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Technology

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The goals and emphasis of the Gender and Health Collaborative Curriculum Project are educational, and the technology has been designed to create a positive learning experience for medical students and to support the collaboration and human activity of the project.  Technology supports the learning process and the goal of creating a repository of high-quality, shareable, and easily repurposed learning objects.

The resources produced by the project are produced as XML content, which allows the creation of easily updated web modules, printable versions and the ability for curriculum integrators to browse a repository of knowledge objects to build their own resources. The same technology also makes possible CD or PDA-based resources and facilitates the sharing of content with other organization and national repositories. The use of vendor-neutral, non-proprietary tools and formats for creating and managing content supports the project objective of creating shareable and easily repurposed learning resources.

The goal of the project was not only to create gender and health learning resources, but also to learn about collaborative electronic resource development, to explore the opportunities and obstacles inherent in their development, and to produce a repeatable, shareable process for developing and distributing new modules.

Partnering and learning from other projects and organizations provided a head start and helped the team to avoid obstacles and focus on content. The McGill-Molson Project shared resources from their digital repository, the Collaborative Content Creation Laboratory provided an incubator for our web module content, and the work of the Common Currency Project at Dalhousie University provided a solid foundation for our development of multimedia resources. The project team extends it’s thanks to these groups and continues to seek out others with similar philosophies with whom to work and learn.

Tools

Project work has included the development of tools in support of...

Collaboration

  • Use of web-based tools for discussion, file sharing and peer review of developing content.

  • A foundation of XML-based content that ensures compatibility with a host of editors and editing platforms.

  • Development of a simple, centralized repository of content and resources from which the web modules are built.

  • Implementation of a publishing process which facilitates quick updates and ongoing review.

Distribution

  • Web modules that don’t require installation or setup prior to use.

  • Modules that are built from knowledge objects available individually from an online library.

  • Knowledge objects include metadata to help integrators learn about the intended role and editing history of the object.

  • A “Screen door“ front page that tracks use without impeding accessibility.

  • The potential for alternate formats for distribution of modules, including print, CD, download and PDA.

Learning

  • Emphasis on multimedia objects that assist in understanding and developing cognitive and behavioural change.

  • Interactive games and activities developed by students and subject matter experts to enhance the learning experience.

  • Most activities are “reusable“ and don’t require technical knowledge to integrate into a new resource.

  • Single sourcing allows publication to many formats while only maintaining one version.

Support

The Hamilton-based firm Tetraplex has provided technical services to the project since 2003, and works to provide tools that both meet the needs of the project team and support the project philosophy.