A revolution in the sharing of knowledge…

Transforming e-Knowledge
TABLE OF CONTENTS     What is e-Knowledge?   © SCUP 2003
  Page 15      

Pioneering Examples of e-Knowledge (continued)

 

 


Chapter 1

What is e-Knowledge?

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The future for the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists is to fuse education and knowledge experiences together so its members will be learning whenever they access the digital body of knowledge or use the portal to experience new developments
in the field.

Jack Cox, CEO, American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists, 2002

AAPS also has deployed communities of practice in both established and emerging subdisciplines in pharmaceutical sciences. It has a formal structure of scientific “sections” that provide content and program materials for AAPS’s meetings and publications. AAPS also fosters the organic development of self-forming discussion groups in new, hybridized areas of interest, providing enterprise support as the groups achieve critical mass and demonstrate sustainable interest. At any one time, it has as many as 25 such groups incubating. A recently formed group on “Nutriceuticals” combines subject matter content spanning five sections, and focuses on the field of natural health products that desperately requires scientific, government, and public scrutiny. These communities of practice contribute to the perpetual development of new findings and insights in the field and to the development and learning of participating members.

AAPS has digitized and repurposed many of its learning materials into online resources, CDs, and other media. In addition to its formal programs and exchanges of information, AAPS creates many opportunities for meetings, seminars, and other face-to-face venues. In these settings, the formal programs are only half the value; the in-the-hall conversations between scientists sharing their latest insights or synthesis of new developments are equally value laden. In the future, AAPS sees its publishing and education programs fusing together. In this rapidly developing field of pharmaceutical science, just-in-time knowledge on the latest developments is the vehicle for perpetual learning.

 

Universities Leverage Their Knowledge Resources Through Alliances

Alliances of universities for this purpose are not new. Achieving commercial success is another matter. The first generation of e-learning alliances, set up during the dot.com era with hopes of developing new income streams for universities, spent a great deal of money with little financial return. The lessons learned led to the establishment in the UK of a public-private partnership, e-Universities Worldwide Ltd (“e-U”). This is a collaborative alliance of knowledge organizations, including colleges and universities. The primary purpose of e-U is to enable UK providers of higher education to participate in the global e-learning market on a better basis than would be possible if they operated individually.

Initiatives such as the e-U show the way for universities to collaborate to exploit and share their knowledge to the benefit of all parties.

The chances of success have been raised by insistence on the establishment of:

  • a common technical platform, jointly developed by a leading vendor (Sun) and compliant with all relevant standards, to ensure that no technical obstacles exist to developing courses in one institution and running them at another institution;
  • a shared knowledge base on the effective use of that platform to meet needs in particular disciplines or to meet generic needs;
  • processes to ensure that courses meet international standards of quality and are appropriately certified and recognized;
  • development funds that individual institutions or consortia can bid for, to enable them to create or modify courses;
     

 

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  If you can imagine it,
it probably will happen.
If you can imagine it,
it probably already exists, somewhere.
Bruce Judson