Thursday, 31 October 2013

Resurrection of the Rheum Blog

Rheum Blog returns
I thought I would resurrect my blog post with some useful information that I've come across over the last few weeks. This is mainly come about as I've have started actively using Twitter (follow me @drhectorchinoy, btw Prof Bruce is still ahead of me with followers (@Lupusdoc)!.

Picture courtesy of @KangarooBeach

 I know that there are a few of you skeptical about use of social media and what possible use Twitter could have in terms of clinical medicine and academia. I must say that I otherwise would not have come across some vital information pertaining to updates at the recent ACR conference (eg Biologics or Triple Therapy? The Great Debate at #ACR13), posts about recent advance access publications, articles in the national press relevant to medicine, opinions from key leaders in the field, and useful apps that can make our lives a lot easier when collecting together information. The list goes on and I hope you provide you with a few examples of what I've picked up over the the coming weeks.

Referencing software
I've encountered a great piece of free referencing software that would be invaluable for our MSc students. Thank you to Dr Chetan Narshi @Rheumi_ for pointing me in the direction of this. Previously, The University of Manchester has some gone along with either Reference Manager or EndNote – the problem I've encountered with RefMan is that the software costs money for my students outside the university and I have encountered issues when I'm trying to access my lists of references remotely from outside computers – I simply can't do this. Mendeley gets over these problems. It is free to use you can download it to your PC tablet phone etc, and it is web-based. This link provides a useful comparison to other referencing software. You can store 2 GB of data which is more than enough to be getting on with. One of the features that I really like it you can drag-and-drop PDFs into the app and it will effectively turn into a reference for you. Like Reference Manager and EndNote, there is a plug-in that you can use in Word to start creating reference lists.

PubMed Commons
An astonishing development in open access is PubMed Commons. This is really quite groundbreaking – we are all familiar with using PubMed for looking up sources of evidence and research and that up until now we've not been able to comment openly about published data. There is no facility, albeit on a pilot basis for signed up members of department to comment on their own or, other peoples' manuscripts, and also invite authors of manuscripts to comment on their publications. You can read about how things took off in this excellent article by @hildabast.

Ok, promise to post again sooner than the gap from the last post! I'll leave you with this.

Image courtesy of Maria Popova, click name for full posting

Monday, 21 January 2013

University Faculty Away Day in Manchester

Faculty Away Day
At the Faculty of Medical and Human Sciences University Away Day today at the Manchester Convention Centre, there was a talk from Tony Freemont, the head of undergraduate education at The University of Manchester. He discussed the new technologies that have been introduced to medical students. All students are being supplied with iPads now, which has transformed the delivery of education. Students now no longer have to attend lectures, and students around the world can partake in a global health unit. Whereas previously, students had to attend courses to get to grips with technologies that the university delivers, whereas this is now the opposite, and students are asking the university why they don't have particular technologies available for them to integrate apps and other novel methods of learning into their courses. Tony has an excellent blog which is well worth following to keep up to date with Manchester Medical School Matters:  Prof Freemont's Med School Matters blog

Grant Applications
The number and value of research applications coming through nationally has gone down in 2008-10, but in the last year the proportion of applications has gone up by 64.9%. There's an integrated research support service for academics in the research deanery, run by Graham Cadwallader. 

You can keep in contact with the research deanery via their twitter feed on @RD_UOM
By the way I also have a twitter feed which I try to keep updated with interesting new in press publications on @drhectorchinoy
There was also an interesting dance by the dean, Ian Jacobs, Faculty Dean with some of the other senior members of staff! I'll send you a link if you are interested in seeing this - not brave enough to post on Youtube!
The University of Manchester has a new(ish) logo which you should all use for any future presentations. The link is here

Thursday, 3 January 2013

New Year

Dear all

Welcome, as Programme Director of the Rheumatology MSc programme at The University of Manchester, I thought it would be useful to start off a blog to improve communications with past, present and future students on our course.

I'll try to use this blog to keep you updated about developments in the Rheumatology MSc course and anything else interesting I come across. Please use it to post (constructive) comments and feedback.

The main things I'm working on at the moment are trying to freeze fees for the coming year, and introducing new technologies into the course.

Best Wishes for the New Year

Hector Chinoy