Networked Social Media in Learning, Teaching and Research


Published on

Author: Dr. Maged N. Kamel Boulos, MBBCh, MSc (Derm), MSc (Med Informatics), PhD, FHEA, SMIEEE
Associate Professor in Health Informatics
University of Plymouth, UK
Themes covered:
Networked Social Media in Learning and Teaching (contexts: higher education; medicine and healthcare, including patient education and clinicians’ collaboration and CPD—Continuing Professional Development).
Networked Social Media in Research (both as a primary focus for research and as tools/enablers in research).
The above two themes are interrelated and frequently overlap in research-led higher education institutions (research-informed teaching and practice).

  • Be the first to comment

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide
  • Networked Social Media in Learning, Teaching and Research

    1. 1. Networked Social Media in Learning, Teaching and Research Maged N. Kamel Boulos, MBBCh, MSc, PhD, FHEA, SMIEEE Associate Professor in Health Informatics University of Plymouth, UK
    2. 2. Founder &
    3. 3. Workshop Themes • Networked Social Media in Learning and Teaching (contexts: higher education; medicine and healthcare, including patient education and clinicians’ collaboration and CPD—Continuing Professional Development). • Networked Social Media in Research (both as a primary focus for research and as tools/enablers in research). • The above two themes are interrelated and frequently overlap in research-led higher education institutions (research-informed teaching and practice). Format: Slides and videos (7 video clips - 30 min. total): include practical and how-to examples/demos; Audience interactivity: Q&A opportunities throughout the day and small-group reflective activity/discussions.
    4. 4. General Agenda • Overview of Networked Social Media in health/healthcare education and research, including a research agenda for the coming years. • Social Web tools for virtual collaborative practice and learning/CPD in medicine and health (covers Wikis, blogs, micro-blogs, podcasts, YouTube and SlideShare). • Introduction to 3-D Virtual Worlds. • Research example: UOP Sexual Health SIM in Second Life® (2007-2009)—covers the use of Virtual Patients and of Social Media Marketing and Captology techniques in Virtual Worlds. • Research example: Novel emergency/public health situation rooms using 4-D GIS (incorporating 3-D Virtual Worlds, Virtual Globes and other NSM tools). • Small-group activity/reflection exercise.
    5. 5. Logos of City of Plymouth and University of Plymouth (inset, red), Plymouth, UK Photo © MNK Boulos
    6. 6. Overview of Networked Social Media in Health/Healthcare Education and Research A Research Agenda
    7. 7. Agenda • What are Networked Social Media (NSM)? (Includes a brief critique of the term “Web 2.0”) • NSM as enablers of positive change in education and health, including self-help and peer-to-peer support, and the challenges that need to be addressed. • A research agenda: – Establishing the evidence regarding the use of NSM in higher education, health/healthcare and social care, and establishing and informing best practices; – Identifying and researching associated barriers/ problems and workarounds; – Looking into how various disciplines, technologies and applications have been affected by, and are affecting, NSM; • Social Web mining – Virtual worlds and social networks as large social research labs like never before; and – Select highlights from PubMed (Mar-Jun 2010).
    8. 8. Aug 2006/Jan 2007
    9. 9. Popular PowerPoint [MN Kamel Boulos - April 2007 - 32 slides - PDF - 2.7MB: eb2_3DWeb_SecondLife.pdf - also available on SlideShare (6779 views as at 23/5/2010)]
    10. 10. Social Web / Networked Social Media • Social Web or Networked Social Media (NSM) are mediated environments where people (including students and faculty in higher education) can use their computer or mobile phone to connect with others, share information, and generate content, among other things. • Example tools include wikis, e.g., Wikipedia, social network sites, e.g., MySpace, Facebook, LinkedIn, Sermo; media sharing platforms, e.g., YouTube, Flickr, SlideShare; blogging and micro-blogging, e.g., Twitter and; social bookmarking, e.g., Delicious; 3-D virtual worlds, e.g., Second Life®; and 3-D virtual globes, e.g., Google Earth™.
    11. 11.
    12. 12.
    13. 13. Social Web / Networked Social Media • Practices involved in NSM include tagging (using loose, user-created vocabularies or folksonomies), user generated content, copy/paste code creation, and code and content remixing (mashups). • Many universities, as well as health and social care providers, particularly in the US, are already using NSM extensively, e.g., the US CDC—Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (, as well as a good number of hospitals (e.g., US list at • Even those organisations with the strictest and most conservative Internet access/use policies and regulations in place could not evade the latest NSM wave, e.g., the US DoD—Department of Defense (
    14. 14.
    15. 15.
    16. 16. Web 2.0? • NSM are sometimes inaccurately referred to as “Web 2.0”. Such versioning of the Web is better avoided (I must admit I have used the term in some of my papers including in the title of one of my early papers on the subject back in Dec 2006 and in some of my early presentations). • Confusion regarding “Web 3.0”: Is it the Semantic Web? 3-D virtual worlds? • As Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the Web, would say, the Web has been conceived as a social medium and a sharing and communication platform from the very start (see
    17. 17. Web 2.0? • The Web (b 1990) just grew more popular (= deeper and much more branching social networks and links over time), and more affordable and usable over the past two decades, to become what we have today and what we currently observe as the prominent social aspects and opportunities of the Web. • But the core principles and concepts of online communities and users’ sharing, repackaging and repurposing of online content have always been there in one form or another since the very early days of the Web (e.g., the first wiki, WikiWikiWeb, appeared 16 years ago, in 1994), and even predate the Web (e.g., could be recognised in the 1980s CompuServe dialup service).
    18. 18. Fast Technology Evolution Not Concept Revolution • HTML5
    19. 19. Video Station: But Some Would Still Argue It’s a Revolution… • Social Media Revolution 2 (Refresh) – 4 min : 25 sec Hardcover: 288 pages Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (August 24, 2009) Language: English ISBN-10: 0470477237 ISBN-13: 978-0470477236 Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 5.9 x 1.1 inches
    20. 20. NSM as Enablers of Positive Change in Education and Health • The technologies that enable NSM are rapidly changing the way we interact with others, get information, and do business in the higher education and health and social care sectors. • NSM are enablers of participatory learning and learners-centred education, and of participatory healthcare and patient-centred care, in which students’ and patients’ engagement and empowerment are keys to improving educational (in case of students) and clinical (in case of patients) outcomes.
    21. 21. Self-help and Peer-to-peer Support • Learners’ self-help and mutual help in online learners’ communities (these are not costly to realise) can play a key role in improving the overall quality of education and relieving some of the existing burden on higher education institutions in developing countries, where human and financial resources are constrained and facilities (e.g., labs and classrooms) are overpopulated. • Patients’ self-help also has a strategic importance in that it can help relieve some of the increasing burden on the already constrained conventional healthcare systems (e.g., acute care hospitals) in developing as well as developed countries.
    22. 22. An Online Journal Club  Users (clinicians and clinical students) can rate and discuss medical literature, and critically appraise and share their thoughts on any paper instantly online.  This has the potential of improving communication amongst physicians and leading to better understanding and interpretation of medical literature.
    23. 23.
