Educational questions answered

When presenting Physiopedia at higher education institutions I repeatedly get asked the same questions with respect to the purpose and usability of this online resource. With this post I hope to formally answer some of these questions and encourage more higher education institutions to take part in the creation of this professional resource.

What place does Physiopedia have in education?
There is a shift in education for institutions to become involved in e-learning somehow. Now I personally think that blended learning, a combination of distance and face-to-face learning, is the best approach and feel that in these times of recession Physiopedia can provide that opportunity for free. Institutions can organise and monitor group projects in Physiopedia or students may wish to work independently to enhance their own studies. Group projects within Physiopedia could include assignments such as creating or reviewing pages, debates such as literature reviews, lecture preparation and case studies. Overall it is an excellent activity for developing skills of reflection, critical assessment, and writing and ultimately it provides a great opportunity for students to get involved in the creation of this collaboratively created global resource for our profession. See the educators guide for more information…

How will the students benefit?
Apart from being involved in the creation of this globally collaborative website they will each have their own individual page within Physiopedia where they can produce a profile and portfolio of work. The work that they complete within Physiopedia will be credited to them and link back to their profile page. The more work that they complete within Physiopedia the greater their professional online presence will be.

How will our institution benefit?
Each institution that encourages their students to become involved in Physiopedia is acknowledged on the pages that their students have worked on and permanently featured on our acknowledgements page. It is also possible for each institution to create their own profile page to increase their online presence further and demonstrate their involvement in this international collaborative project.

What about IP?
We know that it is standard policy for institutions to ‘own’ the work that their students are assessed on throughout their education. However, I think I’m right in saying that most institutions do not own the work that students complete in preparation for assessed work. With this situation students could complete individual or a group project within Physiopedia and then be assessed on related presentations or written work. This has certainly been the case for the first module that was completed in Physiopedia by the RCSI students.

Who monitors the content?
We realise that some people are concerned about the value of the content that is written in Physiopedia, especially if students are involved in this creation process. However the whole idea of the project is that it is a collaborative effort by our profession to monitor and edit pages so that information is kept correct and up-to-date. Over time, with this approach, the resource will become more and more valuable as a reference resource (more on that in a moment!).

That having been said Physiopedia also has an international board of moderators who are experienced physiotherapists. At the moment this involves a small number of people monitoring large areas of the site but we anticipate that experienced physiotherapists will join us to monitor specific areas that are of particular interest to them. If you would like to be a part of this moderating team just let us know!

How valuable is Physiopedia as a reference?
Like Wikipedia Physiopedia is only as good as the content that has been created and although we expect a high level of evidence based content creation from our profession we do not expect students to use it as reference source. We anticipate that students may use Physiopedia like one might use Wikipedia, to find information on a particular topic that they are researching and use it as a place to direct them to other relevant resources and evidence. It is by no means a substitute for a thorough literature review.

I’m sure that I haven’t covered everything or answered everyone’s questions but hope that I may have instilled a bit more confidence in Physiopedia as a suitable e-learning tool for physiotherapy education. If you have any other concerns please do comment below and I will answer them here, alternatively you can contact me directly.