Breaking Borders with the VIP Project

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Commonwealth of Learning (COL)

PCF5 Sub-theme: Health // The Creative Waves 2007 - Visualising Issues in Pharmacy (VIP) project was the first fully online initiative designed to join pharmacy and graphic design students and teachers from around the world to raise public awareness of critical health issues identified as debilitating in Kenya, including HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. // Using the Omnium Software online platform, the venture collectively linked together over 300 geographically dispersed students, academics, practitioners and special guests across five continents and 35 countries. The project ran over a 14-week period from March-July 2007 and was divided into two distinct phases, where Phase I (pharmacy phase: week 1-7) and Phase II (graphic design phase: week 7-14) overlapped for a week to encourage crossdisciplinary collaboration between the two educationally diverse groups. // This paper will discuss how through continuous discussions with special guests and mentors around the world, pharmacy participants, in particular, shared materials and resources both individually and collectively to produce indepth written reports for the design phase of the project. The final visual design outcomes from Phase II are currently in production to be implemented, however, the practical stage has been concluded with a high degree of socialisation, cross-cultural and cross-disciplinary interaction and appreciation of others situations. // Judging by participant feedback, the VIP project has signaled that the demand for new visions and approaches to learning and teaching is strong and that the technologies we now live with everyday can enable such interaction. Pharmacy participants specifically indicated the desire for more international online projects so that pharmacy could engage in a more active role locally and internationally in improving public health awareness. // Paper ID 689

New Zealand,Australia