Health Partners International and the Open University have recently been collaborating on the production of a sample unit of a course on healthcare technology management for developing countries. The course is based on a series on six manuals that HPI (in its former incarnation of Ziken International) produced with DFID funding. The manuals are now freely available in electronic form. They are however rather big, each around 300 pages, and there are six of them. I was concerned about the usability of such a document and came up with the idea of basing a course around them, so that potential users could get familiar with the whole thing and decide how much of it they want to use.
The unit was finished in May and is available at the Openlearn Labspace site:
We took it to the Institution of Engineering and Technology conference on Appropriate Healthcare Technology for Developing Countries (see the post below) and gave it a run out. I introduced it, giving some of the history of the manuals project, Giselle Ferreira introduced the Openlearn platform and Pieter de Ruijter introduced the course itself. There was some lively discussion afterwards and there seemed to be a lot of enthusiasm for the idea. But the proof of the pudding is always in the eating. We'll get some user stats from the OU later this month and then we'll sit down and see if there is a case for finding funding for the whole thing. I will shortly be advertising it on Infratech and asking for constructive criticism. I feel enormously pleased with it despite having done nothing on it myself – all I did was bring the right people together. So now I wait with bated breath to see what engineers and civil servants all over the world think of it.