Summary: Professor Harden welcomes readers back after little festive downtime and discusses the rise of YouTube as an educational tool, the convenience of a Google Search against older paper methods of research and the potential increase of MOOCs in medical education. Description: Welcome back after the festive season and best wishes for 2017. In his blog of December 28th, Stephen Downes highlights an article by Mark Lassoff Raise the bar: YouTube, the world’s largest LMS published in Learning Solutions Magazine, 28/12/2016. The WestJet 2013 Christmas Miracle video has been viewed over 45 million times ( Lassoff points out that YouTube has become a lot more than a “repository for silly cat videos”. It is now the single most watched media site in the world and has had a powerful impact in the education sector. Some interesting facts given are:

• On mobile alone, YouTube reaches more people between the ages of 18 and 49 than all of the major television or cable networks • By the time you finish reading this article, over 3,000 hours of new video will have been uploaded to YouTube • There will be a billion video views on YouTube today

In 2009 Wood and co-workers at St Andrews University identified YouTube as an informative and accurate source of histopathology learning for both undergraduates and postgraduates. Are we today making enough use of YouTube in medical education?

In a recent blog I noted that researchers frequently now use Google and Google Scholar rather than PubMed for their searches. The rise of the Google Search was highlighted in an article in the Times Higher Education 8th December 2016. Research funded by the Publishing Research Consortium reported that for young researchers the use of a library has been bypassed by Google to a large extent. I remember as a junior doctor, when writing my first paper on continuous intravenous heparin administration, a senior member of the department of medicine took me down to the library of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons in Glasgow and helped me to research the topic. Now I suspect this would no longer be necessary.

Steve Downes also highlights in his blog two papers on MOOCs by Fergusson et al and Iniesto et al published in a special issue of the Journal of Interactive Media in Education. Will 2017 see greater use made of MOOCs in medical education? In 2013 Mehta and co-workers in an article Just imagine: New paradigms for medical education published in Academic Medicine suggested that innovations in medical education will include collaboration among medical schools to develop MOOCs for didactic content. Will we see greater use made of MOOCs in medical education in 2017? The subject is being discussed at a symposium at AMEE 2017 in Helsinki in August. There is increasing evidence that a distinct European MOOC model is emerging suggests an article in OpenupEd ( It is included that higher education institutes in Europe are much more involved in MOOCs compared to those in the US.

The number of new medical schools around the world continues to expand. I fail to understand why at a time when we are advocating evidence based decision making many have opted for a graduate entry programme rather than direct entry from school. Evidence that a graduate entry programme is preferable to a direct entry programme does not stack up. A multi-institution study from Australia did not support the hypothesis that graduate entry is better as evaluated by preference, coping, burnout, empathy or alcohol use. Higher empathy was found among direct-entry students and graduate entry participants had more alcohol use and more hazardous use of alcohol, contrary to the hypothesis that maturity is better. It concluded that direct entry students cope as well as graduate entry with the workload and psychosocial challenges of medical school. Taken with the lack of differences in academic outcomes it is odd, at a time of financial constraint, that preference is not given to a shorter training programme with doctors graduating at an earlier age.

The book Responsible Innovation: From concept to practice published by Wiley examines the concept of responsible innovation in business and the concept of responsible innovation at the very core of innovation strategies and processes in business. It made me wonder whether there is such a thing as responsible innovation in medical education and how could this concept be best applied. Another thought for 2017.

Ferguson, R., Scanlon, E. & Harris, L. (2016). Developing a strategic approach to MOOCs. Journal of Interactive Media in Education. 2016(1). p.21.
Iniesto, F. et al (2016). Accessibility of MOOCs: Understanding the provider perspective. Journal of Interactive Media in Education. 2016(1). p.20.
Mehta, N.B., Hull, A.L., Young, J.B. & Stoller, J.K. (2013). Just imagine: New paradigms for medical education. Academic Medicine. 88(10).
Wood, A., Struthers, K. & Herrington, S. (2009). Modern pathology teaching and the internet. Medical Teacher. 31(2). p.187