Distance learning simply means teaching across the miles, usually through some form of electronic communication. More than the printed word, distance learning can mean using audio and/or video to bring teachers and students together. One of our chief goals is to ease the way for increased effectiveness of distance learning in medical education in Haiti.
Internet communications have become so advanced in recent years that distance learning is becoming more widely used all the time. However, the communications infrastructure in Haiti is not up to Western standards: the bandwidth is low and the capacity is ever-changing, sometimes from minute to minute. Through the generous cooperation of Vidyo, the HME Project is seeking to address those challenges. Vidyo’s teleconferencing product allows high-quality transmission, even with meager internet connectivity; numerous participants at various sites at one time; sharing of lecture slides or other materials; and recording of lectures for later viewing.
The traditional way to address gaps in locally available medical lecturers is to import teachers from abroad, usually for short visits that offer little in the way of follow-up. But not everyone is available to spend a week or two in Haiti. Distance learning tools provide a unique volunteer opportunity for medical professionals who are unable to travel to Haiti: they can now share their knowledge and experience without leaving their home country. It also enables medical professionals who have visited Haiti in the past to continue their relationship, providing valuable opportunities for follow-up with students.
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