Considerable planning, effort and modifications have gone into designing MEDI206 – Professional Practice 2, which is running for its second offering in S2 2017.
The second of 3 professional practice units in the Bachelor of Clinical Science program at Macquarie, MEDI206 was designed from the start to be a ‘flipped’ unit. The first iteration in 2016, however, included more contact with students than their general flipped model – to enable teaching staff to gauge student reactions to content. Only then could the material be prioritised for face to face delivery Vs online learning in future offerings. Harder topics are allocated more face to face time.
One of the major challenges identified by unit convenors Dr Emily Don, Stream Leader and Dr Sarah White was engaging students in the online environment. They make use of structured forums in iLearn, asking students to not only follow and contribute, but also even fostering some competition between student groups to further enhance engagement.
Students of MEDI206 work in small, interactive groups. By searching the iLearn Quick Guides, Emily discovered how students can self-assign into groups rather than having to manually assign groups – which saved her a lot of time!
The complexity of having 5 tutors running classes has also been solved with the help of iLearn – in a private tutors forum. This is an iLearn forum where tutors can seek clarification from each other, as well as the unit convenors. In addition to enabling quick responses by whoever sees a question first, information discussed on the 2016 forum was used to update the 2017 unit delivery.
Weekly release of notes for tutors in the tutors forum (hidden from students of course) ensure all tutors are prepping from the same version of materials.
Another clever use of iLearn to support students in this unit is the page ‘A week in the life of a MEDI206 student’, which not only describes what students should expect from the unit, but how the unit fits into the overall topics covered in the session by other units in the program.
The main key to success emphasised by both Emily and Sarah is the cooperation between academics, teaching staff and faculty learning and teaching staff. They could not have created and run this unit independently. The process they have undertaken to get to this point has involved responding in an agile way to feedback, and embracing a sense of cooperation. iLearn is obviously an integral tool that enables the two way transfer of information between students and staff.