Using blogs for criticalreflection in the MPH classAllison Stevens2013
Why blog?• Additional learning not afforded by othertechniques• opportunity to interact and learn fromcolleagues, get additional insights fromlecturers• Most students in literature say that it is usefulLiterature cited in Dr Cheryl Brown and Prof Dick Ngamabi e/merge virtualconference presentation in 2012.
Learning about theMicroeconomics of thehealth sectorTwo compulsoryassignmentsOne compulsoryseminarpresentationBlog – optionalparticipation
Reflection• Becoming aware of and assessing taken forgranted assumptions in order to construct amore valid belief (Mezirow 1991)• Its about the “you plus course material” (Ross2012)• The kind of thinking that consists of turning asubject over in the mind and giving it seriousand consecutive consideration (Burnett andLingam 2007)
Critical reflection• Involves giving reasons for decisions or events,which takes into account the broaderhistorical, social and/or political contexts(adapted from Hatton and Smith, 1995)
Critical reflection• Challenge assumptions• Contextual awareness• Imaginative speculation• Question universal truths or unexaminedpatterns of interactionLiterature cited in Dr Cheryl Brown and Prof Dick Ngamabi e/merge virtualconference presentation in 2012.
Blogging• Online journal that users can update in theirown words (Matheson 2004)• Enables reflection• Research suggests use of blogs positivelyaffects depth and breadth of learning (Stilerand Phileo 2003)
Reflection in our module• Closed blogs on Vula• Use as learning journals• Participation in the blog is optional– 4 meaningful blog contributions over the ….period– Read and comment on 2 or 3 other blogs– Teachers will comment and prompt thinking inyour blogs
Why participate?Comments from MPH students in the U.S. whoopted to use blogs:• “….I found it a good way to discuss conceptsand participate in further discussion. It alsoallowed the sharing of up-to-date informationthat would not have been possible in lecturetime”• “Learning is for ourselves, not just for marks”Source of quotes: Williams, J.B. Jacobs, J. 2004. Exploring the use of blogs as learning spaces in the higher education sector. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology. 20(2)m 232-247
Example• MPH student in the U.S. criticall reflects on course materialin his blog:A New England Journal article recently addressed “TheAsthma Epidemic.” Most of the environmental causes of therecent increase are unknown, but the authors do recommend“[a]voidance of passive and active exposure to smoke,” assmoke exposure is thought to be causally linked to asthmaonset. As a pediatrician who works at a community healthcenter with a large percentage of Dominican patients, I thinkthis approach is ideal for many of the health problemsaffecting my patients. A perfect example would be obesity. Aneffective strategy needs to be culturally sensitive, community-motivated, collaborative, and educational.Adapted from http://seminardemo.blogspot.com/
Global Symposium onHealth Systems Research• Supports blogging and social mediaintervention for emerging public health andhealth care professionals• http://www.ev4gh.net/EV2012-details.html
What to blog about• You critically reflect on what you learnt from lecture/ reading / assignment [explain critical reflection][examples ?]– Your classmates comment on your postings –discuss concepts online - Comments fromcolleagues – learn from each other– Bonus: Insights from John– Another bonus: The student whose blogdemonstrates the most critical reflection will getthe opportunity to write a blog for the HEU, whichwe will disseminate to all our contacts
How to blog?• Writing style does NOT have to be academic• Personal style• Informal
AcknowledgementsThank you to UCT’s 2012 e/merge virtualconference for prompting the attempt toblogs in the MPH class (in particular thepresentation by Dr Cheryl Brown and ProfDick Ngamabi)