Shared paramedic learning across the UK and Gibraltar: Wimba Live Classroom

Rice, Alan (2012) Shared paramedic learning across the UK and Gibraltar: Wimba Live Classroom. In: Going Global 2012: Internationalising Higher Education; 13-14 Mar 2012, London, U.K.. (Unpublished)


The connected world: Shared Paramedic Learning Across the UK and Gibraltar: Wimba Live Classroom St Georges University of London (SGUL)has delivered a foundation degree in paramedic science since 2004. Since the inception of the programme, cohort numbers have grown. Students are now based in a variety of locations across the UK and in Gibraltar. We are seeing an increasing number of students come into the course from a range of backgrounds including nursing, military and care support. The number of ambulance services working in partnership with SGUL is increasing and now includes the Gibraltar ambulance service. Paramedic higher education is a relatively new pathway with very little evidence to support effective profession specific pedagogy. To accommodate for the increasing diversity and distance challenges Wimba Live Classroom has been employed to host a series of shared learning sessions that are open to all cohorts. Above and beyond the core module content the sessions are hosted by a paramedic lecturer with content delivery by both staff and students on a range of themes. Students are able to interact with the presentations using voice, text or a series of visual images to infer feedback during the session. Sessions delivered so far include case examples of paediatric illness, an overview of the Gibraltar ambulance service and an introduction to diving medicine. This has led to increased dialogue between traditionally separated cohorts and a learning community that encourages open, shared learning that takes advantage of the diverse backgrounds of the students. The use of students to present sessions on areas of interest promotes mentorship and leadership principles which have become a core part of the role of the professional paramedic. An online questionnaire evaluation was distributed to the students and has shown positive response from all cohorts that have been involved. Although the students generally do not feel it should be a replacement for face to face teaching, they do feel it is a valuable addition. Particular strengths were identified to be a platform to share learning and particularly for the Gibraltar students a sense of integration into the UK based programme. Students have demonstrated that the case based approach to the sessions help to promote their clinical understanding of paramedic practice. The success of the Live Classroom sessions has helped to reach beyond the UK borders to assist in delivering teaching and learning to a small cohort of ambulance staff in Gibraltar. Simultaneously it has created a shared lecturer and peer led learning community that plays on the strengths of a diverse student group. With increasing interest in educating paramedics overseas, the Wimba Live Classroom could be an integral part in the teaching and learning strategy of international paramedic education.

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