Mini-Med School On-Line: Royal College of Surgeons Ireland

Contact: Drs M Morgan & K McGuigan

Mini-Med School (MMS) forms part of the RCSI Outreach strategy which aims to increase awareness of health related issues in the general public, providing the public with a free forum to learn in a relaxed educational environment. The proposed Mini-Med School On-Line project will ensure access for a wider, more diverse audience and directly addresses the objectives of the Campus Engage Network to strengthen the relationship between higher education and the wider society, by facilitating the sharing of knowledge and resources between RCSI academics and our MMS audiences.

The RCSI Mini Med School (MMS) is an innovative and unique public health programme designed to provide the general public with a forum to access the most up-to-date knowledge and opinions on human health, disease, diagnosis and treatment.

The Mini-Med School programme comprises a series of lectures delivered by RCSI academic staff, including some of Ireland’s leading physicians and researchers, on a broad range of health related matters including psychiatric illness, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, snoring, childhood accidents, cancer and sexual health. This free monthly event, based in the Dublin city-centre campus, is held on the last Wednesday of each month during the academic year and consistently attracts maximum capacity registration of approximately 350 people. Each lecture is followed by a question and answer forum in which speakers take questions from the audience, facilitated by the MMS coordinator. Previous MMS events have seen students travelling from as far as Donegal, Mayo, Galway and Athlone to attend and on occasion demand for places has far outreached our seating capacity. Given the high profile that health has in the Irish public consciousness at present, the increased patient participation and increased use of internet resources, the time is right to take the MMS to an on-line audience.

We propose recording the MMS lectures to facilitate on-demand web casting and archiving of the Mini Med School programme. This will ensure all presentations are accessible to anyone with an internet connection, regardless of geographical location or lecture room capacity. This on-line innovation of our current programme is proposed in direct response to feedback from our existing audience and requests from potential participants in remote locations.

We propose to run a pilot web casting for the next two MMS presentations (October and November 2010). Based on the evaluation and review of the feedback from the pilot we will roll out web casting for all future MMS events.

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