Using Copyrighted Images in an Educational Setting: A Primer

By Mark Swartz, Copyright Specialist

Understanding a few of the basic concepts behind Copyright law can help explain why some images can be used in certain situations and others cannot. The most useful concept to consider when thinking about how images can be used is balance.

A Balancing Act

In the landmark Supreme Court case Théberge v Galerie d’Art du Petit Champlain Inc, Justice Ian Binnie characterizes Copyright Law with the following statement:

The Copyright Act is usually presented as a balance between promoting the public interest in the encouragement and dissemination of works of the arts and intellect and obtaining a just reward for the creator.

When you create a work, whether it is a book or an article, a photograph, a painting or any of the other types of expression covered by copyright (Copyright Act, RSC 1985, c C-42, s 5 retrieved on 2015-10-16), you automatically get a bundle of exclusive rights to that work. These rights include the right to copy, to distribute, and to assign your rights to others. The full sets of rights that you get are listed in the Act (Copyright Act, RSC 1985, c C-42, s 3 retrieved on 2015-10-16). And, while these rights are exclusive, they are limited in both time and scope. The balance between exclusive rights and limitations ensures that creators are fairly compensated for their work, while still allowing for some permission-free uses in ways that contribute to the public good.

Limitations to the exclusive rights of copyright holders include the following:

  1. Copyright protection does not last forever. In Canada, the general rule is that Copyright lasts for 50 years after the death of the copyright holder. After that point, the work will fall into the public domain and can be used for any purpose.
  2. The Copyright Act lists a number of situations where Copyrighted works can be used with permission from Copyright holders. These situations are called exceptions. The most well-known exception is called the fair dealing exception, which allows for some use of copyrighted material, as long as the use falls under one of the purposes listed in the Act, and if the dealing is fair (Copyright Act, RSC 1985, c C-42, s 29.1 retrieved on 2015-10-16).

If you have determined that you are using a copyright protected image, you need to get permission from the copyright holder or you must ensure that your use falls under one of the exceptions in the Copyright Act.

So what does this mean if I want to use images in my class?

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Creative Commons copyright licenses provide a simple, standardized way to give the public permission to share and use creative works like images. More information is available at creativecommons.org.

There are a wide variety of exceptions that apply to the use of copyrighted images in a closed, educational setting like a classroom or a Learning Management System. In the classroom, there is an exception that permits the reproduction of copyrighted images for use in PowerPoint presentations on campus (Copyright Act, RSC 1985, c C-42, s 29.4 retrieved on 2015-10-16). Additionally, fair dealing and the publically available materials exception will allow for the inclusion of many images in PowerPoint slides uploaded to Learning Management Systems like MEdtech. For more information, please see the In the Classroom and the On the Internet sections of the copyright and teaching section of my website.

As for images used in student assignments and presentations, most of the images used by students are likely to fall under the fair dealing exception. I do, however, always recommend that students do their best to find copyright free (or suitably licensed) images, so that when students leave the university and are asked to use images in the workplace, they know how to find images that can be easily used without having to get permission. Suggestions for finding these types of images are available on the Resources page of the copyright and teaching section of my website.

What about using images in materials that I post to the open web? What about images in conference presentations, posters and in research projects?

When you move from a closed environment like a Learning Management System to an open environment, it becomes more difficult to rely on exceptions like fair dealing, particularly if you intend to use your work for commercial purposes at any point.

In these situations, I would avoid using copyright protected images without permission and instead rely on finding works that are either licensed through the Creative Commons or that are in the public domain. The “resources” link I included in the section above provides some resources for finding these types of images. Images used in conference presentations and posters are much more likely to be fair than those on the open web, but I would be careful posting these presentations and posters on conference websites.

Finally, most images used in research projects and theses are likely to be fair dealing. One complication is that if you are going to publish in a traditional journal or publication, it is likely that the publisher will require that you get permission for everything. Fair dealing is often perceived to be too much of a risk for these publishers, so, if you are going to go that route, make sure you find materials where permission can be granted easily or is not required.

Mark Swartz
Mark Swartz

This is just a brief overview outlining some of the main image-related considerations that you might come across as an instructor or researcher. If you have any further questions about the use of images, please get in touch with me at extension 78510 or at mark.swartz@queensu.ca.

Citations

Théberge v. Galerie d’Art du Petit Champlain inc., [2002] 2 SCR 336, 2002 SCC 34 (CanLII), <http://canlii.ca/t/51tn> retrieved on 2015-10-16.

Copyright Act, RSC 1985, c C-42, s 29.1 <http://canlii.ca/t/52hd7> retrieved on 2015-10-16.

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Adding Your Photo to MEdTech Central

Adding a picture of yourself to MEdTech Central is an important part of completing your online profile, primarily because it assists our learners with identifying who you are while they are completing course and faculty evaluations.

To add your photo to your MEdTech Central profile:

  1. Log into MEdTech Central.
  2. Click on “My Profile” in the top right, near the picture box.
    MEdTech Central: My Profile
  3. Hover your mouse over the picture box, and click “Upload Photo”.
    MEdTech Central: Upload Photo
  4. “Browse” for your photo on your computer, then click “Upload”.
    MEdTech Central: Select Photo

 

If you would like some assistance uploading your photo to MEdTech Central, the Education Technology Unit would be happy to assist. Contact us today at 613-533-6000 x74294 or healthsci.support@queensu.ca.

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Enjoy these early and lasting gifts from the Bracken Health Sciences Library

By Suzanne Maranda, Head, Bracken Health Sciences Library

When I meet faculty in person, especially if I’ve not seen them in a while, or if they are new to Queen’s, they often embarrassedly admit that they never come to the library. Over the years, I’ve refined my answer: ”Oh, but you do; you probably just don’t know it. Most links to full-text articles would not work if the Library had not done the behind-the-scenes work.” Medical students are also quite amazed to find out, during their first session of medical school, that a single annual journal subscription can cost more than their tuition! The Queen’s Library spends over $9 million annually on library resources, most of which are electronic. The proportion in the health sciences is among the highest, with well over 90% of the purchases allocated to online materials.

The materials purchased by this library have also changed over time. It used to be that books and journals were the only information sources for serious learning and research. In recent years, in addition to conventional books and journals, with many more online than in print, you may find, among others, point-of-care tools such as Dynamed and BMJ Best Practice, anatomy software and image banks, clinical skills videos, clinical cases, and DVDs ( the latter can be borrowed to show in class or recommended to students).

While the Canadian dollar was still strong, the Library made strategic purchases of journal backfiles, allowing perpetual online access to older journal content. Most of this electronic content is linked to PubMed and Medline and the other databases in the OVIDSP interface for seamless access to full-text.

Tip #1: After completing a database search, it is best to NOT use the “limit to full-text” option in OvidSP because that limit only retains the journals purchased via this interface provider or where it has an agreement with particular publishers. There are MANY more journals that we purchase from other vendors, but the links will display only after clicking on the “Get it at Queen’s” button.

Screen shot 2014-12-05 at 10.01.56 AMWe are also very pleased that the links to full-text have finally been implemented in PubMed! Tip #2: For the links to appear, you must link to PubMed from the Bracken Library homepage (look under Find Articles). When you click on a citation, you will see this link: Bracken pic 2

in the top right corner, sometimes in conjunction with the publisher’s link. The Queen’s links will let you know exactly what years of the journal were purchased and, if the desired article is unavailable in full-text, you will see a link to order it from our Interlibrary Loans (ILL) service.

This brings me to an important change that will go into effect early in January 2015. All health and life sciences faculty and students will be able to order interlibrary loans using RACER. This service allows you to place orders and keep track of them yourself, but more importantly, it is linked to a desktop delivery system. Requested articles will be delivered as a link embedded in an email message. Remember that the Library no longer charges for interlibrary loan requests. More information will be sent to all health sciences faculty in December.

Course Reserve: Another service has changed this fall: there are now other options to place items on Course Reserve. Faculty have always been able to request that books or print journal articles be placed on reserve for students to sign out. These items are to be highly used by the entire class, and the reserve function allows for very short loans, usually 3 hours, which ensures that the entire class can have access within a reasonable amount of time. This is still the only way to handle a complete print book, but what about a chapter? Or an electronic article? Many faculty now put links to course readings in MedTech Central, and maybe we can help:

Tip #3: Bracken Library staff can scan a book chapter or a journal article and send faculty a pdf file for upload to MEdTech Central. This also applies to existing online materials: a persistent link can be created, which insures that you are using a reliable link over time and that the item is accessible from off campus. Please send requests to bracken.circdesk@queensu.ca. Now is the time to plan for the Winter Term!

