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Developing professionalism through the use of wikis: A study with first-year undergraduate medical students

Developing professionalism through the use of wikis: A study with first-year undergraduate medical students

Medical Teacher 32(10): 824-829

Learning about professionalism occurs through collaboration, with peer groups being important sources of support for students [Sandars J, Homer M, Pell G, Croker T. 2008. Web 2.0 and social software: The medical student way of e-learning. Med Teach 14:1-5. Accessed 2008 February 14]. This study aimed to discover whether the use of wikis (collaborative websites) could enhance medical students' development of professionalism. An online wiki was made available to four problem-based learning (PBL) groups, involving 32 students. Data collection comprised a small-scale student survey and four focus groups eliciting their views about wiki use, triangulated with facilitator interviews and wiki usage statistics. Several factors affected individual student and group engagement with wikis, such as positive group dynamics. Students shared web links, helping clarify PBL discussions and increase their confidence. Two main benefits of using wikis for the development of professionalism with medical students were revealed. First, wikis acted as a shared knowledge base for hard-to-find resources on professionalism. Second, it was precisely when students reflected on the difference between interacting in wikis and their online social spaces, or when they considered whether or not to post a resource that their sense of professionalism emerged.

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Accession: 052543190

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PMID: 20854158

DOI: 10.3109/01421591003686245

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