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Oh baby: seven things you probably didn’t know about midwives

File 20170519 12217 a9levo.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1

Vasiuk Iryna/Shutterstock

Sally Pezaro, Coventry University

The term “midwife” can conjure up images of a stern matron, iron pressed and ready for some no-nonsense birthing, or, in the more modern era, a back-rubbing, hand-holding, motivational cheerleader who can make or break the birthing experience. Midwives are so much more than those two stereotypes. Here are a few things you may not know about the profession.

1. The word “midwife” means “with woman”, although in France, where the midwife is a “sage femme”, it means “wise woman”.

2. Some people think that midwifery is simply another branch of nursing. Midwifery is, in fact, one of the oldest professions in the world, one that is thought to have arrived prior to the nursing and medical professions.

Midwifery is not a branch of nursing.

3. Midwives make up 36% of the midwifery-service workforce, according to a survey of 73 countries. Other professional members of the team may include auxiliaries, nurse-midwives, nurses, associate clinicians, general physicians, obstetricians and gynaecologists. Yet, as midwives can perform most essential maternal and newborn care, future investment in midwives could free up these other professionals to focus on other health needs around the world.

4. Midwives are among the few healthcare professionals that don’t generally care for the sick. Although they are trained to manage emergency situations, midwives are the experts in normal childbearing.

5. Midwives don’t just catch babies. There are a number of specialist roles that a midwife can fulfill. Such specialist roles may include sonography (ultrasound scanning) during pregnancy as well as safeguarding – where a midwife works to protect vulnerable families. Midwives can also work in management, commissioning, education, policy, quality assurance, inspection, and research.

Midwives also do ultrasound scanning.

6. Along with the decline of women’s social status during the middle ages, midwives (almost always female) were denounced as witches by doctors (always male) who felt threatened professionally. Yet, while doctors were trying to catch up to midwives in learning about physiology in childbirth, women were unable to train as doctors. So, despite their wealth of professional experience, midwives were pushed out as the less desirable choice in childbearing.

In medieval times, midwives were denounced as witches.
Wikimedia Commons

7. During the 19th and early 20th centuries, doctors ran campaigns to socially stigmatise midwifery and make the ancient practice illegal in some places. This was largely done for economic reasons, but also to increase the status of the predominantly male medical profession.

The ConversationIt worked, as the care of physicians in childbirth during this time became the popular choice for upper-class women. Now, in the 21st century, midwives continue to reclaim their position as respected experts in childbirth, working in partnership with doctors, multidisciplinary teams, mothers and families to achieve the best outcomes in childbirth around the world.

Sally Pezaro, Midwife, Lecturer and Researcher, Coventry University

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

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We’re running the #CMALTcMOOC again starting 24 September – so it’ll be great to have you on board – please encourage your colleagues who may benefit from becoming part of the community and the journey to signup at

The CMALT cMOOC aims to mentor and support applications for CMALT accreditation. CMALT is the Certified Member of the Association of Learning Technologies (available to either ALT or ASCILITE members and recognises experience and expertise in the use of technologies for learning. This is available to academic and allied staff who are interested in or have successfully integrated the use of learning technologies in the course(s) they teach. We have developed the CMALT cMOOC ( as a 7-week online support programme/network, and the next iteration of this starts on September 24 – signup at

We have also developed the SoTEL NZ Research Cluster as a support network…

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We’re running the #CMALTcMOOC again starting 24 September – so it’ll be great to have you on board – please encourage your colleagues who may benefit from becoming part of the community and the journey to signup at

The CMALT cMOOC aims to mentor and support applications for CMALT accreditation. CMALT is the Certified Member of the Association of Learning Technologies (available to either ALT or ASCILITE members and recognises experience and expertise in the use of technologies for learning. This is available to academic and allied staff who are interested in or have successfully integrated the use of learning technologies in the course(s) they teach. We have developed the CMALT cMOOC ( as a 7-week online support programme/network, and the next iteration of this starts on September 24 – signup at


We have also developed the SoTEL NZ Research Cluster as a support network and the SoTEL NZ Symposium as a showcase and networking event for groups of educators exploring the scholarship of technology enhanced learning: 

The research cluster is open to new groups beyond NZ, and the 2019 Symposium call for participation is now open.

