Social Networking Around Personal Health

Last year during a presentation, I mentioned the site PatientsLikeMe as an example of a platform that allows people to share health information with others and build a learning community.

I came across a paper that examined this type of social network that was interesting….Social Uses of Personal Health Information Within PatientsLikeMe, an Online Patient Community: What Can Happen When Patients Have Access to One Another’s Data.

Using search and browsing tools, members can locate other patients in similar circumstances and with shared medical experiences. Members discuss the profiles and reports as well as general health concerns through the Forum, private messages, and comments they post on one another’s profiles. The Forum is a threaded dialogue available to every member of the community to pose questions, research findings, share coping strategies, and so forth. Private messages are emails sent from one user to another within the site; they are not read by other users or site administrators. Comments are remarks that one user posts on another’s profile, which are viewable by anyone in the community. Users can delete comments from their own profile. Each contribution made using any of these functions is labeled with a graphic representation (the nugget) giving a snapshot view of the contributor’s history and health status; the nugget is also linked to the user’s complete profile.

Looking at sites and papers like this one continually give me ideas of innovative ways to do environmental health community education.  Research is important, but if the communities are not discussing and applying research findings, then the investment is not as valuable. It is all about the communities.

Collaborative Writing Projects with Google

Google Docs may be something valuable to try for our collaborative writing projects.  Watch the video to learn more.

Here is more information and resources for Google Docs.

Environmental Health Community Blog?

I think about new and innovative ways to build community with opportunities for people to share and discuss topics of interest coming out of the Environmental Health Sciences Center.

One way to do that is to build a blog that has many authors/contributors. I have been creating blogs that have me as the single author. For this topic, I think it would be much more interesting to get individuals who can share not just their expertise, but their perspective on the topic. Environmental health is a complex topic. Adding audio and video to the blog will create an educational experience with the opportunity to comment and add your own voice, while asking questions that most likely are valuable to others.

It can get a bit lonesome within the walls of the university. How can we really make a difference to communities? What can we offer them that will provide them a connection into the world of research and how the research relates to their health? We must use a platform that puts them in the driver’s seat helping them make decisions of how their own choices make a difference to their health and the health of others.

Citizen Journalism

As I think about ways to expand the Hydroville Curricula to other audiences, such as community colleges, I also think about how to adapt it to give students technology skills that will help them in their careers.  Since Hydroville is about understanding and solving on real-life enviromental health problems in the community, it seems a worthwhile assignment would be to foster students to share real-life environmental health stories to their communities using video, audio, blogs, and even virtual worlds like Second Life.

Educause has a written a worthy article called, 7 Things You Should Know About Citizen Journalism.

What are the implications for teaching and learning? An important corollary to learning how specific applications work, such as video-capture and online publishing tools, is understanding how the products of those tools can be used to present a particular version of a story. Citizen journalism encourages students to think critically about what it means to be unbiased, to present competing viewpoints, and to earn readers’ trust. It also forces students to consider what separates a mere anecdote from a legitimate news story. Participating as citizen journalists can help students hone their media literacy skills, making those students better able to assess online information and use it in appropriate ways. Citizen journalism gives students the opportunity to receive community feedback on their contributions, helping them gauge their comprehension of a subject, and it provides students with authentic learning tasks, engaging with communities of users beyond the walls of the classroom.

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