Thursday, April 17, 2008

Free online PD for midwives

One of my aims for this year is to try to encourage more midwives to use social networking tools and engage in free, open web conferences for professional development.

Why online seminars?
I have chosen to concentrate on developing online seminars for midwives because I am fed up with hearing about exciting things going on in the UK, but missing them because of where I live. So this is an attempt to redress this problem for those of us living in the Southern hemisphere.

I also believe that this is one way of supporting each other and forming communities of practice, which in turn will help in a small way in sustaining midwifery, and hopefully increase recruitment and retention. I am not unrealistic - I know this isn't going to change the midwifery world over night, but if it supports communication between a few people and helps start collaborative thinking in a small way then I will be pleased.

Seminar program
Using the MIDIRS webinar series as a model, I have started to develop the program for 2008. I have no funding for this so I am relying on midwives, researchers and teachers to volunteer their services as speakers for free. I am hoping that these speakers will see their reward as being able to contribute to global communication and collaboration.

I think the '10 minute lecture' followed by discussion used so successfully by Leigh Blackall and Bronwyn Hegerty is a good format to follow. As speakers will be donating their time free of charge, I am not wanting to create too much of a burden for them. If people feel that this is too big of a time commitment, they are much less likely to volunteer their services as speakers.

I hope to get enough volunteers so that I can run a seminar at least once a month from May until November. Because MIDIRS has a series of seminars that serves midwives in the UK and Europe, I am planning these seminars to mainly serve Australasian time zones.

PD for midwives wiki
Initially, I thought I would manage it all through this blog, but I changed my mind and decided to develop a wiki called PD for midwives. This is for several reasons:
  • speakers can add their details to the wiki without going through me;
  • midwives can write their own ideas for topics;
  • people can edit and improve the information that I have started to develop, especially the information on how to use the wiki and Elluminate;
  • I will develop my wiki skills.
I chose wikispaces as the wiki platform because I thought it think it is reasonably user-friendly for people inexperienced with wikis.

Incorporation with my ePortfolio
I am really enjoying working in an electronic environment because I am finding it so much easier to manage this project, chart its development, reflect and incorporate it into my ePortfolio. I have the additional advantage of being able to get feedback from a much wider audience then I would have by managing and documenting this project in a traditional way.

Would you like to be a speaker?
I would love to hear from people who would like to be a speaker. You do not have to be a midwife, but obviously your topic should be of interest/relevance to midwives. It is preferable that you live in a time zone that suits people in Australasia. Feel free to drop me a message if you'd like to discuss this further.

No comments: