The pedagogical focus(es) of the case study and its/their rationale(s):
This case study is centred on the teaching provided within practical anatomy and physiology workshops (taught by NW). These employ ‘hands-on’ tasks requiring students to work through clinical scenarios and use teaching resources such as anatomical specimens. Students then move into small group VERT workshops and learn practical skills and present their own case studies to their peers (supported by MH). Staff aims to make these sessions seamless and students are able to unite the academic components of the course to the practice based aspects of the curriculum. Students are encouraged to remain role-focussed throughout so that they are constantly supported on their journey towards practitioner-status at graduation.
Observation cycle 1 details:
This first cycle centred on an anatomy and physiology workshop session facilitated by Nick White and VERT-based support for student presentation design delivered by Mark Holland-
This session comprised of 5 stations with structured activities at each location (these included interpretation of CT scans, interpretation of medical images and calculations such as Body Mass Index). Students work as a group and are encouraged to discuss materials and provide help to their peers if needed. The facilitator’s role is to move between groups and provide additional guidance. This is done in a supportive and constructive manner and also enables a real-time assessment of understanding and knowledge to be made. Each of these workshops usually commences with a brief summary of the preceding classroom session in order to ensure that more traditional lectures articulate with these practical workshops in a meaningful way. Sessions are usually complete with a summary ‘wash-up’ to ensure students do not leave the sessions with unanswered questions or queries.
The VERT sessions were small group voluntary sessions that students could self-allocate to in order to work on the content and delivery of their forthcoming summative radiotherapy technique presentations.
Students were creating interactive slideshows on the VERT system to underpin and illustrate the content of their presentations. These were facilitated via peer support and discussion, coupled with advice and suggestions from the session facilitator (much of this related to using the system, almost like an “interactive user-manual”).
Although the facilitator interacts with the students in a constructive and supportive manner, it is key that they do not provide students with excessive guidance relating to their presentation content, therefore effectively “writing” the presentation on behalf of the student.
Implications of cycle 1 experience on learning and teaching for staff members:
- Continue to plan and innovate where possible! It’s clear from the interaction and enjoyment observed that students value ‘non-traditional’ forms of teaching and learning and engage well with practical and focussed activity-based learning. We believe that the ‘lecture’ still has its place but this is one of the many variety of strategies that can be used- students appreciate and value a ‘mixed-economy’.
- We have been validated in our attempt to try and get students to avoid ‘compartmentalising’ the curriculum. Personal and professional development of the students as they move towards qualified radiographer status is not a series of ‘chunked’ stages – we have enjoyed the process of encouraging students to learn applied theory (based on their own journey through clinical training) – this brings together all aspects of the curriculum – it’s all about the whole picture- not the individual pieces in the jigsaw puzzle.
- Both the workshop and the VERT sessions have confirmed our previous teaching and learning approaches in that we feel it’s important to really get to know our students- admittedly we can do this as we have relatively small class sizes. Our strength is identifying the abilities and talents of each student and to work with them as partners.