    24. 24. But… PharmacyNews/newsarticle.aspx?id=3308 participatory-medicine-such-a-tough-sell.html
    25. 25. Engaging Patients in Care Poses Many Challenges • The least difficult of these challenges is related to access (digital divide). A recent study by the Pew Internet and American Life Project and the California HealthCare Foundation found that people fighting chronic illnesses are less likely than others to have Internet access, but once online they are more likely to blog or participate in online discussions about health problems ( • Other much-tougher-to-address challenges include the potential of NSM to spread misinformation (Scanfeld et al., 2010)* and the related difficulties in controlling the quality of the very vast amounts of user generated content. * Scanfeld D, Scanfeld V, Larson EL. Dissemination of health information through social networks: twitter and antibiotics. Am J Infect Control. 2010 Apr;38(3):182-8.
    26. 26. What About Higher Education? • Similarly, engaging students in participatory learning using NSM tools has got its own challenges. • Access/digital divide is one of those challenges, especially in developing countries. • But the biggest challenge is ‘How do we make proper and best use of NSM to enhance our learning and teaching?’ ‘How do we foster vibrant online social learning communities of learners and practitioners?’ • We always need to remember that pedagogy rather than technology should always be the main driver and formulator for change.
    27. 27. Tinside Pool—Seafront, Plymouth, UK – Photo © MNK Boulos
    28. 28. A Research Agenda • Research is still needed to answer many questions and address various issues associated with the use of NSM in medical and health education (clinical students/professionals and patients/members of general public) and health and social care in general. • The following slides will provide some examples of research areas and topics that can be further explored in this respect (not an exhaustive list).
    29. 29. A Research Agenda • Establishing the evidence regarding the use of NSM in higher education, health/healthcare and social care, and establishing and informing best practices in this respect: – Measuring and tracking the uptake of NSM in the higher education and health and social care sectors. How many universities (medical and nursing schools) and healthcare providers are using social media, and what are the motivations behind getting started, etc. – Exploring how NSM may be used in online learning communities and properly integrated into existing e- learning tools; and – Information/Misinformation: Finding how NSM may provide a venue to identify misuse or misunderstanding of health/clinical information, promote positive behaviour change, disseminate valid information, and exploring how such tools can be used to gather real-time health data for surveillance purposes (we will revisit this last point later).
    30. 30. A Research Agenda • Identifying and researching associated barriers/ problems and workarounds; for example: – Technology and tools issues, e.g., NSM standards and interoperability, as well as user interface issues with the transition from the PC era (desktops and full-size notebooks) to the mobile era (small form factor Internet devices), which together with the very heterogeneous spectrum of NSM modalities, have direct implications on how Social Web applications and experiences should be designed and prescribed, so that students (m-learning or mobile learning), members of the general public, patients, and clinicians, including users with special accessibility needs, such as older people/people with disabilities and students with special learning needs, can all participate, make best use of social media in their health/social care and their education (for students), and no one is excluded (eInclusion); and
    31. 31. A Research Agenda (Identifying and researching associated barriers/ problems and workarounds – Cont’d) – Knowledge management/Semantic Web issues (e.g., how to make folksonomies more reliable and consistent to improve NSM resource discovery and retrieval, and semantic wikis*), among other issues; and – Legal** and ethical issues (copyrights/ licensing, privacy, provider’s liability, cyber-harassment, protecting vulnerable groups, etc.). * Kamel Boulos MN. Semantic Wikis: A Comprehensible Introduction with Examples from the Health Sciences. Journal of Emerging Technologies in Web Intelligence. 2009; 1(1):94-96. ** Setback for scientists conducting Social Web mining research:
    32. 32. While tags allow users to freely describe resources by subject using their own words, barriers remain to their effectiveness as tools for resource discovery and retrieval. The lack of a controlled vocabulary means that the relationship between concepts and the words used to describe them may not be consistent. ^ Explore bookmarks of like-minded people
    33. 33. A Research Agenda • How various disciplines, technologies and applications have been affected by, and are affecting, NSM; for example: – GIS (Geographic Information Systems), once the exclusive domain of highly specialised/skilled scientists and professionals have been “wikified” for the masses (neogography and volunteered geographic information (VGI) and annotations/information layers contributed by the general public), paving the way for many participatory GIS applications, location- aware services, and geo-mashups in education, health and public health;* * Kamel Boulos MN, Scotch M, Cheung KH, Burden D. Web GIS in practice VI: a demo playlist of geo-mashups for public health neogeographers. Int J Health Geogr. 2008 Jul 18;7:38.
    34. 34. A Research Agenda (How various disciplines, technologies and applications have been affected by, and are affecting, NSM – Cont’d) – Other domains that have been reshaped by NSM include cybermedicine/cyberhealth (mass health education of the public, including members of the public educating and supporting each other), e.g., our sexual health education project in virtual worlds (,* and higher education/e-learning, e.g., novel teaching methods with Twitter. * Kamel Boulos MN, Toth-Cohen S. The University of Plymouth Sexual Health SIM experience in Second Life®: evaluation and reflections after one year. Health Information and Libraries Journal. 2009; 26(4): 279-288 -
    35. 35. A Research Agenda (How various disciplines, technologies and applications have been affected by, and are affecting, NSM – Cont’d) – Public health and environmental surveillance have also been significantly affected by NSM, forming the new emerging fields of infodemiology/infosurveillance and technosocial predictive analytics that use aggregated, real-time NSM feeds (e.g., blog posts and Twitter tweets from whole populations), NSM mining methods, and 3-D virtual worlds (serious gaming)/4-D (3-D + Temporal dimension) participatory GIS, among other methods, to perform various public health, environmental health and national security surveillance and response tasks (e.g., monitoring population health trends based on Social Web activity: early detection of bioterrorist attacks and of disease outbreaks; disaster/emergency modelling and real-time management applications in immersive environments; etc.).* * Kamel Boulos MN, Sanfilippo AP, Corley CD, Wheeler S. Social Web mining and exploitation for serious applications: Technosocial Predictive Analytics and related technologies for public health, environmental and national security surveillance. Comput Methods Programs Biomed. 2010 Mar 15. [Epub ahead of print]
    36. 36. Social Web Mining Kamel Boulos MN, Sanfilippo AP, Corley CD, Wheeler S. Social Web mining and exploitation for serious applications: Technosocial Predictive Analytics and related technologies for public health, environmental and national security surveillance. Comput Methods Programs Biomed. 2010 Mar 15. [Epub ahead of print] 2010.02.007
    37. 37. Social Web Mining • Analysing Social Web (e.g., blogs, Twitter, etc.) post aggregates in real or near-real-time can give us a good indication of the prevailing public opinion(s) of corresponding communities regarding different matters of interest. It can tell us about the general public mood and where ‘the wisdom of the (online) crowds’ is pointing, acting like a measure of the psychosocial “pulse” and beat of online societies. • As more and more people are getting connected these days to the Internet all over the world, online societies are rapidly becoming a good mirror of offline, conventional societies, and the Social Web is quickly becoming a strategic place of choice to reach out to them and influence them on a large scale in ways that were never possible a few decades ago, e.g., using ‘viral’ (rapidly spreading) videos and other forms of ‘viral’ social marketing techniques.* * Gosselin P, Poitras P. Use of an Internet “viral” marketing software platform in health promotion. J Med Internet Res. 2008 Nov 26;10(4):e47.
