Recorded Lectures from the UK’s Top Nephrology Physicians

On 13 and 14 April 2013, Brenda Padilla and I were privileged to join in the SpR Club Spring Meeting 2013, a lively conference in which doctors working in various aspects of nephrology joined together to present their work. Many of these spoke of their work in other countries: Uganda, Nigeria, Afghanistan, Nepal. These talks were quite moving in their discussion of practice eagerly shared across borders and cultural divides. Other talks were of work more local but no less insightful and forward-looking in research and practice. We recorded the talks and present these here, and hope their online availability may open new doors for learning, research, collaboration, and discussion. -Terese Bird, Learning Technologist, Institute of Learning Innovation, University of Leicester

Introduction by Mark Brady

Nephrology around the world – Professor John Feehally

HIV and Nephrology – Dr John Connolly

The Leicester-Abuja Sister Centre Partnership – Professor Nigel Brunskill

Sickle Cell Nephropathy – Dr Claire Sharpe

Clinical characteristics and outcomes of patients with Acute Kidney Injury (AKI) in a tertiary care centre in Sri Lanka – Nadeeka Rathnamalala

Renal transplant in Nepal – Dr Frankie Dowen

Determinants of central arterial stiffness by cardiovascular magnetic resonance in patients new to haemodialysis

Overview of SpR Club – Professor Caroline Savage

The Challenges of Nephrology in Uganda – Professor Peter Mathieson

Blood-borne virus acquisition through haemodialysis: a returning problem? – Dr Graham Warwick

Transplantation and practical global outreach – Dr Paul Harden

Renal Association SpR Club Meeting: Webinar and social media for medical conferencing

On 13 & 14 April, 2013, the Renal Association SpR Club held their Spring Meeting in Leicester at the Belmont Hotel, which is about a stone’s throw away from my office at the Institute of Learning Technology, University of Leicester. Dr Rakesh Patel asked me and Brenda Padilla to join in and record the sessions, as well as cover them by social media. We even set up the sessions as a webinar. This turned out so well that we were encouraged that we can run future events as hybrids — with face-to-face participants as well as remote participants from anywhere in the world. The theme of this meeting was very international, with many presentations touching on the health situations of such places as Nepal, Nigeria, Uganda, and Afghanistan. Hybrid sessions extending to such areas could really benefit health care workers and patients and hopefully we will see this come to pass in the near future.

Mark Brady welcomes the club to Leicester

Mark Brady welcomes the club to Leicester

We used Adobe Connect over the hotel’s wifi in order to livestream the events. The recordings of the events are below.

Day 1: Welcome by Mark Brady, presentations by John Feehally, John Connolly, and Nigel Brunskill (part 1)

Day 1: Nigel Brunskill (part 2), Claire Sharpe, Nadeeka, Rathnamala, Frankie Dowen, Aghogho Odudu, Caroline Savage

Day 2: Mike Almond, Peter Mathieson, Graham Warwick, Paul Harden

These are being converted in mp4 videos as more polished finished products; I will be posting these up as I complete them.

A separate screen projected the Twitter feed throughout the meeting

A separate screen projected the Twitter feed throughout the meeting

We also set up a separate screen, displaying the Twitter feed (#resprcs13) throughout the meeting. We could see the power of Twitter, when Damian Fogarty tweeted a question for John Feehally; Damian was in Dublin, the question was relayed by Rakesh to John, and the answer was tweeted back to Damian who was very appreciative.

View from the techie table

View from the techie table

I collected all tweets and tweeted photos by means of Storify; we we now have an archive of discussions as well as photos in one convenient location:

May this be just the first of many such well-connected and well-documented medical conferences!

Terese Bird, Learning Technologist and SCORE Research Fellow, Institute of Learning Innovation, University of Leicester

Kabul academics and students excited about OERs

I have just returned from a four-day workshop in Kabul, partly conducted jointly with Dr Dave Humphreys of the Open University. The workshop was hosted by the British Council and the University of Kabul’s Geology Department, and funded by DfID as part of two projects – DELPHE (Developing Partnerships in Higher Education) and INSPIRE. It was planned in response to requests from Afghan academics for support in curriculum development. Dave’s part of the workshop focused on curriculum design principles and procedures used at the OU, and mine focused on an introduction to open educational resources (OERs).  For the two OER-focused days, there were approximately 30 participants altogether, including six students from the Environmental Protection and Disaster Management faculty, several Geology professors, three researchers from an NGO called AREU (Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit), and academics from a range of Higher Education institutions in and around Kabul representing a variety of disciplines, from Agriculture to Fine Arts to Medicine to ICT.

