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Time to write
Fig.1 H809 EMA Mindmap (for fellow H809 / MA ODErs I’ve added a PDF version in the TMA Forum) Created using Simpleminds.
- H809 – Practice-based research in e-learning
- MA ODE – Masters in Open and Distance Education
- TMA – Tutor Marked Assignment
- PDF – PDF
Yonks ago I realised for me the best time to study was v.early in the morning. 4.00 am to breakfast isn’t unusual, 5.00 am is more typical. All it costs is an early night. This is easy too – no television. Its move from the shed to the dump is imminent.
A week ahead of schedule I find I have an EMA to complete – this’ll give me a three hour, exam like run of it. Even the dog knows not to bother me.
For those on the same path the mindmap of my H809 EMA is above.
Ask if you’re interested in a legible PDF version.
This gorse bush off density has patterns within it that I can decipher. The net result ought to come out somewhere around the 4,000 word mark too. This approach could not be more different to my earliest TMAs and EMAs three years ago – they were too often the product of what I call ‘jazz writing’ (this kind of thing), just tapping away to see where it takes you. This process used to start on scrolls of backing wallpaper taped to my bedroom wall. Now it goes onto a whiteboard first.
As always this blog is an e-portfolio: most notes, moments in student forums and references are in here.
I recommend using a blog platform in this way. You can default to ‘private’, or share with the OU community … or ‘anyone in the world’. One simple addition to this would be a ‘share with your module cohort’.
By now I have clicked through some 165 posts taggeed H809 and can refer to H809ema for those picked out for it.
One split occured – I very much wanted to explore the use of augmented reality in museum visits, but found instead a combination of necessity and logic taking me back to the H809 TMA 01 and a substantial reversioning of it. Quite coincidentally this proposed research on adherence to preventer drugs amongst moderate to severe asthmatics had me taking a very close interest on a rare visit to a hospital outpatient’s. Nasal endoscopy must look like a circus trick to the casual observer as the consultant carefully ‘lances’ my skull through the nose with a slender and flexible rod on which there is a tiny camera and light. ‘Yes, I can see the damage from surgery’ he declares (this was 33 years ago), ‘but no signs of cancer’.
There’s a relief.
An unexplained nose bleed lasting the best part of 10 weeks was put down to my good-boy adherence to a steroid nasal spray that had damaged the soft tissue. And the medical profession wonder why drug adherence can be so low? 20% to 60% 33 years on and courtesy of the OU Library I found a wholly convincing diagnosis – allergic rhinitis. The ‘paper’ runs to over 80 pages excluding references and has some 20 contributors (Bousquet, 2008). I’ll so miss access to the online library as most papers appear to cost around the £9 to download. This desire to remain attached by a digital umbilical chord to such a resource is one reason I wish to pursue yet more postgraduate studying and potentially even an academic career. I get extraordinary satisfaction browsing ‘stuff’ to feed my curiosity.
When I stop diddling around here I’ll pick off this mindmap in a strick clockwise direction from around 1 O’Clock.
Simpleminds is great as a free App. It’s taken me a couple of years to get round to paying £6 for a version that can be exported into a word file though I rather enjoy the slower, more considered ‘cut and paste’ which adds another opportunity to reflect, expand or ditch an idea.
Bousquet, J, Khaltaev, N, Cruz, A, Denburg, J, Fokkens, W, Togias, A, Zuberbier, T, Baena-Cagnani, C, Canonica, G, Van Weel, C, Agache, I, Aït-Khaled, N, Bachert, C, Blaiss, M, Bonini, S, Boulet, L, Bousquet, P, Camargos, P, Carlsen, K, & Chen, Y (2008) ‘Allergic Rhinitis and its Impact on Asthma (ARIA) 2008 Update (in collaboration with the World Health Organization, GA2LEN’, Allergy, 63, pp. 8-160, Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost, viewed 19 June 2013.
We’re no longer trying to sell magic potions out the back of a tub-trap
Fig.1. We’re no longer trying to sell magic potions out the back of a tub-trap.
Still playing catch-up after the Tutor Marked Assignment (TMA)
Through week six writing and most activities (a few hours left to wrap)
I’m on my seventh Open University Postgraduate module – six on e-learning, one from the MBA programme.
I’m familiar with week 7 as we begin week 8.
I’ll catch up over the weekend.
