Excerpt: “Free Open Access Meducation (FOAM) is a novel and expanding method of communicating best practice and research findings. FOAM refers to blogs, podcasts, websites, applications and other freely available resources used for medical education. Given its accessibility for potential authors, removal of funding needs and independence from large institutions, FOAM may be less subject to gender bias than traditional publishing methods. We, as a group of medical students who frequently use FOAM, collaborated with two paediatricians who develop FOAM resources, in order to assess and discuss the extent of gender bias in paediatric FOAM. Our team is actively working towards gender equality in medicine, most notably through Dr Knight’s work as co-founder of Women Speakers in Healthcare and founder of www.paediatricfoam.com.
To our knowledge, there is no previously published work investigating gender bias within FOAM. FOAM’s novel nature provides a unique opportunity to recognise, assess and tackle potential gender bias before FOAM becomes more institutionalised. To this end, we conducted a study collecting data on author gender within paediatric peer-reviewed and FOAM sources….”
Excerpt: “We would argue that comparing peer-reviewed journal publications with FOAM is not a like-for-like comparison as, for the former, the number of males or females submitting articles is not known. This is relevant as in FOAM the authorship comes from a generally fixed pool of contributors and one of the FOAM websites cited (Pediatric EM Morsels) has a single male author. A potential alternative method could have looked at paediatric FOAM sites with more than two authors, for example this would have included the analysis of three platforms with 59% (DFTB), 56% (Pediatric EM), and 50% (Paediatric FOAM) female authors….”
The coronavirus outbreak has had significant impact on medical students worldwide. SMILE is a free online access medical education (FOAMEd) platform. SMILE delivered 200 lectures during lockdown with up to 1400 students per session from UK medical schools and 33 abroad. Here we discuss student perceptions to SMILE during lockdown
A survey was used to collect information from students who had utilised the platform during lockdown. This examined access to learning, impact on mental health during lockdown and the differences between FOAMed and more traditional based campus lecture-based learning.
1306 students responded to the survey. The majority of students were concerned regarding their training during lockdown, with 71% reporting an impact on their stress levels and 44% reporting a negative impact on mental health.
On average students attended 4.3hours of teaching put on by their university per week, vs 7.9hours by SMILE.
Positives included anonymity, making 80% more likely to both ask and answer questions, the informal approach, ease of access and enthusiastic teachers. Negatives included time differences and technical issues.
Lockdown provided challenges in medical education, which platforms like SMILE addressed. Our experiences highlighted many positive outcomes of online medical education that may be applicable to other educators.
SMILE is a free online access medical education (FOAMEd) platform created by two UK surgical trainees and a medical student that delivered over 200 medical lectures during lockdown.
The role of Social Media in the development of SMILE was interrogated using a survey sent to all SMILE participants and by analysing activity on SMILE social media platforms.
1306 students responded to the online survey with 57.2% saying they heard of SMILE through Facebook. Engagement using facebook remained highest with 13,819 members, over 800 user comments and >16,000 user reactions.
4% of the students heard of SMILE through Twitter or Instagram.
Facebook analytics revealed the highest level of traffic when lectures were most commonly held suggesting students used Facebook to access lectures.
Other educators were able to find SMILE on social media, leading to collaborations with other platforms.
Throughout the survey many mentioned how social media created and maintained a community of medical students enhancing group-based learning
We demonstrate that social media platforms provide popular and cost-effective methods to promote, sustain & deliver medical education for students and educators.
Abstract: Purpose Free Open Access Medical Education (FOAMed) is a worldwide social media movement designed to accelerate and democratise the sharing of medical knowledge. This study sought to investigate the content shared through FOAMed during the emerging COVID-19 pandemic.
Study design Tweets containing the #FOAMed hashtag posted during a 24-hour period in April 2020 were studied. Included tweets were analysed using the Wiig knowledge management cycle framework (building knowledge, holding knowledge, pooling knowledge and using knowledge).
Results 1379 tweets contained the #FOAMed hashtag, of which 265 met the inclusion criteria and were included in the analysis. Included tweets were posted from 208 distinct users, originated from each world continent and were in five different languages. Three overarching themes were identified: (1) signposting and appraising evidence and guidelines; (2) sharing specialist and technical advice; and (3) personal and social engagement. Among 12 subthemes within these groupings, 11 aligned to one of the four dimensions of the Wiig knowledge management cycle framework, and the other focused on building and managing social networks. Almost 40% of tweets related directly to COVID-19.
Conclusion #FOAMed tweets during the COVID-19 pandemic included a broad range of resources, advice and support. Despite the geographical, language and disciplinary variation of contributing users and the lack of organisational structure uniting them, this social media medical community has been able to construct, share and use emerging technical knowledge through a time of extraordinary challenge and uncertainty for the global medical community.
This article is made freely available for use in accordance with BMJ’s website terms and conditions for the duration of the covid-19 pandemic or until otherwise determined by BMJ. You may use, download and print the article for any lawful, non-commercial purpose (including text and data mining) provided that all copyright notices and trade marks are retained.
Abstract: Introduction Free Open Access Meducation (FOAM) describes online resources assisting learning in medicine. Little is known about users or their behaviours.
Methods Using Google Analytics for a popular FOAM site (www.paedatricfoam.com), we explored user demographics and patterns of behaviour. We analysed these further with descriptive and statistical tests using SPSS (version 26). Data are presented as mean (SD).
Results There were 181.44 (75.16) mean daily users accessing the site throughout a 4-month period during 2018/2019. 68.9% of users were female; 44% were 25–34 years; 57.3% used a mobile device. The mean session duration was 73.55 (9.41) seconds, with more time spent per session and a greater number of pages per session observed in users accessing the site from a desktop or tablet as opposed to a mobile phone. 84.3% of mobile users left the site after viewing a single page. Referral source was also associated with device used (p<0.001). Age was not related to user behaviours (p>0.05).
Discussion FOAM is a rapidly developing form of medical education, with large user numbers seen for a site just 2 years old. The site is being used by many beyond its intended readership. Rather than accessing multiple pages from a desktop, users have varied online behaviours, with the majority viewing a single page on a mobile phone, referred by social media or Google.
Conclusions Google Analytics can powerfully display usage of medical websites but has important limitations if statistical exploration is required. FOAM users are a heterogenous group, and thus content should be designed with this in mind. Further research must be prioritised focussing on the scope, curriculum coverage, accuracy of information and the effectiveness of FOAM as an educational resource.
Abstract: Background Clinicians are increasingly using social media for professional development and education. In 2012, we developed the St.Emlyn’s blog, an open access resource dedicated to providing free education in the field of emergency medicine.
Objective To describe the development and growth of this international emergency medicine blog.
Method We present a narrative description of the development of St.Emlyn’s blog. Data on scope, impact and engagement were extracted from WordPress, Twitter and Google Analytics.
Results The St.Emlyn’s blog demonstrates a sustained growth in size and user engagement. Since inception in 2012, the site has been viewed over 1.25?million times with a linear year-on-year growth. We have published over 500 blog posts, each of which attracts a mean of 2466 views (range 382–69?671). The site has been viewed in nearly every country in the world, although the majority (>75%) of visitors come from the USA, UK and Australia.
Summary This case study of an emergency medicine blog quantifies the reach and engagement of social-media-enabled learning in emergency medicine.
Abstract: Free Open Access Med(ical edu)cation refers to an online community of knowledge relating to medicine. Originating from practitioners in emergency medicine, it has since spread to critical care, internal medicine, prehospital medicine, paediatrics, and allied health professionals and continues to grow at an advanced rate. Weblogs (‘blog’ for short), emails, social media (in particular Twitter), recorded audio material ((podcasts), and video material are all produced on a daily basis and contribute to the continual professional development of trainees and consultants worldwide. In this article, we explain its background, rise to prominence, and explore some of its controversies.
“For this post, Natalie Lafferty and Annalisa Manca from Dundee Medical School tell us about their experiences and ideas about using Open Data as teaching and learning resources for healthcare students.”