    38. 38. • Moreover, by tracking the change in Social Web post aggregates over time after some Social Web opinion, attitude, and/or behaviour-shaping intervention has been made, one can monitor and assess the effectiveness of such an intervention and tweak or retarget it as necessary. • To achieve this vision, technologies for immersive multimedia collaborative environments for distributed teams,* as well as techniques for automated or semi-automated, reliable harvesting, filtering and aggregation of social media feeds, and for analysing and visualising the aggregates (in real time/near real time and/or periodically) have to be developed to provide meaningful insights, e.g., dashboards identifying: disease trends/unfolding outbreaks, the spread of misinformation about drugs or other health-related issues in NSM, information gaps and needs on the Social Web, etc. * Kamel Boulos MN. Novel emergency/public health situation rooms and more using 4-D GIS. Presented at: ISPRS WG IV/4 International Workshop on Virtual Changing Globe for Visualisation & Analysis (VCGVA2009), Wuhan University, Wuhan, Hubei, China, 27–28 October, 2009 (Published in ISPRS Archives, vol. XXXVIII ISSN No: 1682-1777 PART 4/W10).
    39. 39. Left: An early (quite primitive) live Twitter dashboard: Below: Google Flu Trends:
    40. 40. Social Web Mining Computational Social Network Analysis “This US NIH FOA (Funding Opportunity Announcement) encourages basic research that will: generate new theories that can further social network analysis; address fundamental questions about the relationship between social networks and health; and develop methodological and technological innovations to facilitate and extend social network analyses.”
    41. 41. A Research Agenda • Virtual worlds and social networks can act as large social research lab like never before: They offer social scientists, psychologists and educationalists an unparalleled opportunity to study and model human (including student) behaviour in both the physical and online worlds. – Issues that can be investigated here include: how learning happens in NSM, society and identity in NSM, NSM avatars as Life® VSecond forms of self-representation, how we perceive other people online, what a virtual crowd looks like, how social conventions develop in NSM (various NSM modalities will yield different answers), what are people’s incentives for spreading information and how and why do they distribute content (e.g., “viral” videos on YouTube), how (and how fast) misinformation gets rectified in NSM channels (“Darwikinism”), and how can we understand and harness the flows of content in the context of everyday health and social care practices and needs.
    42. 42.
    43. 43. Select Highlights from PubMed (Mar-Jun 2010) 1963 2006
    44. 44. Select Highlights from PubMed (Mar-Jun 2010)
    45. 45. The Barbican, Plymouth, UK – Photo © MNK Boulos
    46. 46. Social Web Tools for Virtual Collaborative Practice and Learning/CPD in Medicine and Health Wikis, blogs, micro-blogs, podcasts, YouTube and SlideShare
    47. 47. Agenda • Introduction • Wikis • Blogs • General Advantages (Ease of Use, Free/Open Source Software/Hosting Options), Disadvantages (Vandalism and Quality Issues, Content Copyrights) and Remedies (Monitoring and Moderation, ‘Closed Environment’ Scenario) • Micro-blogs (Twitter) • Podcasts and m-Learning (Mobile Learning) • YouTube and SlideShare • What’s Next?
    48. 48. Introduction • The current generation of collaborative Web-based tools, namely wikis, blogs/micro-blogs/photoblogs, podcasts/vodcasts and SlideShare/YouTube, offer many unique and powerful information sharing and collaboration features. • They also have the added advantage of taking the technical skill out of these features, allowing users to focus on the information and collaborative tasks themselves—minus delivery obstacles. • These tools carry the potential of complementing, improving and adding new social and collaborative dimensions to the many Web-based medical/health education, CPD*, and research services we have today. * CPD = Continuing Professional Development
    49. 49. Wikis • A wiki (from Hawaiian wiki, to hurry, swift) is a collaborative Web site whose content can be edited by anyone who has access to it.* • Perhaps the best example of a wiki in action today is ‘Wikipedia – The Free Encyclopedia’ • Special conferences have been and are being organised to discuss wikis; for example, the Wikimania conference series Page, and the ACM (Association for Computing Machinery)-sponsored WikiSym conference series ______________ *
    50. 50. Health/Medical Wiki Examples
    51. 51. Health/Medical Wiki Examples The purpose of the Flu Wiki is to help local communities prepare for, and perhaps cope with, a possible influenza pandemic. If we can pool and share our knowledge, we can advance preparation for, and the ability to cope with, events. This is not meant to be a substitute for planning, preparation and implementation by civil authorities, but a parallel effort that complements, supports and extends those efforts.
    52. 52. RSS Feeds Wikis, blogs and podcasts all use RSS*, which is now natively supported by/built into Web browsers such as Windows Internet Explorer 7/8 and later. Users can easily set up ‘feeds’ to automatically receive updates from their favourite services. * RSS = Really Simple Syndication
    53. 53. Health/Medical Wiki Examples
    54. 54. Wikis: Easy Editing (except where protected)
    55. 55. Wikis: Versioning Capability • All past changes to the page in question are listed in reverse- chronological order. • To view a specific version, click a date.
    56. 56. Wikis: Versioning Capability Tip: Citing a wiki page in your work can be very tricky (unless one uses the ‘permanent link’ feature in MediaWiki to point to a specific revision of that page). Because of the dynamic editable nature of wikis, a page might significantly change and become a totally different article than the one you were originally referring to (while still maintaining the same URL).
    57. 57. Wikis: Comparing Versions
    58. 58. Wikis: Article Discussions
    59. 59. Wikis in Education • Wikis are democratic and promote negotiation. • Wikis work in real time, permitting public document construction, i.e., distributed authorship. • Wiki policies can be set to endorse particular ways of writing (e.g., NPOV—see • Some possible uses: – Easily create and update simple Web sites with added content organisation and navigation features, e.g., interlinked pages, content categories and templates ( – Group authoring, e.g., for instructors: collaborative curriculum design/course content authoring. – Project development with peer review. – Data collection. – Track a (research/student) group project. • Wikis can pose some difficulties when assessing (grading) individual student work (within a group); the collective assessment of group work, however, should be straightforward. A free wiki engine that you can install on your own server (same engine running Wikipedia) >
    60. 60. Semantic Wikis Kamel Boulos MN. Semantic Wikis: A Comprehensible Introduction with Examples from the Health Sciences. JETWI - Journal of Emerging Technologies in Web Intelligence. 2009 Aug; 1(1):94-96.
    61. 61. Blogs • A related Web information sharing technology is the ‘blog’. A blog (WeBLOG) is a Web site that contains dated entries in reverse chronological order (most recent first) about a particular topic area.* • Functioning as an online journal, blogs can be written by one person or a single group of contributors. • Entries contain commentary and links to other Web sites; images and embedded videos (e.g., from YouTube), as well as a search facility may also be included. • Readers may post comments on blog entries (where allowed by the blog owner). *
    62. 62. Health/Medical Blog Examples
    63. 63. Health/Medical Blog Examples
    64. 64. Basic Blog Features Each post to the blog is also a standalone Web page with a unique URL. This facilitates linking to, and organising content within the same blog and from external sites. On blogs where feeds are enabled by owner Automatic feed detection in Internet Explorer and Firefox.
    65. 65. Basic Blog Features: Easy Posting Posting a clinical photo from your digital camera directly to your blog after optimisation and adding your comments can also be made at the touch of a button using, for example, the free Google Picasa application. This screenshot is from Google Blogger Another blog engine, WordPress, is equally easy to use.
    66. 66. Blog Features: Posting Photos Also these days mobile phones with 2+ megapixel cameras can instantly post good resolution clinical photos to photoblogs/ moblogs on the Web.
    67. 67. Blog Features: Easy Posting – Blog Editing in Microsoft Word 2010
    68. 68. Basic Blog Features: Labels and Readers’ Comments Only on blogs where readers’ comments are enabled by owner. A blog owner can also choose to enable comment moderation and to turn off comment posting by Anonymous users. Blog posts can be tagged and categorised by labels or tags.
    69. 69. Blogs in Education • Quoting – Blogs are a personal writing space. Easy, sharable, automatically archived. – Blogs are easily linked and cross-linked to form learning communities. – Blogs can become digital portfolios of students’ assignments and achievements. – Blogs are a novice’s Web authoring tool. – Way to improve own writing.
    70. 70. Source:
    71. 71. Blogs in Education • For instructors/researchers: – Networking and personal knowledge sharing. – Reflective practice logbook (gathering and filing evidence from own practice, plus reflections). – Instructional tips, course announcements, annotated links and readings for students. – Posting research project updates. • For students: – Assignment submission and review (tutor can use the comments function to comment on student work). – Share course-related resources with fellow students and tutors. – Reflective learning and writing journals. – e-portfolios, e.g., for Keys Skills’ development, evidence-filing/ documentation and assessment. – Posting student group project updates. • Blogs can be run on university intranets/as a protected and closed (access-controlled) environment, where necessary.
    72. 72. Wikis vs. blogs • There are similarities and areas of overlap between wikis and blogs, but, by design, wikis are more suited than blogs for collaborative/group writing and editing, and also as content management tools, while blogs could be thought of as two-way conversations between an individual author (or team) and his/her/their audience. • Quoting Blogs and Wikis in Teaching at QUT –Update (5/5/2006), “Both technologies can be useful tools in different teaching contexts, and it is simply important to make an informed choice as to which may be more appropriate for any one case. The key difference between them is usually the underlying organisation of information (temporal in blogs, spatial in wikis), and the answer to which one should be used can often be found right there already. So, blogs can be useful for ongoing personal/group reflection, or for the incremental development of skills/gathering of information/provision of feedback; wikis can be useful for compiling information and ideas in an ad hoc form, with informational structures emerging as information is being compiled.”
    73. 73. Wikis vs. blogs • However, this suggested “spatial” Combining the concepts of (hierarchical categorisation of content)/ both blogs and wikis, a bliki is temporal differentiation between wikis and a blog with wiki support. blogs might not be very accurate. For example, wikis (and their discussion or ‘talk pages’) have powerful date-and-time- stamped versioning capabilities, with many potential uses in a teaching and learning context. Wikis also feature RSS/Atom-feed- enabled special pages for ‘Recent changes’, where changes/edits/posts to the wiki are listed chronologically. And in wiki pages powered by MediaWiki, editors can easily request the system to add a date-time stamp to whatever material they post (just type: ~~~~). • IBM wiki history flow is another (visual) evidence for the temporal and evolving nature/aspects of wikis.
    74. 74. General Advantages, Disadvantages and Remedies • Two main big advantages: Ease of use and availability of many Open Source/free/low-cost software and hosting options. • Examples of the latter include MediaWiki (Open Sourcethe same software package that runs Wikipedia), Google Blogger (free) and WordPress (free)
    75. 75. Disadvantages • Wikis and blogs are sometimes prone to vandalism and, as a result, serious quality issues, because of their free form nature and the (relative/potential) lack of control over their content (though this can be the very strength of wikis and blogs—see • In an open collaborative Web environment, anyone can very easily post copyrighted material without the permission of copyright holders, post otherwise unsuitable or misleading content, edit existing content in a way that reduces its quality/accuracy, or even delete/blank a good wiki entry.
    76. 76. Wiki Vandalism • There are two main types of vandalism—manual and automated (see The latter is carried out using vandalbots (see • A famous example of manual vandalism is the case of Wikipedia’s false ‘biography’ of John Seigenthaler Sr. (May 2005): • Wikipedia:Counter-Vandalism Unit Vandalism_Unit
    77. 77. Wikis and Plagiarism/Copyright Violation See Wikipedia:Spotting possible copyright violations Wikipedia:Spotting_possible_ copyright_violations < Template:Copyvio ( Template:Copyvio)
    78. 78. Quality Issues Lack of vital article meta- information • All what one finds in wikis are IP addresses and nicknames. • The lack of clear and complete authorship/ editorship information attached to each wiki entry, including authors’/editors’ affiliations and credentials, is a very serious quality issue encountered in most wiki- based encyclopaedias these days.
    79. 79. As at 29 May 2010 Links on this slide: • • _engage_academic_experts_and_students_to_improve_public_policy_information • •
    80. 80. Giles J. Internet encyclopaedias go head to head. Nature. 2005 Dec 15;438(7070):900-1.
    81. 81. Clauson KA, Polen HH, Kamel Boulos MN, Dzenowagis JH. Scope, completeness, and accuracy of drug information in Wikipedia. Ann Pharmacother. 2008 Dec;42(12):1814-21. No factual errors were found in our sample of drug information entries from Wikipedia, BUT Wikipedia has a more narrow scope, is less complete, and has more errors of omission than the comparator database (Medscape). Wikipedia may be a useful point of engagement for consumers, but is not authoritative and should only be a supplemental source of drug information.
    82. 82. Encyclopedia Britannica now tapping into the ‘wisdom of crowds’!
    83. 83. Remedies: Monitoring and Moderation of Open Wikis and Blogs • Options include: – Monitoring and moderating posts, and deleting/reverting (rollback) edits as necessary; – Protecting (rendering ‘read-only’) key/stable content (there are actually multiple types and levels of protection that can be applied—see for full details); – Controlling who can post; and – Blocking specific (problematic) users/IP addresses. • Wiki and blog software packages have built-in Administrator’s functionalities to support these tasks. • Can become very time-consuming/human resource intensive.
    84. 84. Remedies: ‘Closed Environment’ Scenario • Enforce, check, and limit wiki and blog registration and editing privileges to select, well-defined, and verifiable special interest groups or communities of users. • Posting/editing articles on these wikis and blogs will thus be limited to select, well-known and trustworthy people. • Everyone else would still be able to access/read the wiki or blog and, if required, also post limited (moderated) comments (to build a community). (Read-only access and posting limited moderated comments/discussion topics can also be blocked by the Administrator, if deemed necessary.) • Once a trustworthy expert is identified among external readers (based on the quality of his/her posted comments and further private communication with them), they can also be granted posting/editing privileges (and in this way the (closed) pool of editors will keep growing).
    85. 85. “A wiki on gene function, which utilises the collective brain power of biologists around the world, would be an invaluable tool for biological sciences.” Wang K. Gene-function wiki would let biologists pool worldwide resources. Nature. 2006 Feb 2;439(7076):534.
