Thursday, April 24, 2008

Beating the open access drum

Sarah Stewart has blogged about meeting with midwives from Pakistan and the exchange of ideas that occurred in this online meeting. I expect these midwives discovered her through her Blog? It seems to me that reaching the wider audience is one of the great things about blogging. I wonder if any of these midwives blog?

I think it is exciting to explore midwifery in other contexts. Perhaps in the future there might be resources we can share which will be beneficial for anyone. For example the Christchurch medical school have a lovely interactive animation about pharmacology ( There are many videos that apply to clinical midwifery some of which I have linked in the Wiki I have created for midwifery. Certainly we need always to be aware of the context of midwifery practice. We cannot assume that what we do and teach here will be of any benefit at all to midwives in other countries. None the less I am sure that there is a great deal of material that is relevant. Reflection is a great way to learn and, if the material does not exactly match the situation in another country, the midwives or students can reflect on this difference and discuss it. Providing material online with a creative commons license which allows them to use and adapt the material to their own needs is even better. They can then take the material and make if fit their own situation.

We are fortunate in Otago Polytechnic that our management support us to do this. Their are no barriers to us producing and creating online freely available courses and our education development centre have led the way with the course I am currently enrolled in, Design for Flexible Learning Practice and others. The challenge is therefore ours. How do we make this a reality within our own discipline?

Image: Drummer Billy Cobham at Womad. From Pix Gremlin's photos on


Sarah Stewart said...

Hi Carolyn

Actually, Rafat knew me from the Midwifery Research email list. So I am not at all sure that midwives are getting the word from blogs. My blog has been advertised quite extensively through midwifery channels but it has made very little difference to my reader numbers or the number of comments left on my blog. Mind you, that may be because it doesn't interest midwives, which is another story.

I do wonder if we're wasting our time with open access. Do midwives really want it? Do we know? Do we care? Or is this just one lovely great experiment that has sucked us in, but really it only has worth for one or two of us? All this - web 2.0 - is just one big con that you and I have fallen for?

Yours cheerfully, Sarah

Carolyn said...

I think that the great thing about web 2.0 is that it lets you keep up to date with things that interest you without having to spend hours looking new stuff.
I suppose until you really know the benefit yourself it is hard to understand or see how it might be useful. People will gradually get to know about these things and start to use them.
Regarding open access to education I am not sure whether midwives do want this. Perhaps if people happen to see this they could respond and state what they understand this to mean and if they feel it might be useful. I can certainly see the benefits of courses being open and freely available but I know that not everyone shares my views.

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