Lastly, I hope you are aware of our Facebook page and you can also follow us on Twitter. I promise, you won’t be inundated!

On behalf of the entire Bracken Library staff, please accept my best wishes for the holiday season and for a healthy and productive 2015.

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WHAT’s NEW in the world of Learning Technologies ?

I recently had the opportunity to attend the DevLearn 2014 Conference.

 

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The conference was about discovering tomorrow’s learning technologies, strategies and practices today and joining the community of industry pioneers that are exploring the new learning universe and are defining the future of training and development.

I jam packed my days with amazing learning sessions that I thought we as a team would get the most out of. One of which I thought would benefit all of us back at the office was Forty-five Free (or Cheap) Online Learning Tools in 45 Minutes: What many instructional designers may not know is that for every $1,500 tool, there’s a free or low-cost alternative that can do the job just as well. This session covered a selection of tools that are available today and have many of the capabilities of expensive applications that can decimate a budget.

Some of the free tools I found may come in handy include:

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Adobe Photoshop Express is a tool to touch up your photos on the go with one-touch adjustments, filters, and more.

To download the free version visit windows marketplace

 

 

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OneNote is your digital notebook for keeping track of what’s important in your life.

To download the free version visit Microsoft Marketplace

Inkscape is professional quality vector graphics software which runs on Windows, Mac OS X and Linux. It is used by design professionals and hobbyists worldwide, for creating a wide variety of graphics such as illustrations, icons, logos, diagrams, maps and web graphics. Inkscape uses the W3C open standard SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) as its native format, and is free and open-source software.adobe illustrator, use for prep work.

To download the free version visit www.inkscape.com

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Audacity – great tool to record and edit sound. To download the free version visit http://audacity.sourceforge.net/download/

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https://handbrake.fr/

HandBrake is a tool for converting video from nearly any format to a selection of modern, widely supported codecs.

To download the free version visit https://handbrake.fr/

 

 

Screen Shot 2014-11-20 at 7.43.47 PMFotosizer is a free batch photo/image resizer tool. It lets you resize hundreds of photos in a matter of minutes in a quick and easy way.

To download the free version visit www.fotosizer.com

 

 

 

 

 


Delicious
is a free service designed with care to be the best place to save what you love on the web. We keep your stuff safe so it’s there when you need it – always. Delicious remembers so you don’t have to. Delicious is a free and easy tool to save, organize and discover interesting links on the web. To download the free version visit https://delicious.com/

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Photoscape  is a fun and easy photo editing software that enables you to fix and enhance photos. To download the free version visit http://photoscape.org/ps/main/index.php

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and the list goes on…

IRfanview – image editor, convert to any file format, edit – simple to use. Visit http://www.irfanview.com/

Windows Movie Maker used to make movies with images, videos and sound – Visit http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/get-movie-maker-download

TotalRecorder – capture any sound played by a computer (including streaming audio, Internet telephony, and PC games), and use the included time shift-feature for off-hours recording. Visit www.totalrecorder.com/

VLC is a free and open source cross-platform multimedia player and framework that plays most multimedia files as well as DVDs, Audio CDs, VCDs, and various streaming protocols. Visit http://www.videolan.org/vlc/index.html

Freesound is a collaborative database of Creative Commons Licensed sounds. Browse, download and share sounds. www.freesound.org royalty free music to use

Playlater is the first DVR for online video. Visit http://www.playon.tv/playlater

Sketchup  easiest way to draw 3D drawings. Visit www.sketchup.com

Onedrive storage, keep your files and photos in onedrive.Visit www.onedrive.com

Join Me – screen sharing. Visit JoinMe

StoryboardThat online storyboard creater, powerful and easy to use. www.storyboardthat.com

7-zip is a file archiver with a high compression ratio. Visit www.7zip.org/

Neobook create your own windows app (wysiwig) Visit Neosoftware.com

Open Source Windows – utility for manipulating archives. Formats 7z, ZIP, GZIP, BZIP2 and TAR are supported fully, other formats can be unpacked. Visit http://opensourcewindows.org/

ProjectLibre – open source (similar to microsoft project) gantt charts Visit www.projectlibre.org

Gspilt  split 10 dvds into smaller ones to share, exe on the disc. Visit www.gdgsoft.com/gsplit/

Malwarebytes protects you from new online threats that antivirus can’t detect. Visit malwarebytes.org

