P135 - The first Virtual Library of Health -VLH distance learning course
In Virtual Health Library (VHL) the users interact directly with a dynamic network source of information, without restriction of space and time. That requires from them a previous knowledge on the content, of the organization, on characteristics, and the terminology of the subject of the sources. BIREME has a long time experience in promoting on-site training courses, with an always growing demand from its users at all levels ,who seeks relevant information to subsidize the processes of decision-making in health. The question is: how to meet the growing demand and expand the universe of health professionals trained, throughout Latin America and Caribbean? With this objective the first the Distance Learning Course of Bibliographic Source in the VHL, developed by BIREME together with the Laboratory of Learning the Distance from the Federal University of São Paulo, was launched in September 2004. The experience in developing this distance course in virtual space on the Internet with a very diversified class o f students, represented a change of paradigm in the form of teaching and learning. The teachers have to develop the capability to explain all the contents of the course and at the same time encourage and monitor each participant. The students accompanies the course in it’s own space and manner, but the teacher should not forget that, although distant, the student is an individual, with expectations and needs, therefore the attention should be equal or even greater than in an on-site course. The teacher has to be presents beside the student at all times. The course is interactive, carried out in a personalized virtual environment, it applies a colloquial language in the presentation of the contents and is prepared in accordance with the most modern resources of distance teaching methodologies, which is the student learns-making. Professors, monitors, and students are separated in time and space, but between them exists the technological resource to minimize these gap and distance. The course is composed by 6 lectures with exercises, examples, and survey scripts in the VHL, distributed in 6 weeks, without schedule and previously established day. There are 221 pages in HTML/PHP format and PDF. The course is finalized with appraisal of students and professors and the emission of a certificate. In less than a year, since the first edition of the Course, more than 500 professionals from the health area with different specialities and from different locations, were trained by the Distance Learning Course of Bibliographic Source in the VHL. The access to the course is based on the Virtual Health Library at http: /www.bvs.br.