    86. 86. The Barbican, Plymouth, UK – Photo © MNK Boulos
    87. 87. Micro-blogs
    88. 88. How-to A 2009 study based on >11 million users revealed that 10% of Twitter users contribute 86% of all activity! This slide and the next one have been adapted with modifications from:
    89. 89. Uses ‘Real life’ happens between blogs and e-mails (small events or pieces of information/updates that do not warrant writing a full blog post or sending an e-mail about them). Research: mining Twitter aggregates.
    90. 90. Other Micro-blogging Services (Twitter Alts)
    91. 91. Podcasts and m-Learning (Mobile Learning) • Podcasting’s essence is about creating content (audio or video—vodcasts) for an audience that wants to listen when they want, where they want, and how they want. • Origin of the term:* – The term ‘podcasting’ was first mentioned by Ben Hammersley in The Guardian newspaper in a February 2004 article, (although the article did not detail the use of the RSS protocol or automatic synchronisation, which are central to podcasting). – It is a portmanteau of the words ‘pod’, derived from iPod, a brand of portable media player produced by Apple, and ‘broadcasting’. – The name may be misleading, as it has never been necessary to have an iPod, or, indeed, any other form of portable media player, to use podcasts; the content can be accessed using any computer that can __________ * Source: play media files. – Use of the term ‘podcast’ predates the addition of &oldid=363668311 native support for podcasting to the iPod or to Apple’s iTunes software.
    92. 92. Podcasts and m-Learning (Mobile Learning) • Advantages: – Listen on your computer or download to portable MP3/MP4 players and listen on the move/anywhere, e.g., while commuting to work (perfect for the busy health professional and mature, part-time students). • But audio and video files can be large in size; users must have sufficient bandwidth to download them, especially over mobile Internet connections. – Support for auditory learners (it is claimed that the primary learning style in at least 30% of learners is auditory). A Nokia N76 Mobile Phone with Built-in MP3/MP4 Player (2007)
    93. 93. Source: Meng P. Podcasting and Vodcasting: A White Paper. University of Missouri, 2005 The above ‘white paper’ by Peter Meng of the University of Missouri contains excellent How to Podcast and How to VODcast sections. Meng also describes many educational applications of podcasting and vodcasting, including: Recordings of lectures for those students unable to attend the lecture in person; Audio recordings of textbook text by chapter, would allow students to “read” or review texts while walking or driving to class (significant aid to auditory learners); and Downloadable libraries of high resolution heart and respiratory sounds for medical students.
    94. 94. Health/Medical Podcast Examples  ASCRS (American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery) ophthalmology CME programmes via podcast.  Users can subscribe to the RSS feed to automatically receive updates.  They can use Windows Media Player to listen to the MP3 files.
    95. 95. Listeners’ questions can be played back and answered in forthcoming episodes.
    96. 96. Health/Medical Podcast Examples
    97. 97. Health/Medical Podcast Examples
    98. 98. Health/Medical Podcast Examples
    99. 99. You don’t need a dedicated ‘podcatcher program’ if you are running a recent version of any of the popular Web browsers these days, e.g., Internet Explorer 7/8 or Firefox 3.5/3.6 or later. Podcasts use RSS, which is now natively supported by/built into these browsers, among others.
    100. 100. Health/Medical Podcast/Vodcast Examples
    101. 101. Health/Medical Podcast Examples
    102. 102. Health/Medical Podcast Examples Podcasts are already being used in medical school curricula.
    103. 103. Health/Medical Podcast Directory
    104. 104. Pedagogical Podcasting or Podagogy Excerpts from: • Avoid overly complex and dense content material that includes lots of facts and figures—this is because most students listen to podcasts as they perform other tasks, e.g., riding a bus, driving, exercising, walking to class, etc. In most cases they won’t be taking notes as they listen. • Recordings of classroom lectures (unmodified) may not be the best use of podcasting—only use lectures as podcasts when you have a strong pedagogical rationale for doing so. • Narrow the focus of a podcast.
    105. 105. Requirements for Successful Podcasts in Education Excerpts from: xplanaradio/archives/2005/07/pedagogy_for_po.html • Appropriate length. • Informal tone and high energy—to make students feel that they are part of something rather than merely the recipients of a boring presentation. • Context and review—educational podcasts should always begin with a clear context for the information being presented, and end with a review of the most important things to remember. • Options for different learning style preferences—effective podcasts should offer optional transcripts and/or images (or video) to address different learning styles as well as accessibility issues. Podcasts accessed on the Web can make use of all these media types. • Flexible/multiple delivery options—to accommodate different students’ preferences for subscribing and downloading.
    106. 106. MIT Channel on YouTube YouTube “Alts”: among others.
    107. 107. US National Library of Medicine Presentations Channel on SlideShare Related:
    108. 108. Full control over the distribution of your presentations (who can access them and how they can access them). You can also embed YouTube videos in SlideShare presentations.
    109. 109. 2010 course_content_creating_a_mashup.swf Flash Tutorial (3 min.)
    110. 110. What’s Next? • Careful thinking is needed in order to find the best ways to use these social and collaborative tools to boost our productivity, foster better communities of learning an practice, and support our continuing professional development (CPD). • Stakeholders’/prospective users’ representatives (healthcare professionals and students) must be adequately involved in this process. • The key to successful use of Networked Social Media in learning, teaching and research is to identify the unique affordances/‘raison(s) d’être’ of each of the different tools/tool classes on offer, what each option can do better or best, and what it cannot do at all or well.
    111. 111. Capitalise on the Unique Affordances / Affordances Profile of Each Tool • Comparing the different Social Web tool classes can be tricky, and some might consider it like comparing apples with oranges. The affordances (profile) of each medium are different; each option or modality will usually have its own advantages and disadvantages vis-à-vis a given use scenario, and tool options are also not necessarily always mutually exclusive or a substitute for one another, but could rather be very complementary and synergistic in many ways. Moreover, people have different tastes/preferences and the audiences of various modalities can be overlapping. • We need to especially identify and focus/capitalise on what a given tool or modality is best at–those (useful) things/scenarios that can only be effectively carried out using that tool option and not via any other ‘e’ medium (as effectively), and also determine the optimal formulae for blended approaches that combine various Social Web tools and modalities.
    112. 112. Useful Resources • • Renée Fountain, Wiki Pedagogy (2005):
    113. 113. Useful Resources • “Because blogs engage people in knowledge sharing, reflection, and debate, they often attract a large and dedicated readership.” •
    114. 114. Useful Resources • • Audacity: free, open source audio recording and editing software for Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X and Linux:
    115. 115. Seafront, Plymouth, UK – Photo © MNK Boulos
    116. 116. Introduction to 3-D Virtual Worlds
    117. 117. Agenda • What are 3-D Virtual Worlds? • Possible uses. • Application example. • A quick demo of Second Life®. • Some emerging trends. • Resources and further reading.
    118. 118. << Real Maged, Great Wall of China, Beijing, October 2009 (while participating at an ISPRS conference in China) >> Maged’s Alt/Avatar (MB Chevalier) visiting the Great Wall of China in Second Life®, November 2009 (
    119. 119. What Are Virtual Worlds? • Three-dimensional (3-D) virtual worlds like Second Life® and Twinity can be considered as 3-D social networks, where people can collaboratively create and edit objects in the virtual world (think of it as a ‘3-D wiki’), besides meeting each other and interacting with existing objects. • Video (9m 44s)
    120. 120. A Flexible 3-D Wiki • User-created 3-D objects in virtual worlds are not just static replicas of familiar real-life artefacts. • These objects can be programmed (scripted) to do more “intelligent” things, e.g., move, react to different events, etc. • The objects can also interact with, and respond realistically to, their environment, e.g., collisions, force of gravity, etc. (‘physics’). • Multi-user editing in real time and object persistence across sessions.
    121. 121. Astonishingly Real! Real Hope in a Virtual World (Washington Post – 6 October 2007): “Because the full-colour, multifaceted nature of the experience offers so much more ‘emotional bandwidth’ than traditional Web sites, e-mail lists and discussion groups, users say the experience can feel astonishingly real.”
    122. 122. The Co-presence Power of a 3-D Virtual World See presentation by MN Kamel Boulos entitled ‘Why visualize RL data in SL? (or the co-presence power of a 3-D virtual world)’. Presented at the ‘Visualizing Real Data in a Virtual World’ panel organized by Linden Lab, 2 July 2008, Second Life - (July 2008 - two zipped PDFs - 881 KB)
    123. 123. Why 3-D for Collaboration? (Sun Microsystems) “One question we are frequently asked is why use 3-D for a collaboration environment? While it might be possible to build a 2-D tool with functionality similar to MPK20 (Sun’s Virtual Workplace), the spatial layout of the 3-D world coupled with the immersive audio provides strong cognitive cues that enhance collaboration. For example, the juxtaposition of avatars in the world coupled with the volume and location of the voices allows people to intuit who they can talk to at any given time. The 3-D space provides a natural way to organize multiple, simultaneous conversations. Likewise, the arrangement of the objects within the space provides conversational context. If other avatars are gathering near the entrance to a virtual conference room, it is a good guess that they are about to attend a meeting in that space. It is then natural to talk to those people about the content or timing of the meeting, just as you would if attending a physical meeting. In terms of data sharing, looking at objects together is a natural activity. With the 3-D spatial cues, each person can get an immediate sense of what the other collaborators can and cannot see.”
    124. 124. Possible Uses • The ‘Second Life in Education’ wiki ( lists dozens of educational and other uses of 3-D virtual worlds, including: 1. Distance and flexible education 2. Presentations, panels and discussions 3. Training and skills (e.g., clinical and social skills) development 4. Self-paced tutorials
    125. 125. Possible Uses 5. Displays and exhibits 6. Immersive exhibits 7. Roleplays and simulations 8. Data visualisations and simulations 9. Libraries, art galleries and museums 10. Multimedia and games design 11.Machinima (video clips produced entirely in the virtual world)
    126. 126. An interactive genetics lab/museum and learning area, The Gene Pool, in Second Life®:
    127. 127. Possible Uses 12. Treasure hunts and quests 13. Virtual tourism, cultural immersion and cultural exchange 14. Language teaching and practice, and language immersion 15. Awareness/consciousness raising and even fund raising (e.g., the American Cancer Society in Second Life®) 16. Support and opportunities for people with disabilities (stroke, autism, etc.)
    128. 128. Possible Uses 17. Business, commerce, financial practice and modelling 18. Real estate practice (visit accurate property replicas in the virtual world) 19. Product design, prototyping, user-testing and market research 20. And much more… Modelling healthcare logistics in virtual worlds (University of Arkansas) -
    129. 129. Application Example • Video (5m 19s)
    130. 130. A Quick Live Demo of Second Life®
    131. 131. Some Emerging Trends • Virtual worlds and virtual globes (mirror worlds) such as Google Earth™ will merge, opening up many new possibilities and applications. “You’ll be walking around in downtown London and be able to see the shops, the stores, see what the traffic is like. Walk in a shop and navigate the merchandise. Not in the flat, 2D interface that we have on the Web today, but in a virtual (but real) walkthrough.” –Microsoft’s Bill Gates, October 2005 It is noteworthy that Twinity uses COLLADA (COLLAborative Design Activity - an interchange file format and standard for interactive 3-D applications, also supported in Google Earth) as its 3-D model and animation format, enabling 3-D content developers to easily re-use COLLADA models created in popular 3-D modelling tools such as Google SketchUp. For an example application combining virtual worlds and virtual globes, see: Kamel Boulos MN. Novel emergency/public health situation rooms and more using 4-D GIS. Presented at: ISPRS WG IV/4 International Workshop on Virtual Changing Globe for Visualisation & Analysis (VCGVA2009), Wuhan University, Wuhan, Hubei, China, 27–28 October, 2009 (Published in ISPRS Archives, vol. XXXVIII ISSN No: 1682-1777 PART 4/W10).
    132. 132. Some Emerging Trends • Natural User Interfaces and more natural forms of human-computer interaction and 3-D navigation will replace the conventional mouse and keyboard, e.g., multi-touch interfaces; using face/voice recognition and motion sensors to allow users to interact in 3-D virtual spaces; ubiquitous/ multi-device support; augmented reality; etc. << It is now possible to stream a 3-D virtual world to a suitable mobile phone Multi-touch/multi-user/hand interface >>
    133. 133. Games, virtual worlds on cellphones and TV See
    134. 134. Some Emerging Trends • Perfect realism and immersiveness. • 3-D worlds standards for the Web/3-D Internet (e.g., ISO MPEG-V and seamless integration with flat Web content and browsers. Image credit: Medusa Stereoscopic 3D Demo by NVIDIA®
    135. 135. Some Emerging Trends • True 3-D/True stereoscopic vision (S3D) using readily available technologies such as NVIDIA 3D Vision for more realistic 3-D visualisation, with a better sense of 3-D depth and object relief. • Glasses-free solutions, including options for mobile device displays such as the iPhone, are already available today (see: Kamel Boulos MN, Robinson LR. Web GIS in practice VII: stereoscopic 3-D solutions for online maps and virtual globes. Int J Health Geogr. 2009; 8:59. URL: Sanyo S3D-ready Ultra Short-focus Projector for Educational and Entertainment Usages > < Asus G51J notebook with 120Hz LCD panel supporting NVIDIA 3D Vision
    136. 136. A low-quality (red/cyan anaglyph) S3D scene from the virtual world Twinity S3D is the next ‘big thing’ after 1080p HD.
