Slide Atlas of Diabetes: Lecture NotesBMJ 2000; 321 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.321.7265.903 (Published 07 October 2000) Cite this as: BMJ 2000;321:903
John C Pickup, Gareth Williams
Blackwell Science, £150, pp 12 ISBN 0 632 05014 4
This is not a book but a set of slides, making the reviewer's job a difficult one. The subheading “Lecture Notes” is misleading—the only text is a few pages of legends, which are often skimpy and vague. Some of these are also rather inappropriate: for example, one slide is called “The responsibilities of the diabetes specialist nurse.” Is “responsibilities” really the right word to summarise the many tasks and skills of these professionals, who are central to the provision of diabetes care?
Most of the slides are taken directly from those in the multiauthor Textbook of Diabetes, edited by Pickup and Williams, an outstanding book. The illustrations they have selected from it are clear and beautifully crafted. They are authoritative and factually accurate, although one section has become outdated by the recent reclassification of the disease and the changed diagnostic criteria proposed by the World Health Organization. It is great to have these slides in a single collection, which will undoubtedly help some of us throw a talk together. The high quality of the slides will ensure a reasonable lecture.
But will it be a good one? Are slides the key to teaching or, more precisely, the key to effective learning? Is this the way that education is going in the next 10 years—using the same teaching aids and techniques of the past quarter of a century? Surely not. Diabetologists have been in the forefront of educational advance in clinical medicine, since they have had to teach patients about self care. They have adapted these methods for teaching medical students, nurses, and professionals in primary care. People don't learn much from lectures with pretty pictures. They learn by asking questions. Interactive workshops result in the acquisition of far more applicable knowledge than didactic presentations. Having said that, more imaginative use of these slides might involve distributing them to a small group of students whose task it is to assemble a presentation to give to their colleagues.
This is an impressive collection of truly excellent illustrations on the subject of diabetes, and many will find it attractive. But it is no more than that, and I had the feeling that such a collection is conceptually rooted in the past. I also wondered why on earth they didn't market the material on Powerpoint on a CD Rom, but I guess that this will be the next stage. If funds are tight, I'd buy the textbook.