Final Project!!!

Woo Hoo!!! Fina project…I am doing the happy dance. So I am speaking to the faculty members teaching our HI 5300 course which is an introduction to health informatics. This course is meant to introduce informatics to students who have no clue what informatics is.


Deep Thoughts by Jack Handey…I mean Marcos Hernandez

Web 2.0 tools are awesome…I liked them all and will use them forever and ever…amen!

In all seriousness, my job is to find new Web 2.0 tools for our school to use and this course provided an abundance of said tools. I went to SXSWedu looking for new tools and was saddened to see that all I saw were topics on trends and not actual tools. I should have saved my money for this course.

Of all the tools, nothing was more valuable than the group project. It was my first time using Google Docs and collaborating online in Skype and using Titanpad to share ideas. It was an amazing experience and gave me some insight on what it is like for SBMI’s students having to collaborate at a distance.



Tool Category: Communication Tool, Collaboration Tool, Productivity Tool

Description: Doodle is a scheduling application on the web. The way it works is that you send out a request to a group requesting availability for scheduling a meeting or activity. Say you want to get together with your friends to celebrate your recent graduation from UH, that’s when Doodle comes in handy. You select a handful of available dates and times and send to your buddies.  They receive an email asking them to select their availability from the schedule you provided. You get responses and schedule the meeting based on everyone’s availability.


Here’s what Doodle has to say:

Doodle simplifies scheduling.

  • Doodle offers a wide selection of online solutions that radically simplify the process of scheduling appointments, ranging from the group event “poll” that doesn’t require registration to the professional booking service.
  • Connect your calendar with Doodle. Start and answer meeting requests directly in the calendar interface.
  • Doodle Mobile: Enables you to use Doodle on the go. By using your mobile device, you can respond to a meeting poll, initiate a poll, and see all of your polls at a glance.

Need to Know:  It’s also available on mobile devices. It’s free, a web-based application and it requires no additional download (unless you plan on using it for mobile devices).

What You Need: All you need is a keyboard, a mouse, and an internet connection. It’s a web-based application and requires no downloads or installations. You might also need some patience b/c SOME people don’t respond!

The Steps:

  1. Go to and create an account with your Google, Facebook or email account.
  2. You will be taken to the Doodle dashboard where you will create a poll to schedule an event or a poll to make a choice.

    1. “Schedule an event” is for available dates and times.
    2. “Make a choice” is for selecting from a list of choices.
  3. Select “Schedule an event” or “Make a choice”.
    Doodle Steps

    1. Provide General information about your poll.
    2. Select the “Time proposals” for your event.
    3. Select the “Settings” for your event.
      1. Yes-No-Ifneedbe Poll: By default all options are selectable. This setting limits the choice to one option per participant.
      2. Hidden Poll: By default all options are selectable. This setting limits the choice to one option per participant.
      3. Participant can only choose one option: By default all options are selectable. This setting limits the choice to one option per participant.
      4. Limit the number of participants per option: Poll as registration form: As soon as the indicated limit has been reached, the respective option is no longer available.
    4. Enter the email addresses of the people you would like to “Invite”.
  4. An email with a Doodle link will be sent to the participants. The participants will be taken to the poll and they make their selections.
  5. When participants respond, an email notification will be sent to the creator letting them know that they have received responses.

Educational Resource: Curriculum Manager Erin Seay at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine was tasked with revising the curriculum and had to schedule meetings for 15 committees and each committee was made up of about 18 faculty members. A major hurdle she faced was that not all members shared the same calendar system so she couldn’t look up a faculty members calendar to check their availability. Erin used Doodle to help poll and schedule meetings with all the faculty members, she posted the polls on the intranet.


In the Teaching Environment: Since teachers and faculty members dictate the deadlines for courses, I imagine teaching staff using it for polling students and for setting up office hours with students.

I see the students taking better advantage of Doodle. For our VoiceThread project, I sent our group members a scheduling poll to see when we could meet over Skype to discuss our project. Students an use it to coordinate available times to collaborate.

Advantages: Since it is web-based, it is accessible to anyone with an internet connection. No need to communicate with assistants or individual calendars to coordinate an event. All it takes is the click of a link, check the dates your available and click the “Save” button.

Disadvantages: Their is a paid premium account and you will see some ads for the free version.

Recommend: Yes. It is an easy tool to organize a meeting or to poll a group’s choices.




Tool Category: Problem Solving Tool, Feedback Tool, Networking/Social Tool

Description: “Google it!” How many times have you heard that expression? Got a question, “Google it!” Need a recipe, “Google it!” Who wrote that novel, “Google it!” Well Quora is a website created specifically to answer any questions you might have.

Quora’s mission is to share and grow the world’s knowledge.

