Zooming our way through pandemic remote teaching
On March 23 – coincidentally immediately after our students’ March Break – Queen’s UGME moved its classroom-based teaching to all remote learning to comply with social-distancing measures put in place as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic..
This also coincided with the majority of faculty, and administrative and support staff moving to working from home, except for those deemed essential to university operations.
By the end of May, we’d conducted close to 250 learning events via Zoom that would have ordinarily been taught in our classrooms by dozens of faculty members. The Meds Video Conferencing (MedsVC) team, led by Peter MacNeil were instrumental in making this possible, providing technical support for every learning event.
Lectures were recorded to accommodate students who found themselves in different time zones (many having travelled home for March Break and subsequently stayed there rather than engage in unnecessary travel) and those with family responsibilities, for example.
Instructors faced the same challenges most have read about regarding online conferencing. As Dr. Jenna Healey, Chair in the History of Medicine, describes: “Technical issues, navigating the software, making sure there were no interruptions on my end—like my very loud cat meowing!”
Faculty sought creative solutions to previously-scheduled in-class sessions. For example, in MEDS 246 Psychiatry, there were two expanded clinical skills sessions scheduled which each included a Standardized Patient actor (SP) to help demonstrate aspects of psychiatric interviews. Course Director Dr. Nishardi Wijeratne led both sessions – the first before the switch to remote delivery and the second one via Zoom. Each session was 50 minutes.
“Having taught both at the SOM and fully zoom, I did not find a significant difference between the two as a teacher,” Dr. Wijeratne says. “Given that my clinical practice as psychiatrist has moved to mostly virtual care right now, the Zoom version actually felt closer to my daily clinical practice right now.”
She noted three aspects that helped greatly with the session:
- MedVC staff to help with tech issues
- Connecting with the SP about 10 minutes before the session to discuss goals and structure
- Assigning tasks to the students ahead of the session to maintain engagement thoughout the 50-minute classes. Students observed the psychiatric interviews and documented mental status, identified risk factors, and considered possible differential diagnoses.
In addition to his own teaching, MEDS122 Pediatrics Course Director Peter MacPherson pitched in with a solution to a Clinical Skills session – about half the class missed their opportunity to complete a toddler observation session because of the pandemic restrictions.
“Usually, the medical students get down on the floor and play with a toddler while they infer the child’s real age based on their developmental achievements,” he explains. “We were able to cover the same curricular objectives remotely. The students were able to observe and interact with my toddler via Zoom in his ‘natural environment’ (aka our playroom) and do a similar assessment.
“It was a lot of fun to teach while playing dress up with my child!”
One part of the classroom experience that’s more challenging to achieve remotely is direct interaction with students as a class. “In particular, it is rather difficult to judge the level of understanding of the class,” MEDS245 Neurosciences Course Director Stuart Reid notes. “It cannot provide the personal contact that comes with in real life interaction.”
“On the other hand, it has been an invigorating challenge. We introduced more online learning modules and sought creative approaches to making distance learning both active and interactive,” he adds. One such creative approach was a “Jeopardy” style game in place of a hands-on expanded clinical skills session. It didn’t replicate the face-to-face session, but it actively engaged students in the session.
Dr. Healey echoes Dr. Reid’s comments about missing that face-to-face factor. “I very much miss interacting with my students in class. As an instructor, what I have found most challenging is not being able to see student’s faces. I didn’t realize how much I relied on non-verbal communication to adjust my pacing or gauge the level of student’s interest or understanding.”
Dr. Healey started encouraging students to use the Zoom “raise hand” function more often in her classes. “I want students to feel comfortable interrupting me if they have questions or comments.”
Dr. Reid speaks for all of us at UG when he notes that the students were a key factor in the success of our remote curriculum delivery: “They have been patient, accommodating, and enthusiastic enablers of our altered circumstances. Many thanks to them!”
At the end of the semester, the Education Team conducted several focus groups with Year 1 and Year 2 students to get additional feedback on what worked well, what didn’t, and suggestions for improving this type of remote learning. This, combined with the course evaluations (which included additional questions about the new required remote learning activities) will be used to inform teaching decisions in the coming academic year, as the COVID-19 pandemic situation continues to evolve.
