least three other participants in the course about facilitation.

I believe I have met the requirements of this assessment in the following posts
Now I hate to moan
Thoughts on wikis
I found the following quote
Working on wiki
Thinking about students’ blogging
Video conference
Bloggers teachers and learners
What have I gained from this course
Reflections on Derek Chirnsides 10 minute lecture
Rural midwives wikispace

Further reflections on curatorial teaching and second life

Second life again No I’m not really crazy I’m just exploring learning communities
Using blogs wikis eluminate and second life in midwifery education
Teaching or facilitating learning
Learning communities online
Enhancing student learning in second life
Looking through these postings once again I am reminded of the roller coaster of learning that I have traveled in the last few months. As well as all the social networking tools I have discussed in these postings I have also explored other resources such as facebook, bebo, ning, and many more. The tool that I have really fallen in love with is this blog. Through this I have met others with an interest in midwifery and womens health. I have communicated on the blogs of these others and they have commented on mine. I have a small network of people with whom I communicate on a fairly regular basis. In other words I have a small community of contacts that I did not previously have a connection with. I have also been using this blog as a repository for information or evidence I have gathered which may be of interest to my students. I plan to continue to use this blog and to discuss with students how we might be able to develop blogs in which they could record their learning experience and connect and communicate with each other.

Through this course I developed a midwifery wiki page on wikieducator and a rural midwives site on wikispaces. Neither of these have stimulated much interest in the midwifery community. However the rural midwifery wikispace has been regularly visited although there have been no comments or edits to this and the wikieducator page has been accessed over 1,000 times.
This is one of the challenges for developing a learning community in an online environment. It seems that people will willingly visit and peruse material online however encouraging them to actually engage with it and contribute is quite a challenge and takes a great deal of thought. As Gilly Salmon states, when considering online course we need to always keep the needs of the learner in mind rather than the technology. The course needs to be "designed for student activity rather than delivery of content". I believe that this is a critical point. It is through this activity that the students will learn.

How to engage students and encourage active participation is the challenge of a learning community. In this course I have been an active participant and through this participation I have learned a great deal. This occurred also with the support of other members of the course. Being able to share ideas and seek help and support from other course participants has greatly added to my learning and helped me to identify with the other course participants as a learning community, although I have never actually physically met with most of them. The shared learning goal of getting to grips with social networking tools has been the bond that has kept us motivated and communicating with one another. I have been pleased to re-establish links with some of the course participants as we are returning to work after the holidays.

I believe that the learning community we established was definitely facilitated through the 10 minute lectures with guest speakers and the discussions that we engaged in as a group through "elluminate". This seemed to me to be a very useful tool to bring everyone together and emulated a class discussion in a way. In some ways I think this could actually be even more interactive than a class discussion with the ability to use the whiteboard to type and draw (there were some strange creations which appeared) and for others to see this. In a way it is like everyone seeing your doodle pad and being able to add to it and share it while listening to a lecture. This has the potential to be a fun way to learn and to simulate thought and discussion. However I had problems with my internet connection which was very frustrating and I can imagine that this would be a source of frustration for students I am working with. As a group we learned that you need a back up plan for times when the technology lets you down. Have an alternative method of communication or an alternative activity for the students to engage in. Of course this requires more thought and organisation for the teacher. Delivering courses in an online environment is not going to be time or money saving I feel, however it does have the opportunity to be more accessible to more people.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Harrassment and bullying workshop

One of the purposes of this blog for me is to help me keep track of and consider learning opportunities that I have. this week I attended a workshop on harassment and bullying. I don't want to bore you with all of the details, however I have written this up and put it in my google docs. You can see this here

Image: Lurtz, from _guu_'s photos on

More about fathers and childbirth

I recently considered issues for new fathers . Interestingly the latest MIDIRS essence focuses on this issue. Links from here led me to the fathers intsitute, a resource for new fathers also with information for health professionals about fatherhood. This site includes a data base of evidence about the benefits of including fathers in the care of the woman and child. It is a UK site however much of the information is relevant in New Zealand also.

Image: Father's hands, from Garlyn's photos on

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