Osmosis Releases Web Browser Access, Android and other Non-iOS Users Rejoice
Oct 1, 2013
Since we launched our app in August the two most common requests we've received are (1) to add more questions, and (2) to make Osmosis accessible without an iOS device. We heard you and this week are excited to say we've done both. First, we just released our Preclinical Foundations Pack, and within the next few weeks we'll be following it up with USMLE- and Clinical- packs. Second, we are happy to announce that starting today anyone with an Internet connection and browser will be able to access Osmosis.
With the web browser-based interface, Osmosis is returning to its origins. In fact, we first created Osmosis in late 2011 as a web-only interface meant to help our classmates at Hopkins crowd-source practice questions and resources. Given how well-received it was by students, faculty, and administrators alike we decided to continue improving it by adding more content and features. Word got around and after we heard from medical students from New York to California we decided to work on making it accessible to anyone who wanted it, both as an app and a web platform.
You can now use Osmosis on any web browser (with the exception of IE), though it works best on Google Chrome. Below we highlight some of the most important features we've added to the question review interface on Osmosis Web:
Wikipedia is a tremendous resource that has been shown to be almost as accurate as the Encyclopedia Britannica. In fact, in 2010 Medical Teacher published a peer-reviewed paper in which the authors,
"...identified Wikipedia as an informative and accurate source for Pathology education and believe that Wikipedia is potentially an important learning tool for the 'Net Generation.'"
There's even a push to make Wikipedia even better, as evidenced by UCSF's decision to offer medical students course credit for contributing to Wikipedia articles.
Due to all of this and the realization that a majority of students have Wikipedia tabs open while studying, we decided to make it even more convenient for you to access these articles on Osmosis Web. As you go through the questions you will see that key terms such as disease and drug names are hyperlinked. When you click on these links the Wikipedia article will magically appear on the right side of your window, allowing you to consult this helpful resource without having to open up dozens of tabs.
Forgot which structures are retroperitoneal? No problem, just click on the term. No idea what Kawasaki Disease is? Osmosis has got you covered! Just one more step along the way of abstracting away the management of your learning so that you can spend more time actually learning. Put another way: we want to help you spend less time studying and more time Osmosing.
The iconic Osmosis Scoreboard that represents your confidence, accuracy, and recency when answering questions has been made even more dynamic. You can filter based on these parameters simply by clicking on the various segments of the Scoreboard. Try it and you'll never want to go back. Alternatively, you can also choose to include or exclude other parameters (topic, confidence, accuracy, recency, question type, etc) by simply typing these into the appropriate fields. Last, if you'd like to just focus on the questions you can temporarily hide the Scoreboard tab.
Speaking of hiding things, Osmosis Web enables you to make the answer choices invisible while you cycle through the questions. One of the biggest complaints about any multiple choice question is that it does not represent real-life and incentivizes guessing. As much as we would like our attending physicians to give us multiple choices, it is better for our own professional development if we can come up with the appropriate answer - whether a diagnosis or treatment step - without any prompting. This is the essential difference between recall (free-response) and recognition (multiple choice). Many of the Osmosis questions can be answered without consulting the choices, so try it out!
At Osmosis we strongly believe in social, peer-to-peer learning. One of the reasons we called it "Osmosis" is that we realized that knowledge is not just passed on from a professor to student but also diffuses from student to student. In addition to the question rating feature that allows us to automatically monitor question quality, Osmosis Web includes a commenting feature that allows you to do everything from add a mnemonic to ask for additional explanation. Others can reply to and rate comments, which we've found generates healthy discussions. That is what we call Learning by Osmosis!
We're excited to hear from you about Osmosis Web. Which of the features above is your favorite? What else would you like to see? Good luck Osmosing!
P.S. You can get access to Osmosis Web here: https://www.osmosis.org/store