Friday, July 18, 2014


There will be no new post next week, as I will be riding RAGBRAI, the Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa. This year the route generally runs along the northern border of the state, starting at Rock Valley, and then overnighting at the following towns: Okoboji, Emmetsburg, Forest City, Mason City, Waverly, Independence and ending in Guttenburg. The route length is about 440 miles, and 5 out of 7 days the daily distance is around 70 miles, while there are 2 shorter days of about 40 miles each.

It's a grand time. You see parts of Iowa that are only infrequently visited. You pass through many small farming communities. People are friendly, and the food is good. There is pie, corn and pork tenderloin sandwiches. You may see Mr. Porkchop, and sometimes the best part of the day is when you stop for some shaved ice. I learn a lot each time. I look forward to it each year, even as I get older.

So, back on July 28. Rider on!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Free and Easy Tech Tools

During last week’s in-service session with Dr. Teresa Freking, she ended the session with a list of useful utilities and applications faculty could use to help create blended coursework. This is a compendium of some of the programs she mentioned.

1.       Screencastomatic ( : This is a program that allows you capture your screen activity using a single click. In essence, it records what happens on the screen for the period of time you let it. You can use a basic version (for up to 15 minutes at a time) for free, or pay $15 per year for unlimited recording time.

2.       Khan Academy ( Khan Academy provides you with access to a great number of general video clips over a wide range of topics, including computer science and health and medicine.

3.       Movie Captioner ( This allows you to put captions onto any movie or video clip you wish to show in class. This is useful for universal access for students, for example, with hearing impairment.

4.       Survey Monkey ( A now standard program that allows you to easily create online surveys. You can sign up for free, which allows you limited access and numbers of participants, or pay for the pro version, which allows you unlimited access and numbers of participants. For most of us for classroom use, free will be fine.

5.       Poll Everywhere ( This is sort fo cool. You can create a poll which you can bring up on screen. Your audience can then answer the poll using either a mobile phone, Twitter or a web browser, and you can then show the audience the results live or import into a PowerPoint presentation. Sort of like clickers, but without the need to use clickers.

6.       Jing ( Jing is a free program that allows you to share images and short videos from your computer screen, and it allows you to add visual elements to what you show.

7.       Dipity ( DIpity is a program that allows you develop timelines, such as theone Dr. Freking showed in class that demonstrated the growth of technology programs for the classroom.

In addition, she listed a number of other programs, which you may feel free to check into: Amara, Vimeo, Creative Commons, Youtube, Ted Ed. Please consider using some of these- they are fun, easy, and can transform how you teach others.

Monday, July 7, 2014

A Hearty Welcome Back!

Just a brief note from me to welcome you all back from what I hope was a restful and happy break. At the Davenport campus today we have an in-service on blended learning. And to all, just a reminder that deadlines for submission to ACC-RAC are coming up faster than you might think. Workshop proposals need to be submitted by July 15, and abstracts for platform presentations should be submitted before the end of August. Don't forget IRB approvals where necessary.

I am looking forward to a wonderful new term. See you all soon.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Another End-of-Term Youtube Extravaganza

This being the end of the term here at Davenport, it is always time for some fun, so here are links to a new slate of youtube clips. We are off for a few weeks not, and so I will return at the start of our new term.

1. Starting out serious, this is a great clip about how to make effective scientific presentations. While it is long, it does a great job of providing you information to aid you as you develop presentations, such as for ACC-RAC.

2. This is a film of the infamous crash in the 2012 Tour de France. It is hard to watch, and you need to look at what happens to the rider in the back. What is most amazing is that he got back on the bike, and completed the day’s ride as well as the complete Tour. This after he landed up against a barbed wire fence!

3. Little 11-year-old Brook Rabatou, a record-setting rock climber. Of course, her mom was a top climber as well… but this is pretty amazing.

4. You’ve not heard the old spiritual Amazing Grace played like this before. By the astonishing Victor Wooten.

5. One more bass player. Because, you know, I played bass for years. So I remember when I first saw this broadcast, of the Crossroads Festival, there was this young women hanging with Jeff Beck. I thought she must be his daughter, not that I remembered him having kids. And then she walked out with him, holding a bass guitar. Who the heck is this? Then she began to play. Holy cow! First introduction to the amazing- and at the time only 22-year-old- Tal Wilkenfeld. Young enough to be Beck’s grand-daughter!