Coursera is an education platform that partners with top universities and organizations worldwide, to offer courses online for anyone to take, for free. Visit www.coursera.org

Any Video Converter takes videos from your computer or downloaded from the Internet and converts them into just about any format you’d like. Visit http://www.any-video-converter.com/products/for_video_free/

Awesome Screenshot Capture the whole page or any portion, annotate it with rectangles, circles, arrows, lines and text, one-click upload to share. Visit http://awesomescreenshot.com/

Snagit Use images and videos to show people exactly what you’re seeing. Snagit gives you an easy way to quickly provide better feedback, create clear documentation, and change the way you work together. AVG Antivirus updates on a regular basis Visit http://www.techsmith.com/download/snagit/

Jump Desktop free remote access tool, anywhere you are (works through google) Visit https://jumpdesktop.com/

PowToon is the brand new Do-It-Yourself animated presentation tool that supercharges your presentations and videos! Save massive amounts of time and money by creating Presentoons that bring the WOW!-factor to your educational presentations, and much more. Visit www.powtoon.com

Doro PDF Writer installs a virtual printer on your system with which you can create PDF documents for free from any Windows app. Visit http://doro-pdf-writer.en.softonic.com/

FLVTO free conversion tool pull files from youtube. Visit http://www.flvto.com/

Red Kawa is a video converter. Visit http://www.redkawa.com

PDFtoword is a pdf convert it into work excel ppt etc Visit https://www.pdftoword.com/

Infogr.am is a tool to make infographics the easy way, create charts that are quick and easy to use and easy on the eyes. Visit https://infogr.am/

Otixo ties all your cloud drives together in one app. Visit www.otixo.com

Bitstrips is a tool used to turn yourself and your friends into cartoon characters, and create and share your own awesome comic strips. Visit www.bitstrips.com

Lunapic if you would like to create an image with a transparent background, upload an image to change to transparent (no download) Visit www.lunapic.com

Google Web Designer a tool to create engaging, interactive HTML5-based designs and motion graphics that can run on any device. Visit www.google.com/webdesigner/

Along with this useful session on Forty-five Free (or Cheap) Online Learning Tools, I went to sessions on the  The Top 10 Authoring Tools of 2014 – and the Forecast for 2015, The xAPI—Liberating Learning Design, Building Interactive Slides in Storyline, Transform Users into Contributors: Kaplan’s Path to User-generated Content, xAPI Hyperdrive Showcase, The xAPI for the Non-developer, Demo Fest featuring eLearning Modules, and How to Make Community Part of Your Training.

If any of these topics interests you or you are thinking of exploring any of these tools, please contact Lynel Jackson 613-533-6000 x74919 E-mail: lynel.jackson@queensu.ca

 

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New Features on MEdTech

At the fall Curricular Leaders’ Retreat, Lynel Jackson highlighted four new and improved MEdTech features that can assist faculty in presenting information for students and in planning learning events and courses.

Adding Resources to Learning Events

Screen shot 2014-10-27 at 3.36.37 PM The EdTech team has completely redesigned the way resources (such as files, links, and quizzes) are added to the Learning Events and displayed to learners in Student View. This new view uses much of the information the EdTech team has collected for years during the upload process, like “Should this resource be considered optional or required?” and “When should this resource be used by the learner?” then displays it to learners in a clear and user-friendly timeline on the Learning Event page. The new format clearly shows what learners need to do to prepare for class, and also clearly marks what resources are required versus what is for information only.

In Development: In the future, these classifications will be used to provide learners with a checklist on their Dashboard, identifying all the activities they need to complete before classes for the week.

Curriculum Explorer

Screen shot 2014-10-27 at 3.36.46 PMThe EdTech team has enhanced MEdTech’s Curriculum Explorer tool which is now able to show not only where objectives (at any level) are mapped to Courses, and Learning Events, but also Gradebook Assessments. Faculty members and staff can use this tool to really explore the curriculum at all levels.

Reports

There are a number of new and enhanced reports – such as MCC Presentations by Course, Course Objectives by Events Tagged, and Learning Event Types by Course – that can assist in evaluating past course iterations as well as planning the next one. Curriculum coordinators can generate these reports for Course Directors, on request.

New interface to upload images, documents and videoScreen shot 2014-10-27 at 3.37.31 PM

One of the most frequently requested features by faculty has been the ability to easily upload images or documents, and embed video into rich text areas throughout the MEdTech platform.  With this Fall release, the team was pleased to announce this can now be done within any of the rich text areas.

