Summary: Professor Harden reports on a recent visit to Saudi Arabia and talks about the ESME courses, ‘adaptive actions’ and personalised learning Description: Visit to Saudi Arabia
Along with Madalena Patricio, John Dent and Dan Hunt, I visited the medical school at Rabigh in Saudi Arabia where the first batch of students have just graduated last week.  I was impressed by the staff and the students.  Twenty of the staff are currently completing the ESME Online course and have proved to be active participants.  It is planned for a further 20 staff to complete the ESME Online course in 2016.  Students will join the ESME Student Online course scheduled to start in January.  I was interested to see that first year students have been engaged in a health promotion activity in the local shopping mall in Rabigh, screening the population for hypertension and diabetes.  A new hospital is planned for Rabigh and at present the students obtain their clinical experience in Jeddah.  In Jeddah there is the tallest fountain in the world which at night is quite spectacular, the largest flag on a flag pole and currently under construction what will be the tallest building in the world.    At an evening reception, students entertained us with traditional music and dance.  I was ‘invited’ to join them for the bamboo dance
ESME Online course
We are now in the final module of the ESME Online course.  I have been impressed by the enthusiasm of the group of ten teachers from Cambodia who in addition to their online participation are facilitated in Cambodia by Dr Thomas Fassier, Advisor for Medical Education and International Relations, University of Health Sciences, Cambodia.  Given the success of the ESME Online courses we are looking at present at extending them to include an ESME assessment online and ESME research in medical education online course.
The ESME Management Online course led by Stewart Mennin has a recommended read - Adaptive Action by Glenda Eoyang and Royce Holladay.  The book introduces a simple common sense process designed to guide an organisation through uncertain times.  I like how readers are prompted to engage with what appears to be three deceptively simple questions:  What? So what? Now what?  The first leads to careful observation; the second invites thought for consideration of options and implications and the third ignites effective action.  We often, I think, miss out the second stage.  Glenda Eoyang is a plenary speaker at AMEE 2016 in Barcelona. 
Dan Hunt from Washington, USA has taken over from David Wilkinson as chair of the ASPIRE-to- Excellence Board.  This year, faculty development has been added to the themes of student engagement, social accountability and student assessment.  The ASPIRE Board will be considering additional themes at their meeting in Singapore in January.
Personalised Learning
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, used the occasion of their daughter’s birth to announce they’ll be investing nearly all their fortune, some $45 billion, in good causes.  Personalised learning makes up the first item on their wish list.  Zuckerberg proposes that personalised learning tools over the internet will help students around the world even if they do not live near good schools.  In this context he is using personalised learning in the form of software programs that give students immediate feedback and allow them to go at their own pace with lessons recommended based on students previous work.  There is however much more to personalised learning than this and personalised learning should also be reflected in the curriculum design. 
Boarding Pass
I usually simply discard my airline boarding pass after completion of my journey.  According to the latest newsletter from the International Airline Passengers Association this can be risky.   We’re warned that the barcode on the boarding pass might contain names and addresses, frequent flyer accounts, contact information and travel history – information we would not want to get into the wrong hands.  IAPA recommends that boarding passes should be shredded after completion of a journey.