The Medical Anthropology Wiki – New and Improved

The wiki I set up a year ago to cover the basics of medical anthropology has been significantly expanded by the graduate students working in my Theory and Methods in Medical Anthropology class. With 40 new entries, the site now has 69 total entries. It covers basic terms and concepts, as well as new types of entries on methods, figures, and health issues.

While I feel the site in many ways is still beginning, and there is much work to be done, I also think the wiki is now a great resource for people to learn about medical anthropology. And it will be even better a year from now, when it will have at least doubled in size.

Each type of entry is distinct, and provides different information and resources for people. I’m particularly proud of the methods entries, which aim to be an online workshop, guide, and bibliography all wrapped up in one. Only ten entries right now, but look for that to grow during the fall semester.

Besides being a wiki oriented towards medical anthropology, with examples and references that draw on this burgeoning field, the med anth wiki emphasizes providing social media content and links. Hopefully, this will make the wiki a resource for individuals who learn in multiple manners, and also for teachers looking for multi-media content.

I’m always looking to improve this wiki, so if you have any ideas or suggestions, please email me at dlende at usf dot edu or send me a tweet @Daniel_Lende

In the meantime, please enjoy the Medical Anthropology Wiki. And thanks to all my graduate students this semester who worked so hard to make this site so much more than it was even just a few months ago!

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5 Responses to The Medical Anthropology Wiki – New and Improved

  1. I just set up a wiki for a class that I’m teaching in the fall, and I have a question for you: How much time does it take to get people familiar with the wiki technology? I don’t want to spend too much class time on it, but I also don’t want to just throw it at them with a “Good luck!”

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    • daniel.lende says:

      On my third time round with wikispaces, and with students working on this wiki – the more structure and guidance you can provide them, the better. I do that largely with guides I provide them myself, as wikispaces’ tutorials are not all that great. But I also take time to answer questions and emphasize a few key pointers in class.

      I also have a whole process to it now – a draft version on paper that goes through student peer review, an initial posting of the entry which I review, and then the final due date. Most of them figure out how to work with the wiki by the end, though on my wiki, spacing is still an issue. And that’s largely because they didn’t listen to me originally, and pasted their stuff in visual mode, rather than text/html mode.

      In any case, it’s been a productive experience, and I like how it can carry over, semester to semester, which is different from the one-time blog posts I’ve done in the past.

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      • daniel.lende says:

        And one other thing, I provide them with an outline structure for the entries themselves, which helps them with their writing and also creates consistency over the different entries. For example, for a concept/term entry, the basic format is Definition, History, Case Studies/Examples, Online Resources, and References. That way they can work on the different pieces in chunks, which makes it easier for them to get going on doing the research and the writing.

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  2. daniel.lende says:

    And here’s what was in my syllabus, which I will change the next time round to reflect more of what I just said above (lessons learned from this semester!):

    Wiki Entries: Each student will be in charge of developing, writing, and posting 4 wiki entries. These wiki entries will come in different categories: Concept/Term, Main Figure in Medical Anthropology, Disease/Illness, and Method. Students are strongly encouraged to pick entries that are central to their own research; however, the entries should be written to also convey information to the public (e.g., other students interested in medical anthropology). The Method entry should build directly on the student’s method presentation (see below). In the case of a concept/term that already exists on the site yet is core to the student’s own research, please discuss with me how to proceed.

    The Medical Anthropology wiki is hosted at: http://medanth.wikispaces.com/ Since its public launch in early December, the site has been used over 2000 times. Students will need to register with Wikispaces early in the semester, if they haven’t already been involved in this assignment. I will send out that invitation prior to students working on the wiki.

    Students should approach each entry as if they are explaining something to other students or health professionals. They should keep in mind that a wide range of people access this site. Succinct summaries, quality citations, and relevant examples are all important to creating a professional-type entry.

    One thing that makes the Med Anth wiki different from some other wikis out there is the use of photos, figures, videos and other social media as part of each entry. The inclusion of this type of material helps convey information in multiple forms, as well as providing a resource to teachers and professionals. Students will need to actively incorporate these types of social media into their entries.

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  3. Terri Bays says:

    Thanks for doing this, for its contribution both to the teaching of medical anthropology and to the field of Open Educational Resources for Health. I’ll be sending the link along to OER in Health colleagues at JHSPH , Tufts and Michigan!

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