Use the microphones, and other audio advice
Microphones can be intimidating to use and sometimes we think we don’t need to use them. (Especially those of us who have developed a “teacher voice” over the years). However, using the microphones available in the School of Medicine Building’s large teaching theatres (032 and 132) is essential to provide an optimal learning experience for all, especially those who may be using Assisted Listening Devices (ALDs), catching up with captured lectures, or video-conferencing in using Zoom.
These teaching spaces were actually designed to limit sound travel, so the microphones become essential equipment. “The theatres were designed to be like a recording studio, which means there’s minimum audio transfer throughout the room,” Jason Palmer, Classroom Technology and Media Coordinator* explained.
The building materials were selected with this minimal audio transfer in mind. It’s accomplished through acoustic panels in the ceiling and the wall paneling around the room.
“It isn’t actually wood, it’s an acoustic material. If you look at the wood up close, you’ll see microlaser perforations through the wood and if you look at the backside, it looks like a half-inch thick slice of pegboard MDF, but there’s a one milimetre skin of walnut over the top of the whole thing, with these perforations,” he pointed out.
Behind the paneling itself are two other sound dampening materials as well as insulators. One reason for these design choices was to ensure that when up to 16 small groups of 7-8 people were talking to work on cases (for example) that the noise level in the room “would not be outrageous.”
“If you had a room that was very echo-y, like a standard room with standard drywall, you would create a cacophony pretty quickly. It would be untenable because the first group starts talking, the second group has to talk a little louder to be heard over the first group, to the point that it would just be a chaotic sound,” he said.
“A lot of traditional old-school classrooms were like that, because they built them out of concrete walls, and they didn’t really think about [noise] or if anyone was talking other than the lecturer – and that was the point. We’ve changed the teaching model, to use this group learning methodology, and because of that, they had to make a lot of considerations for audio.”
The rooms were also designed to act as recording studios to facilitate lecture capture and broadcasting of learning events through technology such as Zoom meeting. For these recordings, the audio is taken from a direct feed from the microphone system, rather than recording the room at large.
There are three different types of microphones used the theatres, two for presenters and one for students/audience members.
Each theatre has a lavalier lapel microphone and a handheld one. The most often used by instructors is the lavalier mic.
The quickest way to remember where to clip the lavalier microphone is to put the microphone dead centre under your chin, Palmer said. “It means wearing things like button down shirts and ties to make it really easy. Wearing things like t-shirts and solid front shirts makes it more difficult.”
A lanyard cord or strap from a passport pouch can also work. (Thank you, Dr. Sue Moffatt for this advice!) It’s helpful helpful to have either a pocket or a waistband/belt to clip the unit to, or if you’re using a passport pouch, the unit can go there.
“The reason you want it dead centre, is because a microphone is a cone, at 45 degrees. If I turn my head to either side and it’s dead centre, the microphone will still always pick me up. If I put the microphone off to the side, as soon as I turn to the other side, I’m gone.”
Some instructors prefer the hand-held microphones and these are also used for panel presentations. (There are now an additional four handheld mics available in 132 specifically for panel presentations).
When using the handheld microphone, the advice is to almost rest it on your chin and talk at a normal volume.
“The reason you almost rest it on your chin, is a microphone is really a very heavy thing. It doesn’t seem like it at first, but after an hour of teaching… the microphone starts to slowly lower down to your belly button.”
For both the lavalier and hand-held microphones, “red means stop, green means go,” Palmer said. “When you first turn it on it’s still red because it hasn’t synchronized to the receiver– this takes a bit less than two seconds. Turn it on, wait for the green, then start talking.”
Palmer does caution that a microphone isn’t a miracle worker. “If you are someone who is naturally soft-spoken at all times, a microphone won’t instantly make you louder. Contrary to what people believe a microphone is for. It’s not for amplification, it’s for sound for sound reinforcement.”
“What I tell people: When you pick up a microphone, you are talking at a dinner party to five friends, you’re not talking one-on-one to your friend. You’re also not talking at a Starbucks where it requires a lot more volume. You just need to elevate slightly – don’t yell, but at the same time, don’t talk really quietly.”
The microphones are equipped with AGC (automatic gain control) if you talk too loud and risk feedback and ‘brains’ in the microphone scale you back – so don’t worry, he added.
