Sharing knowledge is, in itself, a process of on-going learning and iteration. This past January, we hosted our first Mobile Health Data Integration training. This training surveyed the landscape of mHealth data APIs and provided practical insights into how to access and integrate data from these sources. We received a great deal of positive feedback from the training, but we also recognized that there were things we wanted to do better.
As we prepare to deliver this training for a second time we’re improving it in a few ways we think you’ll like it. There’s going to be:
1. A stronger foundation
We had a good sense going into the first training that we would have people with varying levels of technical skills and experiences. Now that we’ve delivered it once, we better understand the shared foundational knowledge you’ll need to engage with mobile health data.
2. More interactivity
We plan on providing you with short exercises after each topic which will help you apply and synthesize your knowledge. You’ll also be paired-off into small groups to discuss the tradeoffs of different approaches to API integration.
3. More show and tell
Topics such as OAuth authorization and HTTP requests are quite abstract until they are grounded in real-world examples. In this next training, we plan to not just tell you about these topics, but also conduct live demos where we show you the process for authorizing and sending requests to an API.
4. Explicit best practices and takeaways
Beyond the exercises after each topic covered in the course, we’re going to enumerate the best-practices and tradeoffs for each topic you should consider. This way when you go back to your project you’ll know exactly what you need to know about a wide range of topics from OAuth to time zones.
5. Streamlined hands-on activities
Since we had a diverse group of students–some technical, some not–the hands-on activities were hard to manage. Some were using our instances of Shimmer, some were using their favorite programming language and HTTP client library to send requests. We’re going to make sure the options for how to interact with mobile health data APIs are clear and those who are less technical don’t get left behind.
Meeting the different needs from different backgrounds and with different interests has been a challenge facing educators for centuries. A CTO from a healthcare organization will likely have very different interests and skills than a research assistant from a university setting. However, both have a shared interest in using mobile health data to further their goals and a shared understanding that mobile health data represents a major shift in how we think about human health.
We’ve found it important to find the common ground people share and emphasize the foundational concepts of the domain. With this foundation, you will leave the training with the ability to continue building your skills to fit your specific needs.
We hope you’ll join us next week, April 6th at the HIT Summit. If you didn’t know already, with the purchase of your Data Integration Training, you’ll get to go to the HIT Summit for free! That’s a $2,000 value.