The Social MEDia Course: “Social media is an extremely valuable and powerful tool for education”

I designed and launched The Social MEDia Course for those medical students and professionals who would like to know more about e-patients, social media-related issues and digital literacy but did not have such a course at their medical school. I published two interviews before with the first graduates.

Dr Jill Tomlinson, Webmaster and Newsletter Editor of the Australian Federation of Medical Women; and Plastic, Reconstructive and Hand Surgeon just completed all the tests and agreed to answer a few questions.

  • Why did you decide to take all the tests? Do you have any experience with social media?

I undertook the course to build knowledge in areas of social media that I had limited or no experience in, and to learn additional tips and tricks in areas that I already participate in. I did the entire course because I’ve a lifelong thirst for knowledge and I didn’t want to miss out on any aspect!

I’ve used social media for almost a decade, primarily through blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Google, YouTube and LinkedIn. I have medical colleagues overseas that I’ve known online through social media since 2005, including individuals who are mentioned in the course materials. I’ve used Facebook groups to help medical women network on state, national and international levels since 2008. Social media is an extremely valuable and powerful tool for education, networking and communicating with people who have similar interests. The online medical world is full of dynamic and intriguing perspectives and there’s always something new in the pipeline.

  • Was it hard to complete any of the tests?

Some of the tests were a little tricky, largely the ones that required specific recall of numbers and dates. However, the tests were straightforward and if I didn’t get them right the required revision was good for me – as often happens in medicine, repetition was the key to success!

  • Which prezi was your favorite one and why?

It’s not easy to pick a favourite but “Collaboration” stood out because I love using internet technologies to collaborate with individuals in different states and countries. The prezi taught me new methods and it was exciting thinking about the many practical applications for the organisations I work with.

I was surprised but delighted to learn new tricks from the “Search engines” prezi. The “Wikipedia” and “Medical Wiki’s” were quite topical as was launched in May 2012 – those prezis will be useful pre-reading for any surgeon who wants to contribute to this Australian surgical wiki. I also enjoyed the e-Patient prezi; I’d encountered ePatients before through TED Talks and blogs and was excited to see the progress that is being made in this area and to think about how I can contribute and assist.

  • How much time did it take all together to finish the course?

It took around 5 weeks to finish the course, while I was working full time.

  • Do you have any suggestions about improving the course?

As social media evolves rapidly it may be a challenge to keep the course content and its students up to date – but then that is an ongoing challenge of modern life!

To get the most out of the course I recommend that participants introduce a practical component to it to make sure they use their knowledge. For instance, if you do the “Microblogging” prezi and you don’t have a Twitter account then start one! If you don’t use RSS then get started and see how it simplifies your web browsing experience. Use the knowledge that you get from the prezis to develop new skills and save time.

  • Do you think this course is suitable for introducing medical students and professionals to digital literacy?

Absolutely! This course is well designed and has something for all medical students and professionals. I am recommending it to all my medical networks.