Wednesday, January 26, 2011


This week sees the start of my new job...midwifery lecturer at Griffith University in Brisbane. I am going to be working there as a virtual lecturer 0.5, alongside my other 0.5 job as educational developer at Otago Polytechnic in Dunedin.

Brisbane flooding
I was a tad nervous about going to Brisbane so soon after the floods and wasn't at all sure what to expect. However, I haven't seen any evidence of damage where I am staying and living. But having said that, a number of the staff that I have been working with are affected.

I packed my umbrella but so far haven't needed it. The weather in Brisbane is beautifully sunny and hot.

My job
My responsibility this semester is to teach a second year paper that focuses on the surgical context of childbirth and the clinical skills that are required by midwives to look after women in hospitals, especially when they are undergoing surgical procedures such as caesarean section.

As I said before, most of my work for Griffith will be online. But I am travelling to Brisbane a couple of times a year to attend the program's "intensives" which is when the students come on campus for two weeks for "intense" teaching, mostly around clinical skills.

So I am in Brisbane for the next three weeks and our first intensive is next week where I will be focusing on teaching skills around cannulation, catheterisation, administrating medications, giving injections, intravenous therapy, aseptic technique, and so on.

The challenges for me this year will be:

  • to engage the students so they interact with each other during the semester when we are now longer meeting face-to-face;

  • build a community of learning within a learning management system (BlackBoard);

  • figure out what we can do outside the LMS...what students will be interested in and what they have the skills to work with eg will they find Delicious useful?;

  • not to overload students with my eternal enthusiasm for eLearning and online networking;

  • maintain the link between a very clinical and practical topic and learning online.

I'd love to hear from any midwife or health educators who are teaching clinical skills and topics online. How do you engage your students? What resources do you use? What problems have you encountered, and how have you solved the problems?

Image: 'DSCN2340'


Anonymous said...

I love your 4th 'challenge' - I struggle with this one too.
We just had our pre-semester block with the MMid students covering variations, emergencies and suturing. I will be watching with interest re. teaching skills online. I tend to provide the pre-readings and resources online then we run/act through case scenarios face-to-face applying the skills. I'm not sure how it could all be done on-line but if anyone can work out a way it's you!

Sarah Stewart said...

The model you are using is the one we'll be going with. I won't get to do much of the practice stuff because I will be in NZ. My next challenge is working out how to administer OSCA's to student scattered all over Q'land.