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Healthcare programmes in higher education can include assessment of theoretical knowledge (including anatomy and physiology), interpersonal skills as well as “hands-on” practical assessment and treatment skills. To ensure fair and equitable assessment processes that are consistent with others within the Faculty (and University), each paper/ module reports on assessment moderation. While this can be fairly easy to describe and evidence for paper-based assessments (i.e. written examination, assignments and reports), the consistency of assessing practical skills can be problematic. The format of a practical examination may begin by the student being provided a case scenario which they need to critically evaluate to prioritise the best assessment and treatment (using clinical reasoning). They would then perform the skills on a model (usually another student though could be a mannequin or actor). The examiner would ask the student various questions or modify the scenario to help determine the student’s breadth and depth of applied knowledge and skill.
To date, the physiotherapy programme has included (1) pre-assessment moderation meetings; (2) cross-marking within the scheduled examination period; and (3) post-assessment moderation meetings.
The pre-assessment moderation meeting is used to outline the expectations of breadth and depth of questions and expected answers for the grade map. The cross-marking usually involves one examiner moderating another to ensure that the depth and breadth of questions are consistent with what was agreed upon at the moderation meeting. Lastly, the post-assessment moderation meetings may be utilised as a discussion to determine a final grade of a student who may be on the cusp of two grades; or discussion of the “non-achieve” grades.
I was asked by the physiotherapy management team to investigate the potential of having the practical examinations recorded- both audio and video- so that can be reviewed in moderation.
So, there were a few questions to be considered:
  • How will the students be informed of the video and audio being captured?
  • How will the video and audio be captured, and will it be able to capture the movement throughout the practical examination?
  • Will there be enough storage space on the device? I.e. there is currently 186 first-year students, 140 second-year students, 130 third-year students (and 126 fourth-year students). During the examination weeks, one module from each of the year cohorts would be assessed. With multiple examinations running concurrently, so to would be the need for hardware to capture the examinations. (For example; concurrently running examinations for one Year 1 paper (4 stations/ cameras); one Year 2 paper (6 stations/ cameras); and one Year 3 paper (4 stations/ cameras) would require 14 cameras in use simultaneously). Examinations would run throughout a working day (eight hours) which would need to be downloaded (and/ or viewed) at the end of the day; then cleared to enable enough storage to be utilised the following day.
While three video cameras were purchased for the School (Sony HDR-PJ410) without consultation of those that would be using them for assessment capture purposes, it can be seen that further cameras would be required. As a commitment to ensure that we would be up to date with current technologies for future purchases, I compared the specs of the recent camera purchases to the specifications of cameras currently available for a similar cost (NZD$439.99 incl GST). I also consulted other key staff members who were involved in the practical examinations. Common considerations that they alluded to  included (in no particular order):
  • Students are given adequate notice of audio and video being captured (i.e. in intro lecture; in Paper Handbook; in review lecture/ labs; and or on examination timetable)
  • Captured using a stationary camera (i.e. to minimise distraction) that has adequate audio capture (mic) in that position
  • Data captured on a secure server (I drive) for up to end of Exam Board (re. appeals) then deleted
  • Storage for ONE Day of assessment (up to 10 hours) before requiring downloading and clearing for the next day. While there are a number of servers that are able to host video capture (i.e. YouTube Live; Cinamaker, Periscope or LiveStream), they either could record the capture to be viewed after the assessment; or were at a significant cost for the department.
  • Easy to use(set up; record; playback; download for storage). This was more subjective by nature- having a trial of the various camera’s in store
  • Good audio capture (within a 5 metre radius of the camera). The majority of the cameras trialed were able to pick up the voice of people at a distance- though normal (not hushed voice) was required
  • Adequate video capture. This was mixed though was represented accurately in the specs (i.e. you get what you pay for)
To learn from the experiences of colleagues from different specialisms, I made contact with the paramedicine and nursing departments as it had been indicated that they were using video capture in assessments. The paramedicine team, for example, inform their students that all practical scenarios are recorded using a web camera which is issued to each staff member. Each student’s 5-20min examination is recorded as a separate file and stored as an Mp4 on a staff access only network drive. The videos are reviewed for moderation when there is only one examiner in the room; for all non-achieve grades; and appeal of grades. While students may request to view the video, they remain in possession of the paramedicine team.
I also looked to see if there was any literature regarding the use of video capture for assessment purposes in healthcare higher education. While there were university guidelines outlining the use of video in student self-assessment, there was no information as to the use of video capture for practical assessment purposes.
Contact was made with the Faculty Associate Dean (SS)  as it became apparent that there was no policy, procedure or guideline around the capture of audio and video for assessment purposes. In our meeting, we discussed the aim of the recording and prior consultation (as above). It was confirmed that students would not be required to complete a consent form to be recorded as this was a form of assessment moderation. Concurrently, it was agreed that students should be sufficiently informed of the process. Our meeting concluded with the recommendation to develop a memo for the physiotherapy programme that would outline a Guideline for Audio and Video Recording for Assessment Moderation. This will be forwarded to the next available programme committee meeting (November 2018) for further consultation with the anticipation to be disseminated for more effective practice during the Semester One practical examination in 2019.