If it rains a good deal and my son’s football is off (again). This will come back to haunt me – with all the bad weather they are moving to two matches a week. The Daddy Taxi might be busy.
For H809 conjured up the ‘Perfect Storm of Online Research’
- Young people, including minors
- Online – gamified if not virtual worlds, with social aspects (whether wanted or not)
- Medical – not a medical market research but ostensibly an ‘intervention’ of sorts that would require expertise, training and sign off for everyone involved.
- Global – what isn’t if it is accessible online?
The good news?
- They haven’t found life on Mars yet so I can keep it contained to Earth.
- Set further parameters.
I’m looking at use of e-learning to improve uptake of preventer medication by young people with severe moderate asthma (i.e. they are supposed to take a daily preventer inhaler, like me, I do – they don’t).
I may ‘contain’ the research to a group where in some cases a step has already been taken to ameliorate the situation – swimming. I’ll talk to the ASA (hypothetical) and have participants as UK swimmers with asthma
This on ethics and permissions relating to research will be of value.
University of Oxford Research Integrity
By entering medical research I have entered a minefield!
There are pages of protocols and procedures, training and checks with personnel and so on from the universities, the NHS and UK Government legislation.
Fig.2 A foothill just turned into climbing Olympus Mons, the 21000m largest mountain on Mars.
A picnic just turned into a medieval banquet for Henry VIII and all his six wives … (I’m off to walk the dog).
If I’m burying my head in sand then it is the red sand of Mars. In any case, why climb Olympus Mons when I can land on it in a Twitter / PayPal sponsored Mars Rocket.
In truth I am reassured by the scope and comprehensive nature of the guidelines, protocols and legislation.
- Artist Rendering of Olympus Mons on Mars (myscienceacademy.org)
- Olympus Mons: Giant Mountain of Mars (space.com)
Reflection on Block 1 – towards compliance for those with moderate severe asthma
The most straight forward of assignments has proved anything but … not for how to write this 2000 word piece, that is straight forward, but rather committing to a subject, then narrowing down the theme, possible research question and then dig up some papers … and not simply offer the lot, but give the five ‘that say it all’. To pick five how many must you read, at least as abstracts. I made three false starts, even read a PhD thesis on blogging before deciding it is a minefield. I may like to blog but I no more want to research it for an OU assignment than sort out pebbles on Brighton Beach. Lifelogging, memory and neuroscience all interest me … but are too big to get my head around in a few months – a few years perhaps. Looking at my notes I see I have papers also on augmented learning for field trips and museum visits. Then I returned to a platform that caught my eye three yesrs ago on H807 when I interviewed Dr. B. Price Kerfoot of Harvard Medical School on ‘Spaced Education’. So far this system has been usef with doctors, to support their learning and decission making … the next step will be patients. One of the humdingers here is ‘compliance’ – taking the medication you are prescribed if you have a chronic condition. What dawned on me this afternoon is that as a asthmatic I am the perfect patient – compliant to the nth degree. What surprised me is that such a large percentage of asthmatics are not. But with alleregies – a double-whammy of irritations, I ignore the nasal steroids and antehistemines almost completely. Compliant, and defiant in one go so just about canceeling the two out. But why? This is what fasciantes. You know you need to take something to avoid a return of the symptoms, but as there are no symptoms you stop taking the medication. Anyway, I am sifting through papers to set me straight and to offer some answers. If you have a moderately severe chronic condition and wish to share your medication regime or attitude please speak up – asthma, allergies, diabetes, epilepsy, other mental illnesses – chat on Skype? Meanwhile I checked my preventer inhaler – it was empty. I at least had a spare and will get a repeat prescription in tomorrow.
The wonders of the OU Library
I will never tire from serving my curiosity when I entre the OU Online Library. I am often lost for weeks at a time, dipping into everything that catches my eye, reading some of if all the way through, following up further leads, then further leads until I find I’ve either circumnavigated the globe, dropped back a century or more or am spinning circles in a slow, spiraling descent through a single authors previous thinking.
I don’t need a ball of thread to help me find my way out and there’s no Minotaur to slay at the centre.
All I hate is a underpowered laptop and a rubbish internet connection.
Currently my interest is reseach on compliance, noncompliance, adherence and coherence in use of asthma drugs. I should know, I am one. My compliance is excellent. One asthma attack in my teens and I do everything to the letter. I fail to understand how and why 30% of people with my condition end up hospitalised or dead. The reading is extraordinarily diverse, bringing it down to the person, their identity with the condition and unwillingness to take a couple of puffs on an inhaler morning and night – when surely they are in and out of the bathroom anyway?
