About Anita A Thomas, MD, MPH

Assistant Professor
Department of Pediatrics, Division of Emergency Medicine
University of Washington/Seattle Children’s Hospital

Teaching in the age of COVID-19: Enhancing discussion with digital asynchronous chats


asynchronousA significant portion of the technology industry is built around social media and asynchronous chat platforms that seek to connect people. Modern tools are designed with the intention to maximize engagement with push notifications, engagements, and emoji/like integrations that maximize the “dopamine rush” for users; “social media addiction” is a known phenomenon. These tools, when repurposed for learning, provide an easy and user-friendly platform for learners to discuss educational objectives. Chats are the quickest communication form, occurring in real-time and encouraging spontaneity and adaptation. There is a sense of forgiveness, and oftentimes if the chat is anonymous, a high degree of confidence for participation among learners. Use of a moderator is a KEY factor in keeping the discussion professional (and alive!) [1].


Teaching in the age of COVID-19: Real-time video conferencing

video conferencing

As programs face unprecedented pressure to protect learners via social distancing, many will turn to video as their preferred method to continue delivering educational content. The need to do this in “real-time” makes conferencing applications an obvious choice for content delivery. Programs may already be familiar with this technology for conference calls, further lowering the bar for early adoption. Studies demonstrate the educational content via live video is at least as effective as a live lecture [1]. Further, they have been used to deliver additional content, such as small groups and simulation [2]. With current technology, these tools are widely available and easy to use for educators.


Teaching in the age of COVID-19: Teaching with tech while socially distancing

social distancing

With the arrival of SARS-CoV2 (COVID-19) in North America, programs are facing the need to reconsider how they deliver didactic education to their learners. The ACGME only allows for 20% of the curriculum to be delivered in an asynchronous fashion. The remainder is delivered through traditional didactic means, including “small-group sessions, such as break-out groups, serially repeated conference sessions, practicum sessions, or large-group planned educational activities.” With mandatory social distancing likely to become standard practice, we present multiple solutions to bridge the gap between live, in-person conferences and asynchronous materials.


Book Club: Forget a Mentor, Find a Sponsor

Forget the Mentor, Find a Sponsor book - sponsorshipOne of the most common themes in advice for career advancement is “find a mentor.” But we are rarely told HOW to find a mentor, WHY we need mentors, or WHAT ROLE mentors are supposed to play in our careers. In addition to the lack of direction regarding mentorship, when you start to research “what is mentorship,” it becomes clear that there are several limitations to the benefits of this popularized mentor-mentee relationship. To see results, the key may be more than mentorship and the answer is likely sponsorship.


By |2020-01-25T19:22:37-08:00Feb 7, 2020|Book Club, Incubators|