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Infectious-disease experts have long considered fungal infections to be the least interesting -- and most obscure -- area they can study, according to Robert H. Rubin, a professor of medicine at Harvard University who is also director of the Center for Experimental Pharmacology and Therapeutics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "This is an area that has been for many years the backwater" of infectious-disease research, he says.
But lately, scientists have been investigating fungal infections with a new sense of urgency. Incidences of potentially fatal fungal diseases have shot up, just as researchers have developed a number of new drugs and treatments. "In the last year or two, there"s been an explosion of interest in the field," according to Dr. Rubin.
Inspired by the topic"s growing popularity, Dr. Rubin has created Fungal Infections Virtual Grand Rounds, a Web site that discusses the basics of recognizing, diagnosing, and treating fungal diseases. The site takes the form of a noncredit online course that health-care professionals can complete at their own pace.
The backbone of the free course is a set of eight videotaped lectures -- seven talks given by professors and mycology experts about specific infections and treatments, plus an overview of disease-management techniques. Dr. Rubin delivers the overview himself. He also gives an introduction to the course and a closing lecture in which he offers thoughts on his field.
Once students have viewed the video lectures, they review a series of interactive case studies drawn from instances of infection that Dr. Rubin and his colleagues have faced. In the studies, students answer multiple-choice questions, simulating the process of diagnosing and treating a wide range of patients -- including a businessman from Thailand with skin lesions and a farmer from Illinois complaining of fever and weight loss.
Dr. Rubin calls the case studies "clinical hooks" -- real-life examples to which students can affix information they gain in the lectures. "The cases are a particularly strong opportunity to review practical decision-making," he says.
Dr. Rubin estimates that the professionals who visit his site will spend 10 to 12 hours watching the lectures, participating in the case studies, and reviewing a library of resources about mycology. But he says that they can swallow the material in small increments that suit busy schedules. "Once you"re out of school, medicine is a field where continuing education is absolutely essential," he says.
"I hate to go sit and be lectured at for eight hours," he says. "This is an alternative, and you can keep going back to it."
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Veel ronkende verhalen over gepersonaliseerd leren op. Lastige is een gebrek aan eenduidige definities. Wilfred Rubens beschrijft gepersonaliseerd leren als het gebruik maken van de karakteristieken van lerenden om hen specifieke, relevante en adaptieve leerervaringen te bieden.