If you know any asthmatics like this please put them in touch or send them to my blog where I will add notes.
How to improve asthma patient outcomes using spaced education
There had been no plans to make this content public, but I thought I’d share it because of my interesting realisation that the Zemanta search tool may be a reasonably valid way to winkle out papers relevant to a topic of interest. Out of habit it now I offer link to further content that on first appearances seems to offer similar or contrasting views. Before I look at the selection that was offered to me, and the 7 from the 16 or so I was offered I am going to go through conventional route using the Open University Online Library and see what I may find that to any large extent differs.
I am not a physician or Medical Docotor, though I am asthmatic and have been in, on and off a variety of inhalers and sometimes oral steroids for some thirty years.
Preventer – Inhaled Steroid – two puffs twice a day. Used with a spacer to reduce chances of thrush.
Reliever – as needed, which is generally never, with rare need if I develop a chest infection, in which case I may end up on antibiotics anyway.
Oral Steroids – Very rarely, usually related to a chest infection. Once every five years?
Nebulizer – Never. Unlike my late father and one (or two) relations who take the view that they only need the preventer when they are wheezy … and end up hospitalised when they have an asthma attack and in the case of my father on steroids for so long that he became diabetic.
Preventative measures – know your triggers, avoid them, keep fit and attend an annual Asthma Clinic. I have to be cautious with house dust allergy and its partner in crime – damp. The odd list of triggers includes, at times, bleach, cumin seeds, one of the Lucozade sports drinks (odd that, coming from GSK who also produce asthma drugs). Possibly white flour. Yeast causes other problems too. We have a dog, but I’m not comfortable for long in a house with soft furnishings where there are cats. Get the bedroom windows open as often as possible. Use a specialist vacuum cleaner on the mattress, pillows and duvet. No carpets. No curtain. Leather sofa preferred.
Fig. 1. Twenty years ago I found myself producing, directing and writing a two information videos for a major pharmaceutical company – ‘Living with Asthma’ and ‘the Cost of Asthma’.
These had a shelf life of some ten to fifteen years, eventually to be replaced by DVD and online interactive equivalents. We did a combination of narrative drama reconstruction – a thread from a TV soap in which a protagonist has an asthma attack, interviews with patients and experts (doctors and pharma) and narration with 3D animations and charts.
The purpose of this exercise is to:
- Justify and explain the question for a piece of empirical research.
- Offer FIVE pieces that support then set you research on its way.
|What is the proposed research about?||Asthma patient ignorance of best practice in relation to taking their prescribe drugs – why they are taking the drugs, how they work, when they should take them, how and how often …|
|What is it trying to find out or achieve?||Improve patient care i.e. compliance (UK) – so taking their medicine correctly. This is important where the condition is chronic and the symptoms aren’t continuous. People tend to lapse taking the preventative drugs … it takes several days on onset of symptoms for these to kick in.|
|How will it go about doing that?||A randomised controlled trial in which all asthmatics are invited to sign up to receive information over a period of x months, reminders about asthma and their drug taking regime.|
|What will we learn from it and why was it worth learning?||That a significant percentage of asthmatics who have been prescribed an inhaled steroid (preventer medicine) to take twice daily are failing to do so, simply because they don’t see the need to do so unless they are feeling wheezy (a misconception, it should be taken regardless) or they allow their inhalers to run on empty for some time before being aware of this.That a significant percentage of asthmatics, probably largely the same group as above, misuse their reliever inhaler a) taking it too often b) not correctly inhaling so that drug ends up lining their mouth rather than entering their lungs.Taking the right dosage of inhaled steroid, as prescribed, in the correct manner, is likely to reduce need for the reliever inhaler to nil and will result in less long term damage being done to the lining of the lungs.It will improve patient outcomes, reduce the use of inhibitors and reduce hospital visits or overnights where a person has suffered an avoidable asthma attack.|
- Study Shows Combining 2 Inhalers Could Be Better Treatment For Asthma Patients (pittsburgh.cbslocal.com)
- Asthma Threatens The Baby Boomers Generation (livingwithallergy.com)
- New Phase 2 Asthma Clinical Trial Now Enrolling at Achieve Clinical Research in Birmingham, Alabama; Accepting Male & Female Participants Age 16-75 (prweb.com)
- 3 Steps To Helping Your Asthmatic Child (dominicspoweryoga.com)
BLOGS ON ACCESSIBILITY
Jonathan, who has a degenerative spinal condition which means he uses a wheelchair and has carers to assist him, has first hand experience of the challenges faced by people living with disabilities – especially in the business world. “I used to run multi-million pound companies and I’d go with some of my staff into meetings with corporate bank managers and they’d say to my staff, ‘it’s really good of you to bring a service user along’, and I’d say, ‘hang on, I’m the MD – it’s my money!’
