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Arthritis Source

The Arthritis Source (online at www.orthop.washington.edu) is a Web-based information resource created to help self-motivated, geographically dispersed learners ("learners at large") find information about arthritis. It was developed to support the needs of everyone who interacts with it: the users ("learners"), the site managers, and the content creators ("teachers").

The Arthritis Source represents an important genre of educational technology--a Web-based educational information system--as well as an effort to reach learners beyond traditional academic boundaries. Over 2800 people from around the world visit the Arthritis Source every day (on average). For example, on one day in December 2001, we had visitors from 44 countries (see world map of visitors).

For the past two years, PETTT has used a science of learning framework to explore the development of a unique content creation system that meets the needs of both learners and teachers using the Arthritis Source. Developed by PETTT, this system of creating, organizing, and maintaining useful information has the potential to be of service to many information domains on campus.

The Arthritis Source meets PETTT's goals in several direct ways:

  • Explore the interplay of technology and pedagogy in real settings: The Arthritis Source was created by a UW faculty member, Dr. Matsen of Orthopaedics, who had a strong desire to share information with learners outside the university's boundaries. PETTT has focused on exploring how to discover and meet the learning needs of learners-at-large, and how campus faculty members can use technology to easily and effectively address these needs.
  • Facilitate thoughtful and innovative educational technology uses: This system supports our vision of a sustainable and scalable Web-based educational source that will allow other faculty members to share information in similar ways.
  • Make strong connections between research, design, and practice: PETTT developed the Arthritis Source in response to the results of our research about learners at large and literature about patient education. We are now researching the effectiveness of its design and organization. Our iterative cycle of evaluation, design, and research helps us ensure that learners are successfully using the site and that the site changes in response to the learners' needs.


Examples of work


  1. Moving Toward Knowledge Building Communities in Health Information Website Design

      by Tracey Wagner, Jennifer Turns, Kristen Shuyler, and Aaron Louie
      University of Washington Department of Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine 2002 Research Report
      August 2002

      Read: Full paper (PDF; pages 55-57 in a 76-page document)

  2. Transforming Patient Education at the University of Washington and Beyond

      by Kristen Shuyler, Tracey Wagner, Scott Macklin, Aaron Louie, Brett Shelton, Eric Maddox, Jennifer Turns, and Frederick A. Matsen III, M.D.
      May 2002

      Read: Full paper (PDF; 26 pages)

  3. Asynchronous Web-based Patient-centered Home Telemedicine System

  4. Technology Adoption as Process: A Case of Integrating an Information-Intensive Website into a Patient Education Helpline

  5. Moving Toward Knowledge-building Communities in Health Information Website Design

  6. Continuing Medical Education: Observations of CME Course on Feb. 8 and 9, 2001

      by Jennifer Turns and Tracey Wagner
      March 2001

      Read: Full paper (PDF; 24 pages)

  7. Understanding Users of a Medical Information Website: A Phone Interview Study of Arthritis Source Users

      by Kristina Liu, Jennifer Turns, and Tracey Wagner

      Read: Full paper (PDF; 50 pages)

  8. Online Surveys: Guidelines and Summary of Research

      by Julianne Fondiller
      March 2000

      Download: Full paper (Microsoft Word document; 17 pages)

  9. Improving Search Engine Position of Internet Educational Materials: Design Heuristics and Indexing Methods

      by Aaron J. Louie, Jacob S. Burghardt, Ralph Warren, Jr., Scott K. Macklin, and Frederick A. Matsen III, M.D.
      February 2000

      Read: Full paper (PDF; 17 pages)

  10. Synthesis of Results of "Interview with Designer": Goals of the Designer and Implications for Research & Re-Design

      by Julianne Fondiller, Jennifer Turns, Jake Burghardt, Brett Shelton, and Scott Macklin
      January 2000

      Download: Full paper (Microsoft Word document; 11 pages)

  11. Arthritis Source: On-Line Survey Results

      by Jennifer Turns and Kristina Liu
      January 2000

      Read: Full paper (PDF; 73 pages)

  12. Guidelines: Web Data Collection for Understanding and Interacting with Your Users

      by Judith Ramey

      Download: Full paper (Microsoft Word document; 22 pages)

  13. Exploratory Arthritis Source Log Analysis, Part 1 and Part 2

      by Brett Shelton and Jennifer Turns
      November/December 1999

      Download: Part 1 (Microsoft Word document; 6 pages)
      Download: Part 2 (Microsoft Word document; 21 pages)

  14. Interview with the Designer: Interview Questions

      by Julianne Fondiller and Jennifer Turns
      October/November 1999

      Download: Full paper (Microsoft Word document; 3 pages)


  1. What are Patients Seeking When They Turn to the Internet? Questions asked by Visitors to an Orthopaedics Website

  2. Moving Toward Knowledge-building Communities in Health Information

  3. Listening to the Learners: A Case Study in Health Information Website Design

  4. An Application of Audience Analysis in Web-based Health Information System Design

  5. Moving Toward Knowledge-building Communities in Health Information

  6. Designing a Web-Based System to Support Learners-at-Large

      Presentation to UW Technical Communication 521: Current Issues in Technical Communication
      by Jennifer Turns, Tracey Wagner, and Kristen Shuyler
      November 2001

  7. Demonstration of Interactive Tools for Arthritis Source

      Presentation to Education Curriculum and Instruction 581: Design Experimentation and Implementation in Context
      By Tracey Wagner and Kristen Shuyler
      November 2001

  8. Design Heuristics for the Arthritis Source Web Site: Improving Search Engine Position and Processing User Feedback for Quality Improvement

  9. Moving Toward Health Knowledge Management 2010

  10. Demonstration of Arthritis Source to Juvenile Arthritis Patients and Their Families

  11. QX -> QC -> AC: Questions from Phone Interview

      Presentation to Arthritis Source Research Group
      by Jennifer Turns, Tracey Wagner, and Kristina Liu
      June 2001

  12. Integrating an Information-Intensive Website into Pedagogical Practice

  13. Listening to the Learner: Strategies, Examples, and Implications from Research on a Medical Information Website

  14. Design Heuristics for Creating Tailored Patient Education Materials for the Web

University of Washington
Program for Educational Transformation Through Technology
for more information please contact: pettt@u.washington.edu
PETTT is a University Initiative Fund (UIF) program