    137. 137. Resources/Further Reading •,4,4
    138. 138. Resources/Further Reading
    139. 139. Kamel Boulos MN, Anastasiou A. A Complete Ambient Assisted Living eXperiment (CAALYX) in Second Life® . In Proceedings of MedNet2008 - The 13th World Congress on the Internet in Medicine, 15-18 October 2008, St. Petersburg State I.P. Pavlov Medical University, Saint Petersburg, Russia (pp.4-5) - Kamel Boulos MN, Burden D: Web GIS in practice V: 3-D interactive and real-time mapping in Second Life. Int J Health Geogr 2007, 6:51. < Google Maps in Second Life®
    140. 140. Related Online Presentations 3-D real-virtual worlds for health and healthcare (MN Kamel Boulos - September 2008 - 57 slides on SlideShare: medic/3d-realvirtual-worlds- for-health-and-healthcare/)
    141. 141. Portland Square Building, University of Plymouth, Plymouth, UK – Photo © MNK Boulos
    142. 142. Research Example: UOP Sexual Health SIM in Second Life® (2007-2009) Covers the Use of Virtual Patients and of Social Media Marketing and Captology Techniques in Virtual Worlds
    143. 143. UOP Sexual Health SIM in Second Life® (2007-2009) • Designed to provide education about sexually transmitted infections (STIs), prevention of unintended pregnancy, and promotion of equalitarian sexual relationships, the University of Plymouth Sexual Health SIM in Second Life® provided a wide variety of educational experiences, including opportunities to test knowledge of sexual health through quizzes and games, Web resources integrated within the virtual context, and live in-world seminars on sexual health topics. See: Kamel Boulos MN, Toth-Cohen S. The University of Plymouth Sexual Health SIM experience in Second Life®: evaluation and reflections after one year. Health Information and Libraries Journal. 2009; 26(4): 279-288.
    144. 144. UOP Sexual Health SIM in Second Life® (2007-2009) • Made possible thanks to a generous land grant provided to us by Education UK.
    145. 145. 3-D Scripted Objects • The UOP Sexual Health SIM in Second Life® ( provided its sexual health education in a relaxing, playful setting alongside the (virtual) ocean, with giant flowers and soaring butterflies. • Visitors to the SIM were offered a wide range of 3-D scripted objects and games to explore and interact with, including a virtual condom-dispensing machine offering free (virtual) male condoms and practical information. They could also chat with the resident pseudo-intelligent chatterbot, ‘Alice’, to find out simple facts about contraception and STIs. • An interactive kiosk provided an atlas illustrating STIs and ways to prevent them, and enabled visitors to listen to associated voice narration or access related Web media such as a PowerPoint quiz game or Web page.
    146. 146. 3-D Scripted Objects • An interactive 3-D Earth globe offered access to current STIs / HIV / AIDS statistics and information from 53 European region countries. Visitors could also access a selection of premier international Web- based and in-world resources from leading organisations. • Media formats included streaming video/audio, podcasts, in- world custom search engines retrieving quality sexual health results from the UK Intute database ( and Healia (, and a newsstand that refreshes every 10 minutes to display the top two sexual health headlines on Yahoo! News. • There was even an ‘AIDS-related Kaposi Sarcoma Experience’ clothing dispenser (see next slides). • The SIM also afforded opportunities to test knowledge of sexual health by participating in quiz games and other fun experiences.
    147. 147. Snapshots of the ‘Big Quiz Game’ obelisk at the UOP Sexual Health SIM in Second Life. This is an interactive graphical ‘Contraception and STIs’ quiz with a prize to win if the player’s answer is correct (the prize is delivered to the player’s inventory in-world). The goal of our SIM is to help young adults make well informed choices of their own. We provide strong messages and education about sexually transmitted infections and the dangers of unprotected sex. Our in-world objects provide information about both condoms and abstinence, so our presentation is not biased towards one camp or the other, nor imposing any particular direction/method on our visitors.
    148. 148. Video 2 min. : 38 sec.
    149. 149. UOP Sexual Health SIM in Second Life® (2007-2009) • The SIM also fostered the development of a vibrant virtual community around it. • Our 2007/2008 in-world voice-enabled seminars covered the topics of domestic violence; STIs, contraception and family planning; female sexuality; sexual purity and healthy relationships from a Christian Orthodox perspective; and ‘sex and disability’. • A mini-evaluation of the project was conducted in 2007/2008. Primary methods of evaluation consisted of an in-world survey using a special, scripted questionnaire administration object in Second Life® and traffic statistics on the virtual programme. • Questionnaire evaluation results (n=135 unique avatars) indicated that the Sexual Health SIM was positively viewed by its audience. • The SIM received more than 4000 unique visitors between July 2007 and July 2008. Repeat visitors figures for the same period are much higher.
    150. 150. Community  In-world seminars  Sexual Health SIM Group in-world Avatars attending a seminar at the University of Plymouth Sexual Health SIM in Second Life®
    151. 151. < In-world UOP Sexual Health SIM Group (free to join) Video 2:02 min.
    152. 152. Our AIDS-related Kaposi Sarcoma Experience • We developed an ‘AIDS-related Kaposi Sarcoma Experience’ skin as part of our ‘UOP Sexual Health SIM’ project in Second Life®, where users, through their avatars, are able to see and experience how Kaposi sarcoma looks and feels to AIDS patients. < Wear a special avatar clothing layer to see and experience on your own avatar how Kaposi Sarcoma looks/feels to AIDS patients. This example was created by SL user:Bailey Yifu using Adobe Photoshop and similar tools, and then made freely available for visiting avatars to get copies of it via a scripted dispenser object at the UOP Sexual Health SIM. (Once the user receives a copy in their Inventory, all they need to do is to right-click the item and select ‘Wear’.)
    153. 153. Virtual Dermatology Patients • The same principle can be expanded, refined and used to role- play patients with various skin conditions and presentations at different stages of a disease to show how progress, worsening or healing might appear. • Such ‘virtual patients’, controlled by real humans at their PCs, can also be used to train clinicians—especially about rare conditions— and for teaching undergraduate students. • This virtual clinical experience provides trainees and clinicians with the opportunity to ask virtual patients questions about their disease history, to obtain intelligent answers from the patients in real time by using voice or text or both, to conduct clinical examinations, ask for further tests or investigations, receive feedback, and access additional sensorial inputs such as streaming audio, video, photographs and text, as well as links to Web pages and other resources.
    154. 154. Virtual Dermatology Patients • This can help to show the progress of a treatment; depending on a trainee’s questions and prescriptions, the person role- playing the patient can switch to the appropriate skin, so that the trainee doctor is able to see the effect of his or her diagnosis and treatment. Described in: Huang ST, Kamel Boulos MN, Dellavalle RP. Scientific Discourse 2.0. Will Your Next Poster Session Be in Second Life®? EMBO Reports. 2008;9(6):496–499. Available at:
    155. 155. Using Social Media Marketing and Captology Techniques • Unlike when dealing with formal students who are usually pre- motivated (at least to some extent, as evidenced by the fact they are enrolled in a formal programme of study and are usually willing to complete their course/achieve a pass mark or better), this was not necessarily always the case with our Sexual Health SIM audience (the general public). • Our task was much more difficult: we wanted people not just acquire some new knowledge, but also change their attitudes and ultimately their real-life behaviour (with no relapse), where applicable. The latter is particularly difficult to achieve (and to measure); for example, it is easy to tell people about the dangers of smoking (every pack of cigarettes has a ‘smoking kills’ label these days), but it is much more difficult to make someone quit smoking (and not revert back again to their smoking habit after some time).
