I had a chance to talk to eight students at the University of Northampton on the 14th September about the TIGER resources. The eight students had a chance to browse the TIGER repository and OERs for about an hour during one of the IPE sessions. They are all health professionals. Seven of them are nurses and one is a paramedic.
Overall, all of them think that the resources that are already in the TIGER repository are very good. Two students commented,
“I wish that I have known about it before we started the module.” – S1-UoN
“I think this should be embedded into the curriculum starting from day one.” – S3-UoN
The resources were considered more useful for the pre-registration students, as one of the students pointed out,
“… as pre-registration student, you end of with going through the same scenarios. Well you could go to the repository and say, ‘have a look at this and talk to me in half an hour when you’ve gone through it.’” – S1-UoN
The repository had eight OERs and new resources were still being released into the repository at the time the interview took place. It is not surprised that the students identified gaps in the resources and they felt the site ‘unfinished’ at the moment.
Some of them felt that the resources up there are limited. The resources don’t focus on any particular professional groups, and therefore might not be able to draw interest from a wider student population. One of the students stated,
“A lot of us here are or work with district nurses. I work with the children. Some work with the schools. If you could have another topic which covers the general community nursing, that would be beneficial. The resource should cover the wider student population rather than being focused on health.” – S3-UoN
How might the resources be used?
The resources were considered useful for work by most of the students. One of the students stated,
“… as we’re in the community, sometimes we’re in the office, and you try to think things to do. It could be very good resources for them to access if you got a free computer for them to use… It is always handy to have the link to that somewhere, even within our computer system. So if it was a patient that you come across, maybe with some complexity that you haven’t come across before or a profession you want to get in touch with, a link [in our computer system]might be useful to prompt people to use it.” – S5-UoN
However, as practising nurses and paramedics, these students don’t normally have the time for accessing resources and proper learning at their workplace, as one student reflected,
“To be honest, in my office, it’s very difficult to have the time to sit to access any information as you’re running around. So there isn’t that much time at work. So it’s up to the individuals to go and search for information. A working day is supposed to practising, not to sit and research, or to go and find the resource. Or unless something comes up and you find some information, then you quickly have an access in your departmental website in line with what you’re doing. But just for you to sit and look, for me I haven’t done it before.” – S3-UoN
Access to computers and the internet presents another problem for the health practitioners for accessing resources at their workplace, as another student pointed out,
“…sometimes we’re limited to the actual IT that we have. There are some offices we share three computers between the 6 of us. We do have some other facilities, but as we find yesterday with the rain, none of them could go online, so it’s not working. It is difficult to have the learning that we should. I think it’s quite difficult to get that, so unless you’re doing a course or something specific that would trigger that.” –S5-UoN
To embed the resources into the curriculum or professional development courses seems to be the way forward in order to enable the students and practitioners to fully benefit from the resources, as one of the students concluded,
“I think integration into all the courses, postgraduate courses, pre-registration courses. A small slot of these on each course can then allow it to filtering to practice. If this is just for when we do an IPE module, it’s going to be pointless. But if this is taught on pre-registration courses, whether it’s to do with ITU or to do with district nursing courses, then automatically you open the doors… and people will think of it.” – S2-UoN
For students who defer their study, the free and open access to the resources is considered an additional benefit, as one student said,
“I’m about to defer my MA for a year, so I’m not going to have the password or things to get in our library, so I would be using this instead because it’s open. I know I can go through the trust library, but that’s just hassle. I’ll be using this instead.” – S1-UoN
Most of the students think that the resources need to be advertised a lot more aggressively, so they could be promoted for use by professionals in their working environments. Some suggested that we use the student champions and blog to promote the use of the resources. Some reflections are given below.
“I don’t see a blog that people can comment or communicate to each other, telling each other about different resources and point people to the right direction because you got such an interactive way to get quite a lot of feedback.” – S5-UoN
“You need people like us to be able to prompt it. And that’s what you’ll get a snowball effect. You need champions.” – S1-UoN
“I think that’s the power. When people come and say, ‘have you seen this?’ This is for pre-registration student who are coming to their workplace. ‘Have you not seen this before? This is actually very useful. You need to access it. It’s free.’” – S5-UoN
One of the student suggested that we should find a way to link the TIGER resources to the mainstream university systems.
“Another thing I was thinking about is like Athens. It’s well publicised. Every student knows about Athens. I think the TIGER should go into the mainstream university so that people can access it as well… It should be properly launched.” – S3-UoN
Some students suggested that we promote the resources through the practice educators and key individuals in the trusts and health committees who are responsible for practice education.
“I think you need to find those key individuals within whatever the trusts or health committees. The group of people would be key. If you’re going to specific individuals who are responsible for education within those work areas, it would be more successful. I think it’s up to the key individuals who’re prepared to prompt the resources and introduce it, and they know how the system works to be able to introduce it within the organisation.” – S2-UoN
“Probably through managers, through CPDs [Continuing Professional Development], then that will have that effect. Now there are a lot of e-learning courses on the internet, the mandatory one, so probably that can be slotted in for people to access it.” – S3-UoN
The students also raised some questions on the repository and resources. For example,
- Do you foresee once it’s been there for a while, other people will put stuff in it?
- Can we put essays that we write into the repository at some point?
- Is it just for health professionals who are doing an educational programme or is it for all health professionals in general?
Their questions gave us some indications about what concerns students might have regarding the resources and how we might address them in future.
Ming Nie 03 Oct 2011