To upload images or documents, click the “Browse Server” button from within the “Image” or “Link” icons. This will open your personal “My Files” storage area where you can upload images or documents from your local computer. Once you upload the image or document, clicking it will embed the image or document directly in the rich text area. You can also embed video from the Queen’s Streaming Server, YouTube, or Vimeo into any rich text area by clicking the “Embed Media” icon, and pasting in the “Embed Code”.

 

For questions on these updates and other aspects of MEdTech, reach the Education Technology team at medtech@queensu.ca

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New MEdTech Central Release on October 1st

The Health Sciences Education Technology Unit has been busy working on a few new features that we are excited to bring to your attention on the Undergraduate Medicine Blog. These new features will be available in MEdTech Central as of October 1st at around 7:30AM after the upgrade takes place.

1. Adding Resources to Learning Events

Learning Event Resources - Student View

Admin > Manage Events > Event Content

We have completely redesigned the way that resources (i.e. files, links, and quizzes) are added to Learning Events and displayed to learners in Student View. This new view utilizes much of the information we have been collecting for years during the upload process, like “Should this resource be considered optional or required?” and “When should this resource be used by the learner?” then displays it to learners in a clear and user friendly timeline on the Learning Event page.

It is important that when faculty members are uploading content to Learning Events that they take these classifications into account because this information can be extremely useful to learners as they prepare for class. It clearly shows them what they need to do to prepare for class, and what resources are required versus what is informational only.

In the future these classifications will also be used to provide learners with very useful checklists on their Dashboard, identifying all of the activities they needed to complete before classes for the week.

2. Curriculum Explorer Updates

Curriculum > Curriculum Explorer

We have done some really nice enhancements to the Curriculum Explorer which is now able to show not only where objectives (at any level) are mapped to Courses, and Learning Events, but also Gradebook Assessments. Faculty members and staff can use this tool to really explore the curriculum in MEdTech Central at all levels.

3. New Curriculum Matrix

Curriculum > Curriculum Matrix

You may already be familiar with the “Competencies by Course” report (referred to as Curriculum Matrix in the Curriculum tab). This frequently used report dynamically showed where the Queen’s Red Book Competencies were linked to Courses in MEdTech Central. We had a requirement come in to produce the same style of report for MCC Presentations, and that request was the catalyst for the creation of the new Curriculum Matrix tool. This new tool (accessible from the Curriculum tab) will allow the user to select any level of any objective set (Queen’s Red Book Objectives, MCC Presentations, etc) and see where exactly that objective, or objectives beneath it, are mapped in the curriculum.
Curriculum Matrix

4. Uploading Images or Documents, and Embedding Video

One of the most frequently requested features by faculty has been the ability to easily upload images or documents, and embed video into rich text areas throughout MEdTech Central.  With this release we are pleased to announce that you can now do this within any of the rich text areas. To upload images or documents you wish to share click the “Browse Server” button from within the “Image” or “Link” icons. This will open your personal “My Files” storage area where you can upload images or documents from your local computer. Once you upload the image or document, clicking it will embed the image or document directly in the rich text area. You can also embed video from the Queen’s Streaming Server, YouTube, or Vimeo into any rich text area by clicking the “Embed Media” icon, and pasting in the “Embed Code”.

CKEditor Screen + My Files

 

If you have any questions or would like to arrange a training session for MEdTech Central, please contact the Education Technology Unit at 613-533-6000 x74294.

Best Regards,
Matt Simpson

Manager, Education Technology
Faculty of Health Sciences,
Queen’s University
Abramsky Hall, Room 206
Kingston, Ontario
Canada, K7L 3N6

Phone:    613-533-6000 x78146
E-mail:    simpson@queensu.ca
Web:       https://healthsci.queensu.ca/technology
Twitter:   @m_simpson

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High-Tech Teaching

Incorporating technology into teaching should focus on providing high-quality learning experiences for students, not just adding the latest tech fad to your teaching toolbox.

That was one of the messages shared by Sidneyeve Matrix, PhD, keynote speaker at the 7th annual Celebration of Teaching, Learning and Scholarship in Health Sciences Education. Sponsored by the Office of Health Sciences Education, the theme of the one-day conference was “Learning Together: Relationships in Health Sciences Education.”