Michael Janger has a passionate interest in products and technologies that enable people with disabilities to enjoy a better quality of life, and works with businesses to effectively market and sell these products to the disability market.
I think there are two basic assumptions that you need in order support inclusion (in any context)
- All human beings are created equal (you know the American way) and deserve to be treated as such.
- All human beings have a desire to belong in a community and live, thrive and have a sense of purpose.
The important takeaway…when you assume people want to belong. Then is it our duty as educators, parents, and advocates to figure out how we can make that happen.
Institute of Community Inclusion
For over 40 years, the Institute for Community Inclusion (ICI) has worked to ensure that people with disabilities have the same opportunity to dream big, and make their dreams a fully included, integrated, and welcomed reality. ICI strives to create a world where all people with disabilities are welcome and fully included in valued roles wherever they go, whether a school, workplace, volunteer group, home, or any other part of the community. All of ICI’s efforts stem from one core value: that people with disabilities are more of an expert than anyone else. Therefore, people with disabilities should have the same rights and controls and maintain lives based on their individual preferences, choices, and dreams.
Cerebral Palsy Career Builders
How to deal with the following:
Do you need help getting around?
Fig.1. Signage plonked in your face as you exit the tube station at Tower Hill
My antennae are out for anything and everything to do with accessibility – this caught my eye because there is no mention of disability or accessibility – nor should there be. I find phrases like ‘disabled persons’ or, instead of the icons such as these – words like ‘wheel-chair user’, ‘blind’ or ‘visually impaired’ and ‘deaf’ as outmoded and inappropriate as efforts to define ‘people of colour’.
I rather liked the ‘older old’ which I say in something yesterday – by anyone’s reckoning Rupert Murdoch at 82 is ‘old’ whereas his mother who died yesterday was certainly ‘older old’. Given how long-lived we are becoming Shakespeare’s ‘Seven Ages of Man’ ought to be rephrased as ‘the nine (or ten) ages of … ‘persons’ (yuk)
I rather like ‘oldies’ too – but do they?
The relevance of this two-fold: the integration rather than the segregation of disability into the population – at many levels we are all just ‘people’ and the language should reflect this; universal language as well as universal design – so understanding at what ‘levels’ words also need to be chosen with care. As this sign does so well there is no need or value in defining the need by labelling people with certain disabilities, at deeper levels then yes, clarifying and responding, for example to a visual impairment and then refining this to the blind, legally blind, sight impaired, short sighted and so on is necessary. Getting the context right matters. Giving it some thought – and having people in place to give it this thought – helps.
Transport and access to public services
Transport for London – Disability Guides
- Activity designed to provide an insight into scripting content that is image rich for the visually impaired (mymindbursts.com)
- Perkins School For The Blind Holds Job Fair For Visually Impaired (boston.cbslocal.com)
- Video Magnifier for the Visually Impaired Designed by HumanWare Now Offered by Rehabmart.com (prweb.com)
Notes on a history of England’s first school for the blind
This is part of the Open University Masters in Open and Distance Education (MAODE) module H810 (Access to online learning for students with a disability) Activity 12.1 History
Braille provided a way to read material that could be reused by blind people and reduced the pressure on readers.
The attitude to blindness pioneered by those who founded Worcester College is, I think, best exemplified by Samuel Forster when he asserted that ‘the blind boy of healthy body and sound brain is, to all intents and purposes, nothing more than a seeing boy, whose lot is cast in the dark…blind boys are boys first, then boys in the dark…’, an attitude which much later became embodied in the school’s motto, “Possunt quia posse videntur”, They can, because they think they can.
Is preparedness for employment of greater value than an ‘education’?
- The debate rumbles on in relation to all secondary and tertiary education, whether ‘academic’ or vocational.
