Wednesday, November 21, 2007
My first online midwifery meeting
Photo: Sandfly Bay, Dunedin, New Zealand
This morning I facilitated my first online midwifery meeting with Carolyn McIntosh. It was a daunting experience - I hardly slept a wink all night worrying about the technology and how it would all work. But in the end, it all worked really well. Everyone was able to log in without any problems and worked out all the buttons. We had great fun exploring Elluminate and working out how we could do various things. I am very grateful to David McQuillan for hanging around and giving me some guidance so to how things work.
I was a bit disappointed that we only had a few people attend but three of them were in Australia, so it was fantastic that we were able to connect with them. No doubt timing is a big issue. It was really difficult deciding when to hold the meeting and possibly we didn't get anyone from the UK because it was later in their evening. It will be interesting to see if the next meeting I have planned attracts a greater number - the timing should better suit people in Europe. I advertised this meeting on the midwifery research list and to a large midwifery group on Facebook as well as to personal contacts. Maybe I need think again about how/where/when I advertise these meetings.
I ran through my slides about midwifery in New Zealand. I must admit, I got a bit flummoxed at one point when one of the participants (my best friend, I have to say!) was playing around and sabotaged my PowerPoint slide. That wouldn't happen at a face-to-face presentation! However, I think I managed to survive. It certainly is a challenge to present in an interesting way when you cannot see the audience, and have to keep an eye on the running text at the same time. I was really grateful to have Carolyn with me-her role was to watch the running text so she could answer any queries as I was speaking.
The discussion following my presentation was a lot more interactive - we talked about how we could keep midwives in the profession. Ongoing peer support was seen as one way to do that, which ties in with what we were doing this morning. We also considered how we can attract young women into the profession, which is an ongoing question. We believed it is very important to keep campaigning to raise midwives' profiles, especially in Australia where the midwife is not known as well as she is here in New Zealand. We also need to be working with our professional bodies to continue exploring how we can support students, especially on a financial basis.
1. Invaluable to have at least one other person to facilitate - to help keep the conversation running and answer queries.
2. Be available on Skype or similar communication mode so that people can discuss any problems they have with logging in. That is another good reason for having a support person so that he/she can watch the main group as you sort out individual problems, or the other way around.
3. This is a very small beginning, and I must not have unrealistic expectations about how I am going to solve all midwifery problems along with global warming, and alien abductions with Elluminate! If nothing else, we were able to start some dialogue and promote networking today, which is a great outcome.
A recording of the meeting can be found here:
The next meeting is being held on Thursday 29th November at 10pm New Zealand time (London Thursday 29th 9am UCT/GMT). Check here to see the time where you live - Time Zone.
This meeting is open to anyone interested in midwifery research, especially postgraduate midwifery research students and their supervisors. This is an opportunity for researchers, especially students to network and share information about their research. This is particularly aimed at midwives who are studying/researching in an isolated context.