Tony DiNuzzo, PhD
301 University Boulevard
Galveston, TX 77555-0177
The East Texas Geriatric Education Center - Consortium (ETGEC-C) specializes in providing education and training focused on the rural elderly and targeting all health professionals and students in health professions in medically underserved areas. The ETGEC-C is housed at the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) and has partners at Baylor University, Lamar University, Stephen F. Austin State University, Victoria College and Weatherford College. Other partners are these Texas AHEC East: Waco, Coastal, Piney Woods, Victori and North Central.
We are experimenting with the use of social networking to facilitate active communication within the scope of the project. We are using four social networking tools: a web site, a Facebook fan page, a BLOG and a discussion in a virtual world.
The web site contains all of the learning materials (http://etgec.utmb.edu) and is the basic marketing/user entry point.
The Facebook page is a common forum for the partners to dialog. Anyone can participate in the Facebook dialog. As this is a Facebook fan page it is not connected to one's personal Facebook account in the same way one's friends are connected. Thus, one's personal postings do not go to the ETGEC-C page. Current Facebook entries by administrators are automatically shown on the web page. Anyone can participate in the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/ETGECC
This is a weekly web posting (blog) dealing with health care practices to use with rural elderly patients/clients. Sometimes it deals deal with a program or activity another AHEC has created and other times it is an opinion piece, an abstract from recent research or a best practice. It is written by Rodger Marion and an array of guest bloggers. Link to the weekly blog: http://rodgermarion.com
There is a weekly discussion about the current blog topic. The discussion occurs in real time in a virtual world. The virtual world is called Second Life®. Directions are found in two tabs (Discussion and SL) found at http://rodgermarion.com
The discussion is held each Wednesday at noon until 12:30pm. The discussion is held using text chat. Second Life supports voice but it tends to have technical issues. The use of text chat also provides for a convenient transcript which is posted in the Comments section of the corresponding blog.