- Thomas Anderson, manager of the Edinburgh Asylum before he went to York, was a great advocate of the utilitarian approach, and censured the English organisations for concentrating on schooling rather than employment.
- Why educate the blind student if they have no gainful employment or means of supporting themselves afterwards? What indeed is the point in education if nothing follows for anyone? In developing the frustration takes young people onto the streets to protest.
As Ritchie says, ‘education was the attainment of a certain degree of factual awareness and the acquisition of a quantum of information—the names of the kings of Israel, the lengths of the chief rivers of the globe and several other categories of facts all equally unconnected with the growing and developing nature of the young’.
Of what use is this to the young blind student? Or should it be in addition to the practicalities of living beyond their school?
- The prevalent view a century ago was that knowing stuff equated to intelligence. In 1918 on applying to join the fledgling RAF my late grandfather told me how he was asked to name the six most northern counties of England.
- A challenge the blind could do without and that was met most readily by those families with the means.
Higher education for blind children was confined to those fortunate enough to be born into families with the means and the will to provide this privately.
- Something that across provision for disabled students hasn’t changed, for example, the specialist Northease School charges annual fees of £25,000 p.a. which, usually after a tribunal, local authorities may pay – while of course the well off have no such hoops to go through.
- Inspiration from those who make it:
Blind Jack of Knaresborough, the road-builder, Nicholas Saunderson, the Cambridge mathematician, Thomas Blacklock, writer, teacher and philosopher,
James Gale, inventor, and Elizabeth Gilbert, a major figure in nineteenth-century blind welfare.
It would be wrong to suppose that blindness, like other handicaps, necessarily acts as a stimulating challenge.
Blindness may act as a challenge, but only under favourable circumstances. The exceptions emphasize how grim were the prospects of blind children before education for the blind became an accepted fact of life: conditions were too bad for the handicap to stimulate.
They were (says its 1872 report) ‘to bestow a sound and liberal education upon persons of the male sex afflicted with total or partial blindness, and belonging, by birth or kinship, to the upper, the professional, or the middle classes of society.
These unctuous and somewhat naive sentiments were, fortunately for his pupils, not characteristic of Forster. His attitude towards the education of the blind was unusually realistic and forward-looking. In 1883 he read a paper at the York Conference entitled “A plea for the higher culture of the blind”.
‘The blind boy of healthy body and sound brain is, to all intents and purposes, nothing more than a seeing boy, whose lot is cast in the dark. The mysterious effects of this constant living in the dark have always exercised the imagination and sentiment of tender-hearted persons; but teachers of the blind prefer to disregard it, and come in time to forget it. To them blind boys are boys first, then boys in the dark…. needing the special aids and ingenious contrivances required by the circumstances.’
Presume nothing, ask the end user:
- Forster wisely consulted some of his older pupils, and they advised adapting braille for the purpose.
- Flexible, adaptable, accommodating and building on past experience and successes – so motivational and supportive rather than prescriptive.
- Since braille was the only system which could feasibly be written, the boys learnt to write braille.
‘Teaching to write with a pen and pencil is now generally abandoned as a waste of time’: but those boys who could write before they went blind were encouraged to keep it up. Forster admitted that much teaching was still oral, but not to the extent it was ten years before.
Can’t start young enough, so perhaps schools can introduce tools and software.
Forster was very keen to get his pupils at as early an age as possible, preferably seven or eight, for no kindergarten was then in existence, and the later the pupils arrived, the harder it was to teach them.
Ingenious and inventive:
Mr Marston has been ingeniously endeavouring to apply these games to the use of “our” boys, by means of the principle of localisation of sound.
The difficulties of those boys (roughly one in five) who went on to university are worth elaborating. The student’s main need was for an intelligent sighted reader, for he had few textbooks with which to follow lectures.
‘Daily shewing how the same visitation is robbed of its severity, and overruled to practical good.’
Vincent work station:
The software which accompanies the workstation makes it a versatile aid, but its uses might be grouped roughly into three main areas. First, and most obvious, it is a method of communication with non-braillists. Second, it is a valuable teaching aid. Third – it’s fun!
(Bignall and Brown, 1985)
Bell, D. (ed.) (1967) The History of Worcester College for the Blind 1866–1966, London, Hutchinson & Co.
Bignall, R. and Brown, E. (1985) ‘Vincent Workstation’, The British Journal of Visual Impairment, vol. 3, pp. 17–19.