Extending Learning Opportunities at the University of Ottawa
The Centre for e-Learning at the University of Ottawa works with professors and departments within the university on the creation, enhancement, and revision of online tools and resources for learning, not only for classes and courses offered at the university, but also for wider public and professional education. Examples of this work have been showcased in Pockets of Innovation, including online resources developed for health professionals and Visez Juste, an open education resource developed to help French speakers living in a bilingual environment with their language skills. Two new projects in 2013, focus on tools for environmental curriculum and public engagement, and on immigrant and refugee health.
Nature Watch 2.0: Working in collaboration with the Department of Geography at the University of Ottawa, the David Suzuki Foundation and Nature Canada, the Centre for e-Learning is re-designing the Nature Watch website and developing a mobile app to provide tools for active public monitoring and reporting of species and other environmental change indicators. The site will have four distinct components: FrogWatch, IceWatch, PlantWatch and WormWatch. The goals of the project are:
- To take a long-established citizen science website and database inherited from Environment Canada (naturewatch.ca) and transforming it into an innovative, adaptable platform for engaging a broad cross-section of Canadians with nature;
- To integrate the website and app with environmental curriculum to provide educators with tools and activities that promote environmental awareness and ecological literacy among Canadian youth, inside and outside the classroom; and
- To build an online social networking community around Nature Watch 2.0, involving naturalists, scientists, and Canadian families and individuals, to share, develop, and enhance their experience with and knowledge of Canadian nature.
In the current first phase of the project, a needs assessment is being undertaken for the new site to understand how current monitoring is done by partner organizations and how it can be most effectively supported and extended by the site. A particular interest is to have the site used in elementary and secondary education, with the students contributing as active participants in identifying, reporting, and monitoring of species.
Some preliminary work has been done on FrogWatch so that it can be launched as a pilot.
From Frog Watch
Migrant and Refugee Health: A professor in the Centre for Global Health at the University of Ottawa, Dr. Kevin Pottie, recognized the need to help doctors in clinics gather information from, and provide care, to migrants and refugees. Working with the Centre for e-Learning, he developed an Evidence-Based Preventive Care Checklist for New Immigrants and Refugees, designed for primary care practitioners and medical students to help integrate the Canadian Immigrant Health Guidelines into practice. The tool has two parts, with all components available in French and English. The first is a series of clinical resources to guide practice in terms of challenges such as tuberculosis, malaria, and intestinal worms and parasites and a series of recommended tests and symptoms to consider for each of seven regions of the globe. The second part features a series of detailed checklists of health information to be completed during the first four patient visits – with seven variations of the checklist available according to the area of origin of the patient. The checklists can be completed, e-mailed, printed, or saved in the patient file.
In addition to the checklists, the Refugee and Global Health e-learning site from the Canadian Collaboration for Immigrant and Refugee Health has been developed. The site offers seven modules of interactive cases, core content, and multimedia presentations from doctors, nurses, and students, presenting their medical expertise and lived-in expertise from working in resource-limited settings with vulnerable populations. The modules are organized around key competencies needed by medical practitioners in those situations, including communicator, health expert, advocate, and collaborator.
Case 1 – Working in East Timor
A 2-day-old baby girl is brought to the hospital by her father. As in most developing countries, 90% of infants in East Timor are born at home. The concern is that the baby has stopped breastfeeding and the parents have noticed the baby is having strange spasms. As the doctor, you listen through the interpreter and ask for more information.
Question: What kind of questions would you consider asking the family?
The French and English language modules are licensed through Creative Commons and are openly accessible; they are currently used at universities across Canada and in the US for refugee outreach training, pre-departure training, and preparation for in-service learning.
Outcomes and Benefits
Nature Watch 2.0: The re-designed site, and the mobile app, can be used by students, the public, and members of partner organizations to provide information on species and their environments across the country, encouraging both participatory citizen science and more effective species and environmental change awareness.
Migrant and Refugee Health: The checklists translate 400 pages of guidelines into useful tools for information collection, diagnosis, treatment, teaching and learning. The online modules offer effective learning resources from practitioners, challenging the students with case studies and real-life situations.
Challenges and Enhancements
Migrant and Refugee Health: As the challenge of various electronic health records still exist, the form can be saved in PDF format until a consistent system is implemented.
Nature Watch 2.0: The website will be designed to be more interactive and engaging, linked to the needs and interests of scientists, environmental groups, students, and other individuals. The environmental information will be widely available and shared, as will the implications and analysis.
Migrant and Refuge Health: Some of the modules are being restructured to be more interactive, including more animation, using the open source content management system, Drupal.
The instructional designers in the Centre for e-Learning have written a chapter in a book to be published by La Presse de l’Université Laval on pedagogical design and how they have applied and enhanced it in their practice.
For Further Information
Centre for e-Learning
University of Ottawa