Do not blow into a microphone, as this can damage the equipment. “If you want to see if it’s on talk, or lightly tap it,” he advised.
The student desk microphones are activated from the main console by ensuring the “push-to-talk” mode is selected. (This is typically done by one of the technical staff first thing in the morning). Similar to the other microphones, there a one or two second delay from pushing to the microphone working. When the button is pressed, it flashes three times red, then stays on steady: at that point, it’s on. Push the button again to disengage. (It’s also automatically disengaged when another student microphone is pressed.)
The last thing he’d like students to remember about their table-top microphone system is that the mics are vulnerable to drink spills.
“All their drinks should have a lid. We don’t want to damage the microphones. Inside a microphone is a very complex arrangement of copper wire over a very thin membrane in order to facilitate sound,” he said.
Whenever there is a problem with a microphone or a button, please let the tech team know so they can fix them as soon as possible. For now, use the email@example.com email – there is a ticket system coming.
* * *
Still, some people insist they’re loud enough to go without the tech. Palmer, who has been working in these theatres since the building opened in 2011, disagrees.
“We have ONE presenter who is, absolutely, loud enough to present in that room without a microphone. That person also did Shakespeare at Stratford – has projection! I heard them through the glass [of the audio booth] as if they were standing next to me,” he said. But even that person needs to use the microphone, he added. Palmer cites three main reasons for everyone to always use the microphone systems:
1 Individuals with hearing difficulties may have problems hearing even someone who is projecting well, due to clarity, reverberation, and other ambient interference. “You want as much clarity as possible,” he said. Plus, the microphones feed directly to the Assisted Listening Devices (ALDs) that are available for use in both theatres. “It’s a ‘direct drop’ from the matrix, so it’s the cleanest line feed you can possibly get.” (I tried one out in the basement lobby outside 032 while a class was going on, and the feed even outside the classroom was excellent).
There are four ALDs for each theatre. These can be signed out from the tech booth at the back. Students can just ask at the booth, or email ahead of time if they prefer (firstname.lastname@example.org). It takes moments to set up and with fresh batteries (provided) they’re good for eight hours. Each ALD has a sanitizable hearing cup that covers one ear.
There is also a portable Assisted Listening System (ALS) available if needed in another teaching space. It includes a microphone the instructor wears that feeds directly to the student’s system. The ALS has one transmitter and eight listener units. To arrange to use the ALS, email email@example.com.
Palmer wants to make sure students aren’t hesitant to use the devices if they need them. “We always have a technician in the back room, so it’s always available.”
2 The microphone provides a direct feed for recordings for lecture capture – for both instructors and students. “It’s an opt-in system with lecturers, but just so people get in the habit of using the microphones. We need the students’ questions recorded, as well, because dead air and then an answer is not effective.”
3 “We are capable of doing Zoom video conferencing in each of the lecture theatres and without the microphones, people at the other site wouldn’t hear. We generally want everyone to have the same experience, plus, we really want that clean audio in that Zoom meeting.”
A fourth great reason to use microphones whenever they are available (not only in 032 and 132) is this helps to make our teaching spaces more accessible to all users — a requirement of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA).
* He says he also answers to “Tech Guy”, “Computer Guy”, and “Guy in the Booth”.
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:
- 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.
- 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?
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Théberge v. Galerie d’Art du Petit Champlain inc.,  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.
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:
- Log into MEdTech Central.
- Click on “My Profile” in the top right, near the picture box.
- Hover your mouse over the picture box, and click “Upload Photo”.
- “Browse” for your photo on your computer, then click “Upload”.
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 email@example.com.
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.
We 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:
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Now is the time to plan for the Winter Term!
On behalf of the entire Bracken Library staff, please accept my best wishes for the holiday season and for a healthy and productive 2015.
WHAT’s NEW in the world of Learning Technologies ?
I recently had the opportunity to attend the DevLearn 2014 Conference.
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:
To download the free version visit windows marketplace
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
Audacity – great tool to record and edit sound. To download the free version visit http://audacity.sourceforge.net/download/
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/
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/
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.7–zip.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: email@example.com
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
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.
The 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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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
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.
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”.
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.
Manager, Education Technology
Faculty of Health Sciences,
Abramsky Hall, Room 206
Canada, K7L 3N6
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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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.
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:
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.