Publication – Exploring 3D Anatomy

We are delighted to share that our colleagues Leonard Shapiro, Iain Keenan and student Ella Hobbs have had their work on Haptic Surface Painting (HSP) published.

The paper, titled Transforming musculoskeletal anatomy learning with haptic surface painting , was featured as the cover story for the July/August edition of Anatomical Sciences Education, showing the technique in action.

The paper describes the development and evaluation of haptic surface painting (HSP), a novel body painting approach that has been designed to support learner exploration and observation of anatomy. HSP involves the use of touch, sight, and food colouring to locate and paint the positions of muscles, tendons, ligaments, and bones directly on to the skin. Having used HSP, medical students identified that the approach was accessible, flexible, and empowering, and provided positive impacts on their three-dimensional spatial awareness and cognitive freedom when studying clinically relevant anatomical concepts.

As part of work on the Exploring 3D Anatomy MOOC, brought to life with help from FMS TEL, Iain and Leonard have also developed this as an asynchronous workshop that students can follow at home with video guidance. This, alongside other Exploring 3D Anatomy exercises are available as a free course to a wider audience.

Collaborative Documents in Canvas

Some group tasks are easier to complete using Word/Excel/PowerPoint. The easiest way I have found to share the files with students is to create a folder in SharePoint and provide a link to the folder in Canvas.

group activity. each group has a document. one link to access folder on onedrive
Task while the module is running

At the end of the academic year, I find its best practice to upload the completed documents and remove the link to SharePoint.

group activity showing links to 7 group documents
Task after module is complete

Benefits

  • Files are not lost, should a member of staff leave the University
  • The SharePoint files can be rolled back to a previous version and reused
  • The link in the original task can be used year after year
  • Files can no longer be edited by past students

Negatives

  • Can be time consuming if you have a lot of group activity files to upload

Taking Ctrl: Reopen a tab in Chrome

The Problem

We’ve all been there.
That tab that we had open ten minutes ago has just disappeared!
Luckily, theres a solution for that.

The Solution

Pressing Ctrl + Shift + T (Command + Shift + T on a mac) will reopen crashed or closed Chrome tabs.
You can repeat this shortcut until it runs out of tabs and closed windows to restore from your history.


Enjoy this post? Check out the others in our Taking Ctrl series.

Welcoming our new team member

Last month we welcomed Nick Jensen to the FMS TEL team, as Senior Digital Skills Demonstrator.

Nick has joined the FMS TEL team to cover the role of Senior Demonstrator. Nick is co-ordinating a group of PGRs who assume the role of Digital Skills Demonstrators. As part of the wider remit of the department he delivers our digital skills provision, teaching students digital skills and techniques.

Nick brings insider knowledge with him, having previously been a Digital Skills Demonstrator himself for a four-year period from 2019 to 2023.

Using a problem based approach to help students help themselves, Nick and our team offer digital capabilities instruction in sessions that both directly and indirectly support student work (from undergraduate course assignments to PhD theses). We offer more than 100 sessions, serving over 2000 students each year. We deliver sessions both on campus and online.

“Having worked with the FMS TEL Digital Skills team for more than 4 years, applying to the Senior Demonstrator role was the perfect progression. I have previous managerial experience in the Further Education sector, and with my long-term career goals of procuring an academic support role in Higher Education, this role seemed like a logical next step. Since commencing the role some highlights have been running a staff training session for new and returning demonstrators, being involved with a Senior colleague in their interviewing processes and getting to put my own stamp on the teaching resources through re-vamping the content.”

Nick Jensen

We are excited to have Nick with us on the team.

Introducing Cameo for PowerPoint

FMS TEL have been checking out an exciting new PowerPoint feature from Microsoft. It allows you to put your live video feed on a PowerPoint slide. You can add transitions and other effects to it, just as you can to other objects.

Check out this video for more information:

More details can be found on the Microsoft 365 Insider Blog website.

Preparing for a new term

The FMS TEL Team work with schools across the faculty to maintain and improve our E-Learning offerings. At the moment, this is around 40 modules.

Join us in this blog post for a behind the scenes peek in our last minute checks before publishing the new courses for September 2023.


What have we already done?

During the summer we imported last years content, updated the timetables, and refreshed any padlets or wiki pages. We review the student feedback received from the previous year, and see if there are any quick wins we can do, or any larger problems which are being mentioned multiple times or have been mentioned over multiple years. Suggestions are made to our Module Leaders and agreed improvements are actioned. These will usually consist of activity revamps, updating outdated information, and excessive reading materials replaced with graphics or videos.


The final checks

Our last minute checks will always consist of:

Run the Link Validator 

found 2 broken links, home page, students may not be able to access these links
Example of Link Validation results

What: The Link Validator will find any broken links within your content. It will display a list of the page/discussion/assignment where the broken link is located and what the broken content is, as well as how it is broken.

Where: Settings > Validate links in content > Start link validation

How: We review every broken link. Sometimes an external website may have changed their website layout so a new path is required. Other times a resource might not longer be available and an alternative source will need to be found. We go through the list, fixing what we can and send a list of any unfixable links to our Module Leaders to review.

Learn more in this Canvas Guide: How do I validate links in a course?

Check course accessibility 

preview of ally checks showing 99%
Example of Accessibility Report

What: Canvas has an integrated Accessibility Report using Ally that will check all content; including documents, images and HTML content. The University has no baseline score, however it is highly recommended that your course is as accessible as possible. For E-learning courses in FMS we aim for a score of at least 95%.

Where: Canvas course > Accessibility Report (side menu)

How: The majority of improvements are easy to make and Ally takes you through the process step by step. Most of the time it will be tagging PDF documents, adding alt text to images or editing images that are over exposed (usually screenshots). We start with the red items and move onto the amber items. It is usually a case of following the on screen instructions. We have a walkthrough document available on the FMS Community as well as a few other posts on Accessibility.

Learn more on the LTDS Digital Technologies website: Ally for Canvas

Create Groups and Journals 

students group patient 1 6 students patient 2 7 students
Example of groups in Canvas

What: On larger modules we tend to put students into groups for certain tasks. We find this helps with engagement, there is nothing worse than joining a task late and finding it already completed. Group tasks are also a great way to distribute workload and encourage teamwork. Some tasks also require privacy or independent thinking, for those tasks journals are a great addition.

Where: Canvas > People > +Group Set

How: Using the groups function in Canvas you can create custom groups, automatically assign groups or create journals by creating a group set with a size of 1. We will start assigning groups once students are added to canvas in the first week in September and then do daily checks for new arrivals every couple of days for the first few weeks of term. I also add a little message to the main board on my group activities asking students to get in touch if they haven’t been assigned to a group/journal yet.

discussion message asking to email for allocation
Example message on group discussion board

Learn more in this Discussion Board video series we created or in these canvas guides: Instructor Guides for Groups

Prerequisites and Requirements  

showing settings for lock until, pre req of previous module, requirements on all pages
Example of settings within Canvas

What: There are various ways to organise the flow of your courses. Adding requirements to your content creates a little tick box next to each item, so students can easily pick up where they left off. Using requirements also allows us to add prerequisites, which control when students can move on. They may have to contribