Tried and Tested Framework is Foundation for Online Learning during Lock-down

22 July 2020

On-line teaching and learning is not a new concept for the Medical School. It is something that the Technology Enhanced Learning and Teaching (TELT) team have been developing and refining since the team was created a few years ago.

The TELT team is responsible for designing and implementing digital education projects and managing the School’s digital technologies. Under normal circumstances, each project can take months of design, planning and preparation. Some of the solutions the team has delivered include the creation of clinical skills physical examination videos embedded within interactive eLearning technologies (KuraCloud/Lt); the implementation of a learning content management system; and the redesign of the learning management system (Wattle).

When the COVID-19 pandemic required a rapid move to total online learning for students – an ‘emergency remote teaching’ response was required. The TELT team had to utilise creative problem solving, collaborate quickly with educators, professional staff and students, and consider how to repurpose existing technology, to swiftly deliver face-to-face content, virtually.

Associate Professor Alexandra Webb, Medical Education Unit, TELT lead explains “The investment the Medical School has made in technology enhanced learning (TEL) in the last few years aided our transition to emergency remote online learning during the COVID crisis.”

“The TELT Framework (see diagram below), implemented a few years ago, provides a flexible model for teachers to incorporate evidence-based medical education and principles of the science of learning, supported by technology. It accommodates non-technology and technology-based educational solutions. Teachers are encouraged to adopt the step(s) relevant to their educational context. It helps them reflect on their learning outcomes, delivery and assessment to ensure constructive alignment within the integrated Doctor of Medicine and Surgery (MChD) curriculum.”

As a result of this framework, many disciplines within the Medical School had developed online resources to support face-to-face (F2F) teaching and learning. And academics and students were already familiar with using many of the technologies before the pandemic.

The major challenge of the emergency remote learning response was devising a way to deliver F2F sessions, in an engaging online format.

The TELT team were able to utilise many of the interactive learning tools they use for F2F teaching and translate them to online delivery. But, there were challenges. For example, replicating specialised anatomy resources and clinical skills is far more difficult in the online space. However, academics and professional staff devised creative solutions including the use of virtual 3D anatomical models that can be manipulated online, and online history-taking between students, simulated patients and tutors.

 “The disruption caused by COVID has provided us with an opportunity to re-examine how and why we do things, keeping in mind that we should always consider pedagogy first, technology second!” shares A/Professor Webb.

“We are passionate about promoting the scholarship of teaching and learning at the Medical School and sharing the resources we develop with the wider health professions community. A couple of years ago we initiated a project to realise this. The project has taken a back-seat during the COVID interruption but the team now has the capacity to continue this project. We look forward to sharing this online resource soon and working with our colleagues to promote their fantastic TELT achievements at the Medical School.”

TELT Team:

  • Associate Professor Alexandra Webb - Medical Education Unit, TELT lead
  • Dr Katharina (Katie) Freund – TELT Manager (maternity leave)
  • Ms Katherine Esteves - Learning Designer (Acting TELT Manager)
  • Ms Thao Tran – Learning Technologist (maternity leave)
  • Ms Vinuri Wijedasa - Learning Designer (fractional back-fill for K. Esteves)
  • Ms Jen Xiang - Learning Designer (fractional back-fill for K.Esteves
  • Mr Dale Newbery – Learning Technologist (fractional back-fill for T. Tran)