Saturday, April 26, 2008

International Day of the Midwife 2008: meeting student midwives in Nashville

Last year I went to Nashville, USA and amongst other things I met Professor Mavis Schorn and her team of midwifery educators at Vanderbilt University.

I am extremely thrilled that Mavis has agreed to join with me and run a combined Elluminate seminar for our senior midwifery students to celebrate International Day of the Midwife on May 5th.

My personal aims for the meeting
  • Encourage my students to consider the international context of midwifery
  • Increase my skills of facilitating online meetings
  • Introduce my students to Elluminate and web 2.0, which hopefully will lead to ongoing online meetings
  • Explore opportunities for collaborative research and teaching
Plan for meeting
This is a bit of an experiment as neither of us have done anything like this before, so we plan to keep things low key. What I thought we would do is to give a short joint presentation about midwifery in our respective countries and then open things up for questions and discussions.

Technology concerns
The meeting is going to be have about 40 people and we're going to have the students in computer labs. So at least we'll have technicians on hand to sort out problems that our students have.

My main concern is that the technology lets us down although generally I have found Elluminate to be very reliable. I have spoken to the Nashville technical team via Skype and they are going to download the software onto the computers the students are going to use this week. And we'll have a practice run this week as well. So hopefully we'll be as prepared as we can be.

I just have to have a back-up plan in case everything does turn to custard. Any suggestions for what Plan B could be?

Image: 'Nashville Sporting Goods'


Sandra Elias said...

Great idea Sarah - good luck with that! I guess as a back up each of you could record voice over on your powerpoint and send them to each other or load them online for easy access. That way if you can't talk to each other the two groups can still 'hear' and 'see' what the other country has to offer...

Carolyn said...

I think this is great initiative Sarah. It would be good during this meeting to discuss online communication perhaps also talking about skype and msn as other ways that these students could continue to connect with their peers once they are out in the big wide world of midwifery. They will have so much to share as they begin this new journey and so much they can learn from each other.
Great idea of Sandra's as a back up in case the technology lets you down.
Well done organising this, I am sure everyone will get a buzz from it.

Sarah Stewart said...

Great idea, Sandra - will do that.

Sarah Stewart said...

The other thing we could on a similar view is what Leigh suggested and that is put the slideshow on Flickr and then talk through the slides with Skype. The students can watch on the big screen. It would be a lot fussier but at least it would work.

Sarah Stewart said...

From an email:
Hi Sarah the last video conferencing I attended had the problem you were worried about we finished the conference with a speaker phone service could not see anyone but could hear them

Answer: the only snag to this is that there isn't a speaker phone in the computer lab. And the whole point is that it has to be free-I don't think I'd get funding for the international call in peak time. But thanks for the suggestion.