OER workshop, Kabul

OER workshop, Kabul

In the workshop we discussed the concept of OERs, and participants explored some of the major multi-source repositories such as JorumOpen and OER Commons, as well as the OU’s OpenLearn and the University of Leicester’s OER site. The academics and students spent part of the workshop searching these sites for OERs that might fill gaps in their various curricula. We then discussed how they might use OERs in their teaching (or learning, in the case of the students). The focus was primarily on the reuse of OERs, and included a discussion around the various permissions granted by Creative Commons licences.

Dr Dave Humphreys with Prof. Naim Eqrar

Dr Dave Humphreys with Prof. Naim Eqrar

Predictably perhaps, there were some technical obstacles that threatened to derail the whole event – the biggest culprit being an awfully slow internet connection that repeatedly cut out and became slower and slower as the morning wore on every day, grinding to a complete halt by lunchtime – apparently due to the fact that colleagues in Europe were just firing up all their computers at that time of day… The other significant problem was the limited software on the computers being used, rendering some file types (e.g. docx) unopenable.

Searching for OERs

Searching for OERs

Despite these challenges, the response from Afghan colleagues was overwhelmingly positive. A few comments from the participants will give a feel for their enthusiasm.


“I was amazed to see this invaluable treasure that we can access so easily.”

“I liked that now we can solve some of our problems with these kinds of sites (OER repositories)… that you gave us… Also I want to say that this is one of the most important parts of education that everyone should know about.”


“When our teacher is planning to teach us about a particular topic in a lecture, I will search before the session for OERs on that subject so that I am well prepared.”

“This is better than a Google search (for learning materials). It’s more relevant.”

“I’m going to use OERs in my free time.”

There was also a great deal of interest – particularly from the students – in producing OERs locally and in collaborating on the translation and repurposing of OERs from elsewhere in the world.

Afghanistan may be war-ravaged and beset by all the infrastructural problems typical of developing countries, but this group of academics and students is focused on building an empowering education system for its people, and they believe that OERs have a role to play. I have come away from Kabul feeling extremely humbled and inspired by this experience, and full of renewed optimism about the potentially useful role of OERs in the global education community.

Kabul street scene (thanks to Dave Humphreys for the photo)

Kabul street scene (thanks to Dave Humphreys for the photo)

Posted by Gabi Witthaus, 28 Feb 2011

An OER workshop in Afghanistan

We are very excited that Beyond Distance has been given the opportunity to collaborate with the Geology Department at the University of Leicester, and with Dr Dave Humphreys from the Open University, in running a workshop for academics at the University of Kabul in Afghanistan at the end of February. Dave and I have been working together on the programme  on curriculum design, including a focus on the incorporation of open educational resources (OERs) into the curriculum, which we will facilitate jointly.

The workshop is part of an ongoing series of networking activities between universities in the UK, Afghanistan and Pakistan, as part of a project called DELPHE (Development Partnerships in Higher Education), led by Prof. Mike Petterson from Leicester, and supported by the British Council and DfID. (See Mike’s blog posts on an earlier visit to Kabul here.)

According to the DELPHE project plan:

This project has great potential to focus upon some key British Council and DfiD development goals – especially in education, good governance (at an institutional level) poverty alleviation (through development of highly skilled people, and assistance with economic development, e.g. through increased knowledge in mineral resources).

We are thrilled to have this opportunity to contribute to a very meaningful project, and I’m very much looking forward to finding out from colleagues in Kabul about the usefulness (or otherwise) of OERs in their context.

Watch this space for an update from Kabul in a few weeks’ time…

Gabi Witthaus, 4 Feb 2011

Notes from Kabul

On a more serious note today…

It has been a fascinating experience returning to Afghanistan after a gap of 3 years.  Between 2003 and 2007 I visited Afghanistan some 8 or 9 times as Director of a major institutional strengthening programme for the Ministry of Mines and Industry.  I now return to begin a new modest project working with the Geoscience Faculty of the University of Kabul, which will ‘twin’ the University of Leicester with its Kabul sister for some 3 years.

So begins Mike Petterson’s post today from Afghanistan. You can read Mike’s fascinating retrospective on his visit to this country in 2004, followed by his impressions on his current visit, in the following posts on the ELKS community blog:
Kabul retrospective
Extreme Afghanistan
The future is before my eyes
Kites, cricket, traffic and zips
The aid circus
Geography, geopolitics and geo-beauty
Farewell Kabul: British Council, Peshawar and University Twinning

Mike is collaborating with Beyond Distance on the Giraffe project, and we are also looking forward to an exchange of knowledge around his project with the University of Kabul, where he is working with young, inexperienced staff who are keen to develop new teaching materials and are open to new ideas. According to Mike: “We have to develop materials and products in the knowledge that the internet here is slow or non-existent, and at the moment some areas of the university have one primitive desktop computer for every 11 members of staff, and they don’t even have a photocopier.”

A serious tea discussion

A serious tea discussion

Students at Kabul University (published with permission)

Students at Kabul University (published with permission)

Watch this space for updates…

Gabi Witthaus
This post was updated on 18 June 2010

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