Busy doctors who are interested in skin disease are logging on to a Welsh course from all over the world.
Busy doctors who are interested in skin disease are logging on to a Welsh course from all over the world. The online diploma in practical dermatology, a one-year programme run by the University of Wales College of Medicine in Cardiff, has students in 13 countries, including Croatia, Saudi Arabia and New Zealand. The course is delivered by UK dermatologists. One tutor, Dr Andy Macfarlane, says that, in some ways, e-learning is preferable to face-to-face courses. "I find I can cut to the chase and concentrate on the subject material more easily in chatrooms. There are no body language-type diversions (in other words, I can't see the students yawning!). Also, there's a printable summary of the tutorial at the end." One doctor, Ian Morris, managed to complete the course while travelling the world, but it wasn't easy. At one point, in Fraser Island, Australia, the only place he could find to log on was a karaoke bar. "I had to access the net through a pay-as-you-go computer while contending with a Japanese version of Tom Jones," he says. "Then I ran out of coins. I don't think the barman believed me when I asked for change to finish an exam."
* Following a Bafta win by a former student, the 10th anniversary party of a Salford University course on 11 June promises to be a jolly affair. Todd Austin was one of the first students on the masters/ diploma in television features and documentary production at Salford. He is now editor of the BBC series One Life, and in April scooped the Bafta for best documentary of the year. It was awarded for Lager, Mum and Me, the story of a family's battle with a mother's alcoholism directed by Min Clough. The Salford course is highly rated. Since Austin's day, its students have won or been nominated for 12 Royal Television Society awards.
* There are nearly 150,000 students at the University of London. One is singled out each year for being particularly brainy and go-getting. This year, the honour has gone to a young Indian doctor, Koshy Eapen, who is taking an Msc in epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (one of the university's 30 colleges). Dr Eapen, who is 29, has launched a charitable trust in his home country to fund 50 impoverished medical students through their courses. His primary research interest is geriatric care in India. He says there is a catastrophe waiting to happen in India, because it has one of the largest aging populations in the world but almost no specialist services for the elderly. "There is no central geriatric healthcare policy, very little medical insurance cover available for the old, and hospices are virtually non-existent," he says. "There is not even a geriatric medical speciality in India." Dr Eapen is looking at how elderly care in developed countries can be emulated in India, but at low cost. He has three Cambridge University scholarships under his belt, and will be returning there next year to continue his research.