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While I have been using Evernote to keep my various notes organised for a few years, I had not utilised it for the purposes of presentation. I was asked a couple of weeks ago if I would be interested in presenting an overview of my initial exploration of mobile VR in physiotherapy education. As I am increasingly using Evernote to collate my To Do Lists, Meeting agenda and minutes, and research- I started jotting down the ideas I had for this 25 minute Google Hangout presentation. These ideas quickly formed my notes, and the notes formed my handouts for the audience ( Rather than starting up a new PowerPoint (my “go to” for presentations), I decided to investigate how I could use the presenter tool in Evernote. I was surprised to see that all I needed to do was add the “slide” dividers which could be found in the Presentation Layout. Some of the key benefits and constraints that I found when using the presenter tool can be found below:
  • Add lines for “slides”- done. No extra work to develop “ideas” into “slides”
  • Limited tools = no fiddling…#1. As the tools available in the Evernote presenter is fairly limited, this, in turn, limited your ability to spend potential hours on perfecting the slides; or adding in unnecessary slide transitions or animations… It is simply (1) decide on the colour of the pointer; (2) colour of the background- white or black; and (3) the font size.
  • External links and back- no problem. When an URL link is clicked in Powerpoint, the presentation is superimposed by the browser which then requires the user to escape, find the PowerPoint again to then return to the rest of the presentation. In Evernote however, while a full screen of the external link is provided, you have the option to open the image in the browser or to return to the Evernote presentation at the click of a button (top left corner when presenting). Makes for much simpler transfer between open applications.
  • Present on another screen?- easy. Evernote gives you the choice of which available screen you want to present on (right click on the Evernote and choose “Present on another Screen). While this is available in PowerPoint, it is a bit cumbersome  (Slide Show-Set Up Show- Monitors).
  • Images/ pdf difficult to view online. When the audience clicked on the link for the associated Evernote, the web-based outline unfortunately warped some of the images. However, this could be rectified by clicking on the attachment icon, by “viewing as presentation” or “View in Evernote”.
  • Limited tools = no fiddling…#2. With the limited tools, it does mean that you would need to ensure that any images you need are already developed beforehand- either using Evernote tables, audio or video recorder or file from external software. This might lead you back to PowerPoint which was the case for me as I included slides from a previous presentation.
  • Images to pdf. On the note of inserting slides from other software, Evernote converts these images as pdf. I am unsure of the rationale for this, other than might mean that viewers are unable to change the image and/ or to reduce the size of the files.


While my first use of Evernote as a presenting tool was positive, there are some limitations that would make me reserve it for some forms of presentations (i.e. webinars, simple overview of ideas), it is not something that I would utilise for a two-hour lecture to students… …yet.
My use of Evernote to present on the Google Hangouts platform (also new to me) can be found below or by using the following link 

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See microphone comparisons below. The Blue Snowball ice microphone is available in the Tpod.

Below: Internal Microphone HP Laptop

Audio Test - Internal Microphone

Below: Headset Microphone – Logitech USB

Audio Test - Logitech Headset

Below: Headset Microphone – Sennheiser USB

Audio Test - Sennheiser Headset

Below: External Microphone – Blue SnowBall

Audio Test - External Microphone - Blue SnowBall

Results: The external SnowBall Ice Microphone provides the best audio quality, followed closely by the Sennheiser Headset that has been allocated to staff by IT. Both the internal mic and older Logitech headsets are noticeably poorer quality.

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In honour of the silver jubilee of the Association for Learning Technology (ALT), ALT Conference 2018 Co-Chair Martin Weller has been compiling a personal history of the development of Educational Technology (Ed Tech) covering the years 1993 to the present. The final episode, 2018 Critical Ed Tech was published yesterday. Ranging from AI, through the web, eLearning, MOOCs, back to AI and on to blockchain — like Lasers in the 60s, surely a technology looking for an application — it’s an entertaining look at all the disrupting technologies that somehow failed to disrupt education. And a sobering thought that I was there to uncritically early-adopt a lot of it too!

You can read the whole lot by visiting the category 25yearsedtech on Martin’s Ed Techie blog.

Highly Recommended.

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This just seen on Twitter. A great resource from @teachermarija on using OneNote and OneNote Class Notebook in the classroom distributed as a OneNote notebook.

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Last month I started this sequence of posts on using OneNote Class Notebook as a VLE by posting a simple 3-question survey using Microsoft forms. There have been four submissions (one was mine), so please have a go if you want to improve these results.

Here are the results.

1. Do you use a VLE?

100% of those who took the survey said yes!

2. What kinds of content do you deliver through your VLE?

Responses to Q2

No surprises here I guess. For most staff (and probably students too), the VLE is primarily seen as a content management system. Everyone uses PowerPoint and notes. It’s pleasing to see videos, screencasts and pencasts being used. One respondent uses podcasts. Reading lists and announcements are used by all. The respondent who selected “other” uses Diigo feeds and embedded learning objects created in Xerte and Articulate.

The good news is that OneNote class notebook can support most of these use cases with file attachments. Office attachments will open in the native app. Some media types, audio and video, can be embedded; YouTube videos can be automatically inserted from the YouTube share link. Other media types may need to be linked to.

It’s worth noting that OneNote pages support sophisticated text markup (with excellent accessibility features and the unique learning tools), and there is digital ink support (for handwritten annotations) which rivals the HTML editors provided by most VLEs.

3. What “interactive” features of your VLE do you use in your teaching?

Responses to Q3

OneNote Class notebook on its own provides support for the equivalent of wikis (collaborative documents), Blogs, and ePortfolios. You would have to combine it with Microsoft Teams to have useful discussion boards (including video discussions powered by FlipGrid) and assignment tools (including grading rubrics). You can create very simple embedded quizzes and surveys using Microsoft Forms, but you’d need to link to your VLE or a third-party tool for more fully featured quizzes.

Having set the scene, in the next article in this series, I will describe the OneNote class notebook and how I use it!