  • Quora is your best source of knowledge.
  • Ask any question, get real answers from people with first hand experience, and blog about what you know.
  • Choose from over 400,000 topics to create a feed of information tuned to your interests.
  • Ask any question and get answers from real people with first-hand experience.
  • Create a blog to share knowledge by writing posts about any topic.

Quora serves as a blog, a social network for answering questions, and a place where users can go and engage with other users with similar interest.

Need to Know:  It has a similar feel to Facebook and Twitter but revolves around asking and answering questions.

What You Need: All you need is a keyboard, a mouse, and an internet connection. It’s a web-based application and requires no downloads or installations.

The Steps:

  1. Go to and create an account with your Google+, Facebook or Twitter account. You can also create an account using your email account, click on the link labeled “Sign Up With Email”.
  2. Follow the step-by-step instructions to set up your account and preferences. QuoraStart
    1. Select topics you are interested in.
    2. Find friends to make your feed more social (Quora will ask permission to access your Facebook friends).
  3. Once you are done with the setup, you will be taken to your feed (which displays your friends and topics of interest). You can select to have “Top Stories”, “Questions & Answers” or “Blog Posts” displayed in your feed. QuoraFeed
  4. In the feed, you can answer questions posed by Quora users.
  5. The menu bar to navigate Quora is at the top of the page. QuoraNav
    1. Home – your feed
    2. Open Questions – questions from other Quora users waiting to be answered.
    3. Notifications – notifications when users interact with your activity.
    4. Name – your name affects your settings and preferences including “Profile”, “Blogs”, “Messages”, “Stats”, “Your Content”, “Credits” & “Settings.”
    5. Add Question – allows you to ask a question to have answered by Quora users.
  6. To pose a questions, click on the blue button labeled “Add Question”.
  7. Type your question and click Next. QuoraQuestion
  8. You will be prompted with a box to “Check For Existing Questions” similar to your question. If your question, or similar, appears, click on the link. If your question, or similar, is not listed, click on the blue button labeled “My Question is New”.
  9. You will then be prompted to categorize your question into a topic.
  10. When someone answers your question, you will receive an email notification and see a number right over “Notifications” in the menu bar.

Educational Resource: Quora has a whole topic devoted to education with the tagline “The art and science of improving thinking, knowledge, skills, and values.”

Users are encouraged to create a profile in Quora to build a reputation in their field of expertise.

In the Teaching Environment: This would be a semester long project for the SBMI introduction to health informatics course. This course is meant to teach our grad students about informatics so I feel that if students engaged in Q&A’s in Quora, they would learn more about informatics outside of the classroom.

Rather than engaging in discussion, each week, in our learning management system (Moodle) the student will be required to ask and answer a question in the Quora informatics topic.

Advantages: Whenever I have a question that needs answered I simply Google it and, more than likely, will continue to do so. Where Quora comes in handy is that you see questions you would never have thought to ask and you see answers by people in your position/situation. It’s a great tool for exploring and learning new things.

No ads and no charges, it’s like a search engine for questions.

Disadvantages: None

Recommend: Yes. It is a great tool to see answers to questions your never thought to ask.

Audio Review

Stop! Collaborate and listen.

Group Collaboration:
Let’s take you day by day.

Friday: Isabelle send out an email (1st collaboration tool) to the group, outlining our activities and my first thought was, can we finish this week first. Ha!
Saturday/Sunday: Danny responds and let’s us know that he has taken Isabelle’s notes and his notes and placed them in our 2nd collaboration tool, Titanpad.
Monday/Tuesday: I jumped on Titanpad and inserted my thoughts.  Up to this point we have primarily been using e-mail to communicate. Everyone continued making edits to the content in Titanpad.
Wednesday: We agreed to video conference on Skype (3rd collaboration tool). We had some technical difficulties, as Danny and I were able to video conference but Isabelle was limited to chat. We finalized our gameplan and agreed to video conference again on Thursday. Isabelle created a Google Docs powerpoint (4th collaboration tool) for us to insert our presentation slides.
Thursday: We had trouble connecting via Skype but eventually, Amy & Danny were able to video conference while Isabelle and I were limited to audio. While on Skype, we were also on Google Docs making edits to our presentation. We geeked out over how cool this was!
Friday: Once everyone gave the final OK on their slides, I uploaded them to VoiceThread (5th collaboration tool) and everyone inserted their comments on their own time. I recorded and edited my comments with ScreenFlow. Danny used his iPhone.

VoiceThread Experience:
VoiceThread played such a minor role in our collaborative efforts that I am not even sure it warrants reflection. Our group was very impressed with the collaboration tools (email, Titanpad, Skype & Google Docs) we used and how we were able to, simultaneously, chat and edit our presentation. At this point, VoiceThread took up but an hour of my time. For next weeks module, I imagine VoiceThread serving a greater value, but at this point all it consisted of was uploading a photo, uploading a presentation and then uploading my comment for my slides.

VoiceThread in My Presentation/Professional Life:
It’s the comments that makes VoiceThread a useful tool. Without the comments, all it is a YouTube channel or The commenting allows for a social experience with presentations. Slidehare and YouTube also allows for commenting, the only difference is that you can comment with audio or video on VoiceThread.

I can see our faculty members and students using this product as it is relatively easy to use but the problem is that you have to use other tools prior to using VoiceThread. If VoiceThread offered presentation creation, online video conferencing and online collaboration, then I can see VoiceThread being useful but b/c our group spent a majority of its time with other collaboration tools, I don’t see VoiceThread being a useful tool.



Tool Category: Communication Tool & Productivity Tool

Description: So what is an infographic? An infographic is a visual representation of data or information. It is meant to take complex data/information and present it in a visually appealing manner that can be understood by all. is a site the provides infographics on a daily basis and also categorizes them.

Infographics are typically created by graphic designers but the beauty of Piktochart is that you don’t have to be a graphic designer to create one. The service is a web-based tool and is free to use.  You can upgrade to a Pro account to unlock more themes and more tools.


Big Data is trending in health care and infographics serve as a valuable tool to help the regular joe make sense of the data and infographics help to paint a clearer picture.

Need to Know:  You need to have your data and information organized so that you build your infographic in a manner that makes sense. You don’t have to install any applications as it is a web-based tool.  The pro account is $29 a month or $290 a year. Piktochart has a support page if you get overwhelmed.

What You Need: All you need is a keyboard, a mouse, an internet connection, and your creativity.

The Steps:

  1. Go to and click on the button labeled “START FREE TRIAL” or the “SIGN UP” button at the top right corner.
  2. You can sign in with your Google+ or Facebook account or you can create a username and password.
  3. Once you have created an account or signed in, you will be brought to a page that gives you four formats for your infographic:
    1. Infographic: Create longform infographics to draw pageviews to your blog or website.
    2. Report: Designed to fit snuggly in two A4 sheets of paper – use infographics to bring dry reports to life.
    3. Banner: Spreading information in a glance. Make your shoutouts and announcements in an infographic.
    4. Presentation: Pitches and briefings are fun with infographics. Block size is fixed for a 4:3 aspect ratio.
  4. After you select a format, you can choose from a variety of themes or create your own infographic on a blank canvas. Rolling over a theme will allow you to preview the theme and if satisfied, create an infographic using that theme.
  5. You will be prompted to name your Piktochart and then press the “CREATE” button.
  6. The infographic you selected will open up in a canvas to edit. The infographic is broken up into blocks and you can add, delete and edit the individual blocks.

    1. The buttons on the left (Graphics, Uploads, Background, Text, Styles & Tools) allows you to add content to your blocks. When you click on one of the buttons, options for that tool appear to the right of the toolbar.
    2. The buttons above the inforgraphic let you Undo, Redo, Copy, Cut, Paste, Delete and Align with other objects.
    3. The buttons immediately to the left of the block you are editing allows you to Add Block, Delete Block, Clone Block, Move Up (block), Move Down (block), and Settings which allows you to set the size of the infographic and individual blocks.
    4. When you are done editing your infographic, the buttons at the top right corner of the canvas allow you to Save, Preview, Download, Publish and Share your infographic.

Educational Resource:
Piktochart posted a blog about how infographics are being used in education. It’s a great read and shows how educators are using infographics in the classroom. Link

These were the responses from the educators.
Jon:  I have mainly used infographics to support teacher training.
Urvi:  The infographics were for a project in World Issues class about Genocide.
Vance:  I’ve had students create infographics on topics such as controversies in public health, the American obesity epidemic, STDs, and the environmental impact of their purchases.
Mia:  Students used infographics on a crowdsourcing project in Ethics and any other presentation, I use them to explain work flow and assignments.
Shayne:  We are taking a thematic approach and looking at hunger, homelessness and poverty in 8 subgroups. Students will report the using an infographic.

In the Teaching Environment:
The blog post above gives many instances in which infographics were being used in the teaching environment but I also see a great use for it in SBMI’s master’s program.

SBMI offers a course on data visualization which is pretty much the definition of an infographic. As part of a project, the students can be assigned to visually represent health specific data/information. The grad students can use Piktochart, since it is free, to create the infographics.

Also the professor can teach a class by building an infographic with the lesson of the day. Rather than giving a presentation in powerpoint, the professor can start the class with a blank canvas and build the infographic, during class time, with the content of his/her lesson.

Free web-based application
Easy to use by anyone, no graphic designer abilities necessary
Available for mobile devices
Community of support that helps in learning the tools

$29 a month for the pro account
Free account has several limitations

Yes. A graphic designer charges up to $100 per hour. This tool will save you money and help to make data visually appealing. Educators can use it in the classroom to engage learners.