Sidneyeve Matrix
Sidneyeve Matrix

Matrix, a Queen’s National Scholar and Associate Professor with the Department of Film and Media, Faculty of Arts and Science, addressed the topic of High-Engagement and High-Tech Teaching and Learning Experiences, by Design.

Although most of today’s students have grown up with technology, they’re not all the tech experts some may expect. They have surface knowledge of technology they use, but not necessarily a broad range of skills. And while students may not have deep digital competencies, they expect faculty to have them, Matrix said.

The first step to enhancing teaching with technology is addressing the faculty tech-skills gap through faculty professional development, Matrix suggested. This, she acknowledged, may be easier said than done: the biggest barrier to tech adoption by both students and faculty is time.

So, why bother with educational technologies? The payoff in student learning has been studied: teaching with edtech and social media improves student outcomes by 10 percent. And what about the distraction factor? Another study Matrix cited revealed students with smartphones study 40 extra minutes per week versus those without them.

Choice abundance in online tools
Screenshot from Dr. Matrix’s presentation

Matrix advised faculty interested in incorporating more technology in their teaching to seek out innovators within their own departments and schools: approach these people to find out what’s worked for them and what hasn’t. She said blended learning teams should include ITS consultants, instructional designers and faculty peer mentors. Key messages: don’t go it alone and don’t think you have to reinvent the wheel.

And, she emphasized, focusing on students’ learning experiences—not the technology—is the key to success. Like all good teaching, teaching with technology should focus on excellence and engagement, not just adding in a tech tool or two – or 20.

While there’s “choice abundance” in online tools for teaching—Matrix pointed out there are over 2000, producing “choice fatigue”—too much technology can turn a good course into a “Frankencourse”, producing frustration for all concerned and lower student learning outcomes.

Incremental innovation silde
Screenshot from Dr. Matrix’s presentation

Matrix also advocates incremental innovation, pointing to her own Film240 Media and Culture course: its first iteration in 2007 had 75 students; by 2009 it had 500 students and a social media component. In 2011 she added a new online section, mobile app and webinars and boosted enrolment to 1000. The 2013 class had 1400 students, e-flashcards, podcasts, eBook, self-quizzes and lectures available on demand. Her point: she didn’t do it all in one term, or even one year.

One technology-assisted assignment Matrix showcased in her presentation was infographic digital posters, used as an alternative to a research essay assignment. These are shared via the course Learning Management System (LMS) for peer-to-peer inspiration and feedback. Students can use Piktochart to create their assignment.

These aren’t just pretty posters, but well-researched assignments presented in a visually-appealing, accessible way. “It’s visual storytelling with research narratives,” she said.

* * *

What’s your favourite tech teaching tool? Let us know what it is and why it works for you by sharing in the comments.

If you’re interested in tech teaching training, let us know what topics are of interest to you. We’ll incorporate these requests in our future UGME faculty development planning.

Find the full slidedeck from Dr. Matrix’s presentation here. You can find more  on trends in digital culture, communication and commerce, with emphasis on social, mobile, and educational technology at her Cyberpop! blog.

 

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Can first year medical students carry out cardiac ultrasound examinations? Recent graduates publish results of recent trial.

Two former Queen’s medical students, Thomas R. Cawthorn, MD and Curtis Nickel, MD, of the recently graduated class of Meds 2013 conducted ultrasound education research during their time as students at Queen’s School of Medicine.   They worked with Dr. Michael O’Reilly, Dr. Henry Kafka, and Dr.  Amer M. Johri, of Queen’s and Dr. James W. Tam, of Winnipeg.  Their results have been recently published in the Journal of the American Society of Echocardiography, in the article Development and Evaluation of Methodologies for Teaching Focused Cardiac Ultrasound Skills to Medical Students.

There are several noteworthy aspects about this:   One is that our students embarked on this research during their time at Queen’s UGME, and worked on medical education in echocardiography as their field.

Secondly, the Journal of the American Society of Echocardiography published an article on medical education.  It’s uplifting to see focus on education in medicine as well as continuing professional development and new issues in medicine in a scholarly medical journal.

Thirdly, the article outlines an excellent, innovative education program that the authors developed, using sound pedagogy to assist learning of a key skill in medical education.