    156. 156. Using Social Media Marketing and Captology Techniques “Captology is the study of computers as persuasive technologies. This includes the design, research, and analysis of interactive computing products created for the purpose of changing people's attitudes or behaviours. “As the graphic shows, captology describes the area where computing technology and persuasion overlap. “This area continues to grow quickly. Each week more computing products, including websites, are designed to change what people think and do.” Quoted from:
    157. 157. Using Social Media Marketing and Captology Techniques • To help us address this educational challenge, the UOP Sexual Health SIM experience team employed principles of captology ( and marketing/advertising psychology in designing many of the SIM’s objects, e.g., the Kaposi Sarcoma skin and our virtual condoms dispenser. • Some commentators criticised our approach in develop- ing the latter by arguing that one cannot use a Second Life® virtual condom in real-life sex. In answering them, we brought the examples of the various radio receivers that are used by the Coca-Cola Company in marketing their carbonated soft drinks and come in the forms of a Coke can, bottle or cup ( One cannot drink from such radio cans, bottles and cups, but it is the message that matters in both our virtual condoms and the Coca- Cola radio cases (‘remember to use a condom’; ‘drink Coca-Cola’)!
    158. 158.
    159. 159. Conclusions • Second Life® (as a popular example of virtual worlds today) is a unique 3-D social networking experience. It allows people from all over the world to meet, share objects and collaborate in many novel ways, using a comprehensive and well-integrated suite of asynchronous and synchronous, multimodal communication tools. • Second Life can also be seen as a vast collaborative 3- D “wiki” and an immersive audio-visual spatial multi- user experience that people can experiment with, edit (subject to permissions), and see the changes together in real time (user-generated content)!
    160. 160. Conclusions • 3-D virtual worlds are rapidly getting more and more accessible and user friendly (even for people with cognitive and/or physical disabilities). They are here to stay, mature, and eventually become one with, and more tightly and seamlessly integrated into, the flat (2-D) Web and the ‘real world’/our daily lives over the coming months and years (forming the 3-D Internet).
    161. 161. The Barbican Harbour, Plymouth, UK – Photo © MNK Boulos
    162. 162. Research Example: Novel Emergency/Public Health Situation Rooms (and more) Using 4-D GIS Maged N Kamel Boulos, PhD, SMIEEE First Presented at:
    163. 163. The Current Situation • Conventional situation rooms are routinely used to oversee public health emergencies and disaster management operations in real time. • Nowadays, large amounts of emergency data are increasingly coming from a wide range of sources in real or near-real time and need to be cross-linked and visualized where they spatially belong on maps of the affected regions. • Also, emergencies are usually managed by multi- professional teams who, not uncommonly, are distributed in multiple geographic locations.
    164. 164. The Current Situation • Because of these reasons, we have started to see physical situation rooms gradually being replaced (or combined) with virtual situation rooms that use online collaborative (and mostly 2-D –two- dimensional) platforms such as Depiction (, in addition to conventional Web conferencing. • These platforms, although usable and helpful, leave much to be desired, as they are lacking the ‘third dimension’, which is needed to create a proper perception of the emergency space, as well as a sense of co-presence of other virtual team members.
    165. 165. Current flat Web collaboration tools Like Depiction, Google Wave and Microsoft Vine can be Used in virtual public health emergency situation room applications, but leave much to be desired!
    166. 166. The Proposed Solution • To overcome this limitation, we are proposing the development of novel emergency and public health virtual situation rooms in a suitable 3-D (three- dimensional) virtual world (sometimes also called ‘3- D serious gaming platform’), where avatars of experts and professionals can collaborate together and discuss incident data in real time in a simulated 3-D space representing the physical location where the emergency/public health incident of interest is unfolding and reflecting all changes taking place there (again in real time).
    167. 167. The Proposed Solution • The real-time link between the virtual world and the physical world incident would be two-way and multimodal involving geo-tagged physical/ environmental sensor data feeds, citizen-contributed data (as found in Microsoft Vine and ‘Who Is Sick’, data gleaned via automatic analysis of Social Web content (cf. Google Flu Trends, textual and 3-D spatialized audio/voice exchanges between virtual team members, video feeds, 3-D simulations and animations, various Web mashups, and shared desktop applications, among other possibilities.
    168. 168. Emergency/Public Health Situation Rooms (and more) Using 4-D GIS • 4-D GIS = 3-D Geographic Information Systems, plus the temporal/real-time dimension (= 4-D)—serve very well the classic Person-Place-Time Triad. • A collaborative and interactive platform that marries virtual globes (such as Google Earth™) and 3-D virtual worlds (such as Second Life®/OpenSim), and complements/ tightly integrates them with other key technologies, e.g., real-time, geo-tagged RSS feeds (including data feeds from physical sensors) and geo- mashups (using Web services like Yahoo! Pipes), etc.
    169. 169. Short Video (2 min. : 45 sec.)
    170. 170. Emergency/Public Health Situation Rooms (and more) Using 4-D GIS • The platform weaves data and services in real-time from different sources into a new rich ‘datascape’ that better reflects the current situation (the ‘big picture’) in novel ways that are easier to understand and manage (‘infoglut’ management). • The platform is secure, enabling multiple distributed persons to “see” each other, visualise relevant data together in unique ways, conduct 3-D simulation scenarios/ ‘what-if’ scenarios, and collaborate in real-time, each according to their assigned role and access privileges. • Much suited for emergency and disaster management in real-time, e.g., managing an influenza pandemic and coordinating actions at global, regional and local levels.
    171. 171. Other Platform Highlights • Modular: The platform will offer a reusable toolbox of programmable objects that can be easily (re)used in various scenarios. • Mobile: it is now possible to stream a 3-D virtual world to a suitable mobile phone or other Internet-enabled, small form factor mobile devices, making this vision end-user device and platform-independent and thus suitable for those members of the emergency operations team who are on the move. • True stereoscopic vision can be added using readily available technologies. Stereoscopic 3-D virtual globes with more natural multitouch navigation are already available today (described in: Kamel Boulos and Robinson, 2009).
    172. 172. Further Reading • Kamel Boulos MN, Scotch M, Cheung K-H, Burden D. Web GIS in practice VI: a demo “playlist” of geo-mashups for public health neogeographers. Int J Health Geogr. 2008; 7:38. • Kamel Boulos MN, Burden D. Web GIS in practice V: 3-D interactive and real-time mapping in Second Life. Int J Health Geogr. 2007; 6:51. • Kamel Boulos MN, Robinson LR. Web GIS in practice VII: stereoscopic 3-D solutions for online maps and virtual globes. Int J Health Geogr. 2009; 8:59. • Welch GF, et al. 3D Medical Collaboration Technology to Enhance Emergency Healthcare. J Biomed Discov Collab. 2009 Apr 19;4:4.
    173. 173. Inside Portland Square Building, University of Plymouth, Plymouth, UK – Photo © MNK Boulos
    174. 174. Small Group Activity (60 min. + 30 min.) • Discuss together in 2 to 4 breakout groups (5-7 persons per group – 60 min.) your views and proposals concerning possible and potential applications of NSM in health and healthcare (education and research), informed by and building on the affordances of these tools and environments that you have just been introduced to in this workshop. • Focus on those applications and projects that you would like to explore in your own, specific context (in the courses you teach and your research). • Share any NSM experiences in education and/or research that you are currently or have been involved in. • Groups reporting back/final wrapping up notes (30 minutes): Report back at least two example applications per group.
    175. 175. Smeaton’s Tower, Plymouth, UK – Photo © MNK Boulos
    176. 176. Thank You “The scholar must be a solitary, modest and charitable soul. He must embrace solitude as a bride...that he may become acquainted with his thoughts.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-82) - Author, poet and philosopher