Background and aims (brief recap)
The Department of Applied Health Research (DAHR) is responsible for providing teaching on population screening to ~400 year 4 UCL MBBS students annually. Screening is a public health service which seeks to identify individuals who may be at risk of a range conditions, such as breast, cervical or colorectal cancer. We have traditionally delivered this material as face-to-face lectures, followed by small-group interactive sessions (n~35). In their feedback in 2012/13, several students suggested that the lecture material might be better delivered via a self-study module.
In response to this, we sought to redesign the teaching session for the 2013/14 academic year. We sought to create an online resource to replace the lecture to:
- give students greater flexibility in how and when they access the course
- make the teaching more student-centred and interactive
- give greater relevance to students’ future medical practice
- provide students with a revision resource to refer back to when needed
- enable students to assess/develop their own learning.
What did we create?
We created a Moodle site, with:
- short lecture casts
- embedded video clips
- practice multiple choice questions (MCQs)
- links to relevant external resources
Students received access to the online resource two weeks before their timetabled teaching sessions in February 2014. They also received an email reminder one day beforehand, but otherwise were free to use the resource at a time and pace that suited them. On the first page of the site, we provided a link to a ‘diagnostic’ quiz – five MCQs which enabled students to assess their existing level of knowledge and identify gaps. The tabbed page layout of Moodle then enabled students to identify materials to address their personal learning needs.
How were students involved?
- Recently graduated junior doctors (throughout, n=3): the doctors were essential in informing the site’s shape and structure. They also contributed to several parts of the site and conducted key parts of the evaluation and consultation
- Video interview project with Year 6 MBBS students (September 2013, n=2): students on a Peer-Assisted Learning Module created a learning resource comprising a series of videos with doctors on the relevance of screening to their careers. They edited the videos and we uploaded them using YouTube to the Moodle site
- Focus groups with Years 5 and 6 MBBS students (October 2013, n=6): to understand more about the way in which they learn and the teaching methods they find best motivates them to learn and to obtain feedback on the resource in development
- Pilot with Years 5 and 6 MBBS students (December 2013/Jan 2014): to obtain feedback on the site in its final stages and pick up errors/glitches in functionality
- Feedback (n~148): all students that used the online resource and attended face to face teaching were invited to give feedback.
Did we “turn our vision into reality”?
We think so! We presented some interim finding to UCL’s Teaching and Learning Conference on 3 April 2014 [slides]
Did students use the module? ~70% of students accessed the module before the face to face teaching. We did need to send reminders though – when we didn’t, uptake was much lower.
Was it acceptable as a way of learning? Generally student feedback was more positive than last year’s lecture.
Was it an effective way of learning?? In terms of exam performance, we don’t know yet – we will look at student exam performance later in the year.
The UCL e-learning development grant was essential to us in doing this project in two major ways:
- It enabled us to work with undergraduate or postgraduate students at all stages of the project, in a range of different ways.
- It also gave us access to really useful advice and guidance on developing a Moodle site and on evaluating our project.
Reflections in the different software we used to develop the module: Hits and misses
Video editing software:
YouTube: great for simple edits, our “go to” place for uploading films onto Moodle. Note – it didn’t suit everyone: ”I have just spent an hour wrestling with various bits of editing software, including YouTube, to clip the first few seconds and have to admit defeat – they’ve totally outfoxed me!” (Tutor)
Serif MoviePlus (Starter and Full editions): this programme was recommended to me. There is a free version but ended up buying the full version to convert some videos into formats compatible with what we needed. It took a while to learn and I remain slow on it, but I like its flexibility and capacity to do pretty much everything I think I will need to do in relation to video editing in the future.
Screen capture software to create LectureCasts
Debut: it was very straightforward to create videos and upload them to YouTube. Sadly once trial period lapsed, we had to move onto something else.
Jing: One is limited to only 5 minutes but this was long enough for most of the LectureCasts we did. Creating videos was very straightforward
Camstudio: It was highly recommended but it crashed loads of times and I didn’t find it helpful to use at all.
Moodle analytics, to monitor site use
range and detail of data on student use: we could see students’ practice questions responses, when students accessed the module, which parts and for how long. All this was really useful to identify where tutors needed to focus on in face to face sessions and which parts of the module seemed most useful to students.
data analysis: we found it extremely laborious to extract data from Moodle on module use. In some cases (eg test results) we could download spreadsheets from Moodle but for things like when students accessed the module, this involved for us lots of cutting and pasting from pages on moodle. Has anyone figured out a less tine intensive way of doing this?
Jessica Sheringham Senior Research Associate, Dept Applied Health Research
ELDG report: 29 April 2014