And for me, their conclusion is most exciting:

Third-year medical students were able to acquire FCU image acquisition and interpretation skills after a novel training program.  Self-directed electronic modules are effective for teaching introductory FCU interpretation skills, while expert-guided training is important for developing scanning technique. (Cawthorne, et al, 302)

The authors emphasize the importance and benefits of teaching/learning via self-directed electronic modules:

  • reduction of overall resource costs
  • provision of readily available resource easily accessed by students for future reference
  • opportunity to learn at the pace and setting desired by the learner
  • provision of standardized educational material to centres where specialists may not be found (Cawthorne, et al.  307)

They cite Ruiz et al. (2006) for literature about the benefits of this type of learning.  Ruiz’ excellent article is worth a read as well. (See Sources below.)

The other telling aspect of their findings  is the importance of  “practical small-group instruction under the supervision of experienced sonographers and echocardiographers.”  They recommend that supervised simulation training be combined with practical instruction sessions on volunteer patients (Cawthorne et al,  308).

The key to Drs. Cawthorne’s and Nickel’s recommendations  is the combination of demonstration, practice, and feedback.  And educational literature emphasizes that these are key aspects of learning skills as well.  It’s also intuitive:  just think back to learning to play a sport.  These three facets of skills-based learning helped you learn that sport;  without one of them, you would have found the learning challenging.

Educational literature calls this  “deliberate practice” where the following are involved:

  • repetitive performance of intended cognitive or psychomotor skills in a focused domain, coupled with
  • rigorous skills assessment, that provides learners with
  • specific, informative feedback, that results in increasingly
  • better skills performance, in a controlled setting. (Issenberg et al, 2005)

What does that mean for teachers?  It means that despite the savings and other benefits of online learning, it’s important to pair that type of learning with practice and feedback from experts, especially in skills-based learning.  That has implications for us all–online, independent, self-regulated learning works best when there is an additional face-to-face demonstration, practice/feedback component, especially when new skills are being taught.  (I’ve written before about the importance of  feedback–without feedback, “it’s like learning archery in the dark.”)

So rather than saving wholly on faculty’s time by building online modules for student independent learning, what this suggests is that we use faculty in other ways. Not only do faculty lecture and facilitate group work, they are instrumental in providing feedback on skills, as happens in our Clinical and Communication Courses.  In clerkship this emphasis on independent learning complemented by practice and feedback becomes crucial.

Congratulations to our students for their hard work and success, and that of their mentors and colleagues as well!  Dr. Sanfilippo writes,

It’s rather remarkable for medical students to produce work that would be accepted for presentation at a national meeting, and then be published in the leading Canadian cardiovascular journal.  It’s also rather unique to see a study that combines cardiac and educational components.  This is quite a tribute to Tom and Curtis, and to Dr. Johri who mentored and guided them through the process.

Would you like to read the article (and accompanying editorial!) yourself?  Here is the link:

http://www.onlinejase.com/article/S0894-7317%2813%2900964-4/fulltext

References
Cawthorne, T.R., Nickel, C.  O’Reilly, M., Kafka, H., Tam, J. W., Jackson, L., Sanfilippo, A. J., Johri, A.M.  (2014).  Development and evaluation of methodologies for teaching focused cardiac ultrasound skills to medical students.  Journal of the American Society of Echocardiography, 27(3), 302-309.

Ruiz, et al.  (2006).  Impact of e-learning in medical education. Academic Medicine, 81, 207-212

Issenberg, B. et al. (2005).  Features and uses of high-fidelity medical simulations that lead to effective learning: A BEME systematic review:  BEME guide 4.  Medical Teacher, 27(1), 10-28.

 

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Pager service in the New Medical Building

When the New Medical Building was completed in 2011 it did not take long for physicians to notice that their pagers were not reliably receiving hospital pages while they were in the building. This was a big issue because it meant that if you were on-call neither your pager or your cell phone would work. Once this problem was brought to our attention, Queen’s IT Services worked with PageNet to install an amplifier that would boost the PageNet signal within the building, thus solving the problem… for PageNet customers. We later discovered that some physicians were using Alliance paging services and were still encountering pager reliability issues.

After a brief discussion with Alliance about the issue they came up with a solution for us to distribute, so we thought this blog would be a good way of letting folks know.

If you are an Alliance paging customer and you would like your pager to work while you are physically located in the New Medical Building please contact Rita Peters (Alliance paging specialist) at 613-546-1141. Rita will assist you with upgrading your Alliance pager to one that is compatible with the PageNet signal. There is a small monthly price increase associated with this upgrade; however, your pager will work in the New Medical Building with this plan.

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