Ford, N., 2011. Taking advantage of change: How health library and information professionals are shaping the HE experience. In: Urquhart, C. and Brettle, A., eds. Changing Roles and Contexts for Health Library and Information Professionals. London: Facet.
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HE (Higher Education) is in the midst of a period of drastic change. Bradwell’s recent statistics, showing that 40% of students in HE are now part-time, 59% are mature students and 15% are from overseas (Bradwell, 2009), are stark indicators of the effect of government efforts to widen participation in HE. The recent Browne Report, in addition to outlining radical changes to the way education in the UK is funded, also acknowledges that students are increasingly diverse (Independent Review of Higher Education & Student Finance in England, 2010). But does this demographic shift come as such a surprise to health education? Even a decade ago, studies identified that the mean age of students entering a pre-registration nursing course was 27, almost half of the entrants were mature students and they came from a diverse range of educational backgrounds (Kevern et al., 1999). A body of literature has emerged, investigating the specific challenges that health students face such as childcare, employment, financial commitments and time spent away from their university on placements. Universities have started to understand how courses can accommodate these factors to improve the student experience and reduce attrition rates on health programmes (Lauder and Cuthbertson, 1998). It is interesting to note that efforts to widen participation in health education came from a need to recruit more people to the health professions before the broader agenda of the government to widen participation in HE outlined in ‘The Future of Higher Education’ (Department for Education and Skills, 2003a) and implemented with ‘Widening participation in higher education’ (Department for Education and Skills, 2003b). Alongside this shift in demographic, we have also seen a change in focus. As nursing and midwifery, allied health and social work evolve into evidence-based professions that place a greater emphasis on ‘research in practice’ (Kelson, 2004), part of the challenge is to enable students to find and use evidence at any time and from anywhere. With challenge comes opportunity. Changes in publishing towards increased availability of networked electronic information allow us to provide access irrespective of time and location. Developments in educational technology mean that, as well as providing online information, we can also support its use over the Internet. The emergence of OA (Open Access) and institutional repositories allow us to play a role in disseminating our own research and learning materials. As Bradwell comments on the need for HE to ‘embrace’ technology to meet the increasingly diverse needs of learners (Bradwell, 2009), are there lessons to be learnt from the recent experience of health education in catering for ‘non-traditional’ (Kevern et al., 1999) learners? The following chapter will outline the changes, ongoing trends and challenges in health education and will give examples of how BU (Bournemouth University) is harnessing technology to exploit changes in the publishing cycle in meeting these challenges.
|Item Type:||Book Section|
|Number of Pages:||224|
|Subjects:||Generalities > Library and Information Science|
Technology > Medicine and Health
|Group:||Student and Academic Services > Library and Learning Support|
|Deposited By:||Mr Neil Ford|
|Deposited On:||16 Dec 2011 17:36|
|Last Modified:||07 Mar 2013 15:51|
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