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Nutrition Informatics Blog

Life-Long Learning

(Professional Education) Permanent link   All Posts

Like many of you, I typically will update my Status on Facebook pretty regularly – sometimes daily.  Lately my posts have frequently focused on classwork that I have to complete.  This prompts many of my Facebook Friends to make comments like: “Classwork?  Are you working on another master’s degree?”  My usual response is:  “Probably not,” and then I go on to explain what I’m studying.  As part of ADA’s Strategic Plan, one of our four Values states that we are accountable for our own life-long learning.  Most of us thrive on learning new information, whether it’s studying a foreign language, learning business skills, or exploring informatics. 

Three years ago I barely knew what was meant by informatics, and now I’m enrolled in a graduate certificate program in clinical informatics.  The idea of “going back to school” is often daunting for any of us, regardless of what stage of our career we’re at.  And believe me, tuition has gone up a lot since the last time I had to pay it!  But, what makes learning while working so much more feasible these days is the technology that allows you to complete coursework without ever entering an actual classroom.  My informatics program is based in another state, yet I won’t ever have to travel there (unless I decide to take one of their optional “hybrid” courses – one that combines a few full-day classroom days with the remainder of study on-line).   I can listen to my professors’ lectures whenever I have time, 24/7.  There are team projects that we complete virtually, posting and viewing information via Google Docs – including, for example, a PowerPoint with audio recorded separately by each team member for our respective sections of the presentation.    Amazing!  And for me, it all started with hearing about and then enrolling in the American Medical Informatics Association’s 10x10.  But regardless of whether it’s informatics or business or another area of nutrition and dietetics that you want learn more about, today’s virtual environment makes it feasible for anyone.  Let’s review that ADA Value in its entirety:  Integrity - Act ethically with accountability for life-long learning and commitment to excellence.


I did decide to enroll in another MS program in clinical informatics; I was asked the same questions Marty was asked. Am I insane? No, I've always been very much interested in the interface between healthcare providers and technology/knowledge, and after completing my PhD, where my research focused on terminology, I realized that there are very few RDs who have advanced degrees in health informatics. I also learned just how much I don't know and aim to narrow that gap!

I also started teaching others how to teach online. My goal is to do away with the "just upload the VoP" and to fully use the tools available to us in course management software. I just finished teaching a graduate level course in nutrition informatics and not once did my students see a powerpoint slide, nor did they have to listen to my voice (instructor voices tend to get monotone and tinny over computer speakers, anyway)! Instead, students did readings, discussed online, completed online lessons and quizzes and other learning tools that were aimed at keeping them engaged and learning! In fact, after the course is done, we're going to stay in touch using a wiki I'm developing! I'm also a certified wiki educator!

As Marty says, lifelong learning is the key!
Posted by: Ivonne Cueva_1 at 7/27/2010 12:14 PM


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