Video Review

PIXLR: A Review



Tool Category: Communication Tool & Productivity Tool

Description: Let me tell you a little about his tool called PIXLR…it’s AWESOME! I use Photoshop on a daily basis and to find a bare-bones version that is free and easy to use, it has me thrilled.

PIXLR has three different web-based applications that you can use (shown above): 1) PIXLR Editor, 2) PIXLR Express, and 3) PIXRL O-Matic.

PIXLR also offers two phone apps (PIXLR Express & PIXLR-O-Matic) that are available for iPhones and Android phones.


PIXLR Editor (image below) is the web-based application that is very similar to Adobe Photoshop and GimpShop. It’s a photo & graphic editing application that allows you to edit, add text, shapes, & adjust colors to your photos and graphics.  It has some of the same tools & capabilities as Photoshop and Gimpshop including layering, filtering, image resizing, adjustments, and exporting to different image formats.


PIXLR Express (image below) is a pared down version of PIXLR Editor…an express version. It has presets that can be applied to your photo or graphic. Presets include adjustments, effects, overlays, borders, stickers, and type.


PIXLR O-Matic is a web-based photo enhancement tool that allows you to crop an image, apply effects, overlay filters, and add a border.  PIXLR O-Matic (especially the mobile phone app) has some of the same tools and functions as Instagram.

Need to Know:  Learning curve for PIXLR O-Matic is easy, PIXLR Express is medium and PIXLR Editor is difficult. If you have used Photoshop before, then PIXLR Editor is very easy to use as it has some of the similar features.

What You Need: All you need is a keyboard, mouse, webcam, internet connection, and your creativity.

The Steps:

  1. Go to and click on the application you would like to use: PIXLR Editor, PIXLR Express or PIXLR O-Matic.
  2. Click on the PIXLR O-Matic banner
    1. Click on the “webcam” icon to snap a selfie or clikc on the “computer” icon to upload an image from your computer.
    2. The menu at the bottom (pictured below) will take you through a step-by-step process beginning with applying effects, overlaying a filter, or adding border. The menu will also allow you to crop the image, save your changes, and step backwards or forwards.
  3. Click on the PIXLR Express banner
    1. Select the “Browse” button to upload an image from your PC, the “Open URL” button to edit an image from the web, the “Webcam” button to take a selfie, or the “Collage” button to create a collage.
    2. When your image opens up in the canvas, you will see a menu below your image that will allow you to apply a preset “Adjustment”, “Effect”, “Overlay”, “Border”, “Sticker”, or “Type”.
    3. When you are done with your changes, click on the “Save” button located at the top left hand corner of the canvas.
  4. Click on the PIXLR Editor bannerEditormenu
    1. Select the “Create a new image” tab to start with a blank page, the “Open image from computer” tab to upload from your PC, the “Open image from URL” tab to fetch an image from the web, the “Open image from library” tab to select from pixlr, facebook or other library, or the “Use pixlr on your mobile device” to use your mobile device.
    2. Once your image loads on the canvas, you will see a menu at the top of the window, a crop & resize tool below the menu, a “Tools” palette to the left of the image, and the “Navigator”, “Layers”, & “History” palette to the right of the image.
    3. Hovering over the tools in the “Tool” palette will let you know what type of tool it is.
    4. You can save the image for the web or in the PIXLR format to maintain the layers and changes.

Educational Resource:
In the video below, a teacher used PIXLR Express to edit photos. The teacher showed his students how to edit pics even though he taught them how to use Photoshop. After the students have edited the image, they were to place the edited image in their Prezi presentation. He was letting them know of some alternatives that are of no cost to the student.

In the Teaching Environment:
I think it’s pretty obvious that students could use this program in a photo-journalism or graphic design course.

A website listed some instances where PIXLR can be used in a K-12 setting.

  • Edit pictures before using them in other programs.
  • Add pictures and define vocabulary words.
  • Take pictures of memorable events (field trips, class parties, music programs, etc.) add captions and “swag” to pictures.
  • Modify pictures for take-home cards for parents.
  • Upload pictures of maps to Pixlr and add events or place names.
  • Take pictures of everyday items that form geometric shapes for a shape review.

I couldn’t think of any instances where this tool would be valuable at UTHealth SBMI.  I could see this tool being useful at the undergraduate level, similar to the instances as the K-12 suggestions. For graduate level courses, I can’t see it being handy unless students are editing images for presentations.

Free application similar to Photoshop & Gimpshop
A choice of three different photo/graphic editing tools that fits the users skill level
Web-based application
Available for mobile devices
Community of support that helps in learning the tools

A higher learning curve for PIXLR Editor

This tool works great for photo & graphic editing and it is rather easy to use.  I would highly recommend this tool, especially if students can not afford to purchase an application such as Photoshop.