Summary: This fortnight Professor Harden discusses exciting work at the Gordon Centre for Medical Education in Miami, a visit to Portugal, how peer reviews are faked and some recent MedEdWorld webinars. Description: I returned last week from a visit to Miami where I attended a meeting at The Gordon Center for Research in Medical Education at the University of Miami.  A dinner had been arranged to mark the retiral of Michael Gordon as Director of the Center.  This was a grand occasion with numerous tributes to Michael’s transformative contributions to medical education, including his pioneering work applying technology to medical education as exemplified by the development of ‘Harvey’, the cardiac simulator.  Dr Barry Issenberg is replacing Michael as Director of the Center.  I was interested to see at first hand some of the innovative work currently taking place in the Center.  This included research into the usability and the feasibility of augmented reality where digitally created images are combined with the use of simulation manikins to enhance visualisation of anatomy during the learning process, and at the same time to provide realistic haptic feedback.  This is being applied to endotracheal intubation and central venous catheter insertion.   The Center is also undertaking interesting work with the military in the development of mobile applications for just-in-time learning in relation to first responders on the battle field.

While I was travelling I missed the webinar on small group work by Carol Capello and Joseph Murray.  There has been very positive feedback about this and the archive will be made available in MedEdWorld.  This week we had the final webinar for the session by Abbas Ghavam-Rassoul, Shirley Lee and Helen Batty, on the use of e-portfolios.  They gave a useful description of the available electronic platforms and provided some tips for the practical use of e-portfolios including their use to support reflections of learners.  The e-portfolios contain both text and audio and video elements.  I wonder if anyone has looked at including in a portfolio, a video clip of the learner undertaking a practical procedure with subsequently recorded over the procedure the reflections of the learner on issues and any difficulties arising as he or she undertook the task.   Discussed in the webinar was the timing for writing up a portfolio.  Should it be immediately after events happened or at a later date?  Perhaps this may be influenced by the wider availability and use of iPads.  I don’t know whether anyone has looked at the use of iPads for e-portfolios or whether this influences what is documented and reported.  We are working on a new feature for MedEdWorld suggested by Cate and Sheghley in the AMEE office - ‘the method of the month.’  The first method to be reviewed is e-portfolios.  I was surprised to see the amount of material we already have in MedEdWorld and in the current MedEdWorld poll, to see that the majority of responders use e-portfolios in their institution.

We are currently evaluating the participant responses to our recent ESME online course.  Feedback to date has been very encouraging, with some participants reporting that they are already implementing in their teaching programme some of the strategies addressed in the course.  We are planning ahead for the next course starting in April 2013.  Dr Mahmood Yaseen, from the United Arab Emirates, who satisfactorily completed the course online was in Dundee recently and called personally to receive the certificate both for himself and for his brother.  He tells us that he was very impressed with the programme and is recommending others in the school join the April 2013 course.

I was pleased to hear from Elsevier that my book with Jennifer Laidlaw ‘Essential Skills for a Medical Teacher’, having sold out the first print run since June, has now been reprinted and is back in stock.  A book signing session has been arranged for the Asian Pacific Medical Education Conference in Singapore in January, where I am a plenary speaker.

The closing date is now past for submission for preliminary proposals for the newly created AMEE Research Grants.  We received 114 submissions from around the world (more than I expected) and these are now being reviewed by the AMEE Research committee.

Madalena Patricio, as AMEE President, made her first visit to Dundee last week.  She was joined on Friday by Trudie Roberts, our President elect and we had a useful review of various AMEE initiatives.  It was also useful for them to meet with the staff in the AMEE office.

We have had an excellent response to the ASPIRE initiative with 20 schools participating in the pilot study.  The responses and comments from the pilot schools have now been considered by the three panels in the areas of Assessment, Student Engagement and Social Responsibility and Accountability and some revisions have been made to the criteria.  These will go out later this week to the ASPIRE Board for approval with the initiative launched formally in January.  The closing date for the first round of ASPIRE submissions in one or more of the three areas is 31st March 2013.

On Monday this week I was in Portugal as an external examiner for a PhD thesis with a positive result.  It was an opportunity also to meet with Antonio Vaz Carneiro who now leads the Portuguese Cochrane Centre and to discuss with him how BEME may benefit from lessons learned with the Cochrane Collaboration.  His centre has 15 staff and has produced 5 systematic reviews.  In moving around Lisbon three technology implementations interested me – each fairly small but in practice useful.  One was in garages and parking spaces.  The availability of a space was indicated by either a red or a green light.  On leaving parking spaces there was no need to pay – a card on the windscreen is automatically recognised and debited with the parking fee.  A third application was at the airport where there is a moving ramp on a slight incline.  As soon as one puts a trolley on the ramp, the wheels are locked so that the trolley cannot slip back - unlike some of the ramps at Amsterdam airport where if a trolley has defective brakes, it is quite a struggle keeping it from sliding back.  We don’t appear to have any of these technology advances in the UK.

I was pleased to hear from Tina Joyce, Director of Corporate and Social Responsibility at the Institute of Leadership, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, who is proposing to use the questionnaire in my paper ‘The good teacher is more than a lecturer: 12 roles of the teacher’ as part of a project being undertaken with Hanoi Medical University.

Retraction Watch has highlighted how authors have hacked publishers reviewing system to fake peer reviews.  Eleven papers by authors in China, India, Iran and Turkey have been retracted from three journals published by Elsevier.  Hyung-In Moon, a Korean scientist, is also reported as adopting a clever subterfuge to review his own paper published by Informa.  Apparently he suggested preferred reviewers during the submission which were him or colleagues under bogus identities and accounts.  In some cases the names of real people were provided (so if Googling them, you would see that they did exist) but he created email accounts for them which he or associates had access to and which were then used to provide peer review comments.  In other cases he just made up names and email addresses.  The review comments submitted by these reviewers were almost always favourable but still provided suggestions for paper improvement.  He was only discovered when the editors became suspicious given the rapidity with which reviews were returned.  The publisher says that steps have been taken to ensure that this does not happen again!

John Dent has just returned from representing AMEE at a meeting of the Italian Society for Medical Education – SIPeM and has written a short report of the congress in MedEdWorld.  We are hoping to establish close relationships between the society and AMEE.  John also visited Indonesia where he helped to promote AMEE at various meetings.

This is the last blog for 2012.  Season’s greetings to all readers.  I look forward to joining you again in 2013.