6. Japanese synchromized walking. Must be seen to be believed!

7. Rick Jay on card control. This man is scary  to a degree that frightens me. Never play cards with him. Ever.

8. All military homecomings are worth watching!

9. RAGBRAI. I cannot get enough of RAGBRAI. I’ll be riding my 10th in July.

10. Jefferson Airplane. American Bandstand. Only someone as old as me will remember this…

Monday, June 2, 2014

Technology- Good and Bad

This past week was a reminder that, for as much as technology helps us, it also can create problems for us, in unexpected ways. At our Davenport campus, we lost the use of ParScore. And when you begin to consider what this means, it can boggle your mind. We have a Student Information System (SIS), which is coordinated via PowerCampus, and which links to so many different areas of college function. For example, it links to financial aid, to the business office, and it links to faculty via classroom rosters. We download rosters from PowerCampus at the start of the term. This populates our ParScore rosters so that when we grade examinations, we then fill the spreadsheet with each student’s score.

But all of a sudden we could not get in to ParScore. I gave a test on Thursday morning last week, and was able to enter grades (and thankfully print out the grade set for my own records). Later that day, the system went down. As far we as can tell right now, it was the result of an infection from a kind of malware known as ransomware ( This is a bad kind of program that literally holds files for ransom; if you do not pay the ransom, it destroys the files. We found 2 computers in the network with the infection and replaced them. But to restore the system, IT had to use a saved backup version of the system and reinstall it. This they did several times, going further and further back in time to where they could stabilize the system. We lost 2 days of work in the Par system as a result.
Like many, I lost all the work I did in the later part of the week. I had to hand restore my grades and scores from the sheet I had fortunately printed out. I tried as best I could to keep faculty informed of developments, knowing that at least 15 people were going to have to re-enter scores. It was bad all around. But this is now the world we live in- reliant on technology, but not all that aware of every threat out there.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

New Papers from the Biomed Central Family

Muller A. Teaching lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender health in a South African health sciences faculty: addressing the gap. BMC Medical Education 2013, 13:174  doi:10.1186/1472-6920-13-174
Background: People who identity as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) have specific health needs. Sexual orientation and gender identity are social determinants of health, as homophobia and heteronormativity persist as prejudices in society. LGBT patients often experience discrimination and prejudice in health care settings. While recent South African policies recognise the need for providing LGBT specific health care, no curricula for teaching about LGBT health related issues exist in South African health sciences faculties. This study aimed to determine the extent to which LGBT health related content is taught in the University of Cape Town’s medical curriculum.

Methods: A curriculum mapping exercise was conducted through an online survey of all academic staff at the UCT health sciences faculty, determining LGBT health related content, pedagogical methodology and assessment.
Results: 127 academics, across 31 divisions and research units in the Faculty of Health Sciences, responded to the survey, of which 93 completed the questionnaire. Ten taught some content related to LGBT health in the MBChB curriculum. No LGBT health related content was taught in the allied health sciences curricula. The MBChB curriculum provided no opportunity for students to challenge their own attitudes towards LGBT patients, and key LGBT health topics such as safer sex, mental health, substance abuse and adolescent health were not addressed.

Conclusion: At present, UCTs health sciences curricula do not adequately address LGBT specific health issues. Where LGBT health related content is taught in the MBChB curriculum, it is largely discretionary, unsystematic and not incorporated into the overarching structure. Coordinated initiatives to integrate LGBT health related content into all health sciences curricula should be supported, and follow an approach that challenges students to develop professional attitudes and behaviour concerning care for patients from LGBT backgrounds, as well as providing them with specific LGBT health knowledge. Educating health professions students on the health needs of LGBT people is essential to improving this population’s health by providing competent and non-judgmental care.

Weijer C, Peterson A, Webster F, Graham M, Cruse D, Fern├índez-Espejo D, Gofton T, Gonzalez-Lara L, Lazosky A, Naci L, Norton L, Spoeechley K, Young B, Owen A. Ethics of neuroimaging after serious brain injury BMC Medical Ethics 2014, 15:41  doi:10.1186/1472-6939-15-41

Background: Patient outcome after serious brain injury is highly variable. Following a period of coma, some patients recover while others progress into a vegetative state (unresponsive wakefulness syndrome) or minimally conscious state. In both cases, assessment is difficult and misdiagnosis may be as high as 43%. Recent advances in neuroimaging suggest a solution. Both functional magnetic resonance imaging and electroencephalography have been used to detect residual cognitive function in vegetative and minimally conscious patients. Neuroimaging may improve diagnosis and prognostication. These techniques are beginning to be applied to comatose patients soon after injury. Evidence of preserved cognitive function may predict recovery, and this information would help families and health providers. Complex ethical issues arise due to the vulnerability of patients and families, difficulties interpreting negative results, restriction of communication to “yes” or “no” answers, and cost. We seek to investigate ethical issues in the use of neuroimaging in behaviorally nonresponsive patients who have suffered serious brain injury. The objectives of this research are to: (1) create an approach to capacity assessment using neuroimaging; (2) develop an ethics of welfare framework to guide considerations of quality of life; (3) explore the impact of neuroimaging on families; and, (4) analyze the ethics of the use of neuroimaging in comatose patients.

Methods/Design: Our research program encompasses four projects and uses a mixed methods approach. Project 1 asks whether decision making capacity can be assessed in behaviorally nonresponsive patients. We will specify cognitive functions required for capacity and detail their assessment. Further, we will develop and pilot a series of scenarios and questions suitable for assessing capacity. Project 2 examines the ethics of welfare as a guide for neuroimaging. It grounds an obligation to explore patients’ interests, and we explore conceptual issues in the development of a quality of life instrument adapted for neuroimaging. Project 3 will use grounded theory interviews to document families’ understanding of the patient’s condition, expectations of neuroimaging, and the impact of the results of neuroimaging. Project 4 will provide an ethical analysis of neuroimaging to investigate residual cognitive function in comatose patients within days of serious brain injury.

Henschke N, Harrison C, McKay D, Broderick C, Latimer J, Britt H, Maher C. Musculoskeletal conditions in children and adolescents managed in Australian primary care. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2014, 15:164  doi:10.1186/1471-2474-15-164

Background: Primary care settings play a vital role in the early detection and appropriate management of musculoskeletal conditions in paediatric populations. However, little data exist regarding these conditions in a primary care context or on the presentation of specific musculoskeletal disorders in children. The aim of this study was to estimate the caseload and describe typical management of musculoskeletal conditions in children and adolescents presenting to primary care in Australia.

Methods: An analysis of data from the Bettering the Evaluation and Care of Health (BEACH) study was performed. The BEACH study is a continuous national study of general practice (GP) activity in Australia. We identified all GP encounters with children and adolescents over the past five years and extracted data on demographic details, the problems managed, and GP management of each problem. SAS statistical software was used to calculate robust proportions and after adjustment for the cluster, the 95% confidence intervals (CIs).
Results: From the period April 2006 to March 2011, there were 65,279 encounters with children and adolescents in the BEACH database. Of the 77,830 problems managed at these encounters, 4.9% (95%CI 4.7% to 5.1%) were musculoskeletal problems. The rate of musculoskeletal problems managed increased significantly with age, however there was a significant decrease for girls aged 15–17 years. Upper and lower limb conditions were the most common, followed by spine and trunk conditions. Spine and trunk conditions were significantly more likely to be managed with medication, but less likely to receive imaging, than upper or lower limb problems.

Conclusions: Musculoskeletal problems in children and adolescents present a significant burden and an important challenge to the primary health care system in Australia. There is variability in rates of presentation between different age groups, gender and affected body region.


Monday, May 19, 2014

Communicating with Students using Apps

The latest issue of the wonderful little publication Online Cl@ssroom  [May 2014;14(5):2,5] offers a short article in which the author (Rob Kelly) provides the reader with information about various apps that you could use for communicating with your students. Some of the apps he lists include:

Smore ( this app acts as a kind of a class blog that you can send to the students of a given class. And it can be sent in various formats, such as a text message or as an email. The article notes that one instructor uses this as a newsletter to send congratulatory information out to the class.
Edmodo ( Edmodo is actually now being used extensively in the Quad City Professional Development Network for its Excellence in Teaching program. It acts in ways akin to Facebook, but it allows you to do polls, offer assignments and embed video clips. Students can post to the site as well, so what they post can be shared with the class.

GroupMe ( this is a program that gives you the ability to send a text to up to 50 people at the same time. It also allows people to respond to your text so that everyone in the network can see what is posted in response. It operates outside of college LMSs.
LiveBinders ( This is a program that allows people to organize their resources on a topic-by-topic basis. Consider how this might benefit a chiropractic student- a binder on anatomy, another on physiology, etc. Given their reliance now on technology, all the resources are now in one location and easy for them to find.