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Facilitating Practioner Networks: Do weblogs have a role in promoting collaborative learnining in HIA?

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Poster for the IAIA conference in Stavanger in 2006. The information seems dated now, but blogs were still a relatively new platform back then. ...

Poster for the IAIA conference in Stavanger in 2006. The information seems dated now, but blogs were still a relatively new platform back then.

The blog is still going strong:
http://healthimpactassessment.blogspot.com

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    Facilitating Practioner Networks: Do weblogs have a role in promoting collaborative learnining in HIA? Facilitating Practioner Networks: Do weblogs have a role in promoting collaborative learnining in HIA? Document Transcript

    • Facilitating Practioner Networks Do weblogs have a role in promoting collaborative learnining in HIA? CENTRE FOR HEALTH EQUITY TRAINING, RESEARCH & EVALUTION Ben Harris-Roxas, Patrick Harris, Lynn Kemp, Elizabeth Harris Introduction The New South Wales Health Impact Assessment HIA Connect Blog Sample Post 2 Canvassing Practical Concerns Project (CHETRE 2006) seeks to buid capacity across government to undertake health impact assessment http://chetre.med.unsw.edu.au/hia (HIA). Though a HIA website and e-newsletter were developed early in the project, a need was identified for an additional mechanism to enable commun- ication and discussion between the growing body of HIA practitioners in New South Wales, Australia Readership by Country and internationally. Ireland What We Did We established a weblog, or blog, to facilitate dialog Denmark Spain between HIA practitioners. Blogs are distinct from Other traditional websites in that they facilitate regular United updating, allowing any reader to comment on posts Kingdom and can accommodate a large number of contrib- uting authors. Canada What We Found We identified a number of ways in which blogs USA Australia could be used for HIA-related purposes: 1. Individuals using blogs to document and share their personal experience of undertaking HIA, for cathartic or reflective purposes (Kahn & Kellner 2004); 2. Organisations using blogs to share information within organisations, comment on topical or tech- nical issues and to showcase their HIA experience to a wider audience (Schwartz 2005); and This problem doesn't have a clear-cut solution. Attitudes to 3. Practitioner networks using blogs to share practical tips, information and tacit knowledge, as is the case with the HIA Connect Blog (Nardi et al 2004). blog use may change incrementally and generationally, however it is also important to write posts that encourage So What? Blogs are not a panacea. They are more redimentary in design comments and to take the time to acknowledge and respond to than newsletters, more labour intensive than email listservs and Challenges comments that are made. digital divide issues Effective blog use requires internet access and a higher than less engaging than conferences. Blogs do however represent a useful addition to these approaches for promoting interaction changing the way people use the net between groups or networks. The process of commenting on posts represents a average level of comfort using the web, assumptions that may Blogs have the capacity to operate as network hubs (Bachnik considerable departure from the traditional, passive exclude many people within the HIA field and the community et al 2005), linking a number of activities. This has obvious model of web use. Despite having a number of at large. It is important to recognise this as a major drawback of relevance beyond HIA to other impact assessment and regular visitors we have experienced difficulty in using blogs; they should only be utilised as an adjunct to, rather professional networks, allowing disparate and potentially far- encouraging users to comment on the issues raised. than a substitute for, other network-promoting activities. flung practitioner networks to exchange ideas and experience. If blogs are to genuinely operate as a tool for from readers to authors practitioner networks rather than simply being sources of information it is crucial that this hurdle be If a blog is to maintain a reasonably constant rate of updating it requires a number of contributing authors. To date we have had Sample Post 3 overcome. difficulty finding other HIA practitioners with an interest in Raising Issues becoming authors, though this remains a major goal and reflects Sample Post 1 our desire to build capacity and leadership around HIA. censorship Reporting Research, To further complicate issues involved in using blogs an increas- Promoting Discussion ing number of servers are blocking access to them (Null 2005). This is primarily being done to limit the amount of what is seen as workplace procrastination, though a number of organisations have stated that they are blocking access in an effort to prevent sensitive information being posted on the web by employees. Glossary blogs References Blogs, or weblogs, are regularly updated websites, Bachnik W, Szymczyk S, Leszcznksi P, Podsiadlo R et al. displaying the newest information at the top. A blog Quantitive and sociological analysis of blog networks, usually combines text, images and links to other Acta Physica Polonica B 36(10): 3179-3191, 2005. websites related to its topic. th-www.if.uj.edu.pl/acta/vol36/pdf/v36p3179.pdf CHETRE. NSW Health Impact Assessment Project, posts Centre for Health Equity Training, Research and Evaluation, Posts are the articles that make up blogs. They typ- accessed 17 March 2006. ically use a conversational style. chetre.med.unsw.edu.au/hia/nsw_hia_project.htm commenting Kahn R, Kellner D. New Media and Internet Activism: Blogs allow users to comment on posts, meaning From the 'Battle of Seattle' to blogging, New Media & that visitors can share their opinions and debate Society 6(1): 87-95, 2004. issues raised. Nardi B, Schiano D, Gumbrecht M, Swartz L. Why We Blog, Communications of the ACM 47(12): 41-46, 2004. feeds Null C. No Longer Safe for Work: Blogs, Wired News 24 Feeds allow blog users to stay up to date with blog October 2005, accessed 17 march 2006. content without having to visit the blog. Software www.wired.com/news/technology/0,1282,69298,00.html known as feed or news aggregators automatically Schwartz J. If You Want to Lead, Blog, Harvard Business download the RSS or Atom files that make up the Review 83(11): 30, 2005. feed. multiple authors Authors’ Affiliation Blogs can have multiple authors, with each author Centre for Health Equity Training, Research & Evaluation, offering differing persepctives and areas of expertise. University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia LMB 7103, Liverpool BC NSW 1871, AUSTRALIA web: www.chetre.med.unsw.edu.au/hia email: b.harris-roxas@unsw.edu.au