Essays for public health assessment

Assessment involves ‘making and reporting judgments that capture, guide and make decisions about the learning achievement of learners’ [1]. Historically, medical student assessment by essay has waxed and waned [2,3 loc. 5110], yet anecdotally narrative and academic literacy are increasingly important to the graduate skill set. This essay explores the use of coursework essays to assess an ‘applied’ public health module taken by Year Two medical students, with reference to assessment theory and research evidence. The General Medical Council (GMC) require assessment against an outcomes-based framework [4] and evidence of how this meets certain criteria (see indents). Continue reading Essays for public health assessment

Learning medicine with dyslexia

Dyslexia is a type of specific learning disability (SpLDs; an umbrella term) that is ‘characterised by difficulties with phonological processing, rapid naming, working memory, processing speed, and the automatic development of skills that may not match up to an individual’s other cognitive abilities’ [1]. It isn’t confined to English speakers [2] and these distinctive patterns remain detectable among high-performing university students with compensated dyslexia [3]. It does not represent inadequate intelligence, sensory perception, emotional composition or instruction [4]. While emotional distress might conceivably blight learning, research generally rejects measurable differences in personality between dyslexic and non-dyslexic higher education students [5], although a small study suggests anxiety may be heightened [6]. Dyslexics are not perceived differently by other students [7]. However, this research is unable to comment on whether such plausible differences might exist among adult dyslexics who were unable to enter higher education. Continue reading Learning medicine with dyslexia

Creativity in medial education

Are you a creative teacher? Do your students have opportunities to express their creativity? Many of us are apt to think of the arts instinctively when we hear or read of creativity. If ‘arty’ people are creative, do all creatives—particularly those with a scientific bent—have to be arty? Furthermore, how does the creative concept fit with other terms such as innovative, novel, imaginative, insightful, original, inventive or improvised? Such terms are applied in the literature by teachers to their use of multimedia, an unconventional pedagogy, or resolution of a practical issue like limited teaching space—but do they really mean anything beyond a synonym for new? The Higher Education Academy acknowledge the need for creative graduates and for creative assessment reform—but fail to elucidate what this means (HEA, 2012). The medical teacher’s charter behoves us to inspire students to be creative (AMEE, 2011). Fostering creativity, alongside intellectual, social and emotional growth, may be quintessential to holistic medical education (Dent & Harden, 2013, loc. 11420). If many of us are vague about creativity as a concept, how can we aspire to teach and assess it? This essay was originally written as coursework for my PGDip in Medical Education. Continue reading Creativity in medial education

Patient to population OER

Following storyboarding in PowerPoint, Xerte Online Toolkits (XOT) were used to create an e-learning package (rather than RLO)1 for distribution as an open educational resource (OER). Called ‘Patient to population’ (P2P), it aims to help students learn about and integrate three key public health perspectives. You can view an archive copy of P2P here; this self-critique was originally written as coursework for my PGDip in Medical Education. Continue reading Patient to population OER

Custom meta in Twenty Fifteen

The Twenty Fifteen default WordPress 4.1 theme includes an entry footer containing metadata. If you use custom fields containing additional metadata, such as geolocation, you may want to display this in the entry footer. Alternatively you may wish to modify the display of existing metadata or add actions to this area, such as social sharing links. This post details how you can go about customising or appending post metadata utilising the twentyfifteen_entry_meta() function in a child theme functions.php file. Continue reading Custom meta in Twenty Fifteen

Custom social links in Twenty Fifteen

Genericons are integrated into the Twenty Fifteen theme released with WordPress 4.1. In summary ‘Genericons are vector icons embedded in a webfont designed to be clean and simple keeping with a generic aesthetic. Use genericons for instant HiDPI, to change icon colors on the fly, or even with CSS effects such as drop-shadows or gradients!’ So they look much better than bitmapped icons on the retina display of your iOS device, and you can change the colour of all of them in one go via your stylesheet—no graphics software required. Cool. Continue reading Custom social links in Twenty Fifteen

Design input baked into WordPress 4.1

WordPress 4.1 was released late December 2014 and included a new default theme, Twenty Fifteen. In the entry meta area and hidden social links menu are scalable (vector) icons created by embedding the Genericons font. This means that they look great on high-resolution (‘retina’) displays, where old-school 16px icons look outdated. Continue reading Design input baked into WordPress 4.1

Nest in an Apple household

Although anticipating the arrival of Homekit-enabled devices in 2015, they aren’t here yet. Google are said to be building a competing smart home platform, even if their premier product—the Nest learning thermostat—is infused with Apple DNA. We bought ourselves a Nest for Christmas 2014 and this provided many opportunities to tinker. Continue reading Nest in an Apple household

Access Synology API data via Alfred workflow

I don’t really know PHP, but I like to tinker. When I came across a PHP library for utilising the Synology APIs by Nicolas Cerveaux (zzarbi) on GitHub I thought it would be a challenge to see if I could get it working as an Alfred workflow (the add-on Powerpack is required to run PHP scripts). I began by attempting to get my DiskStation to tell me its model designation, installed RAM, serial number, temperature, uptime and DSM version: a step-by-step follows. Continue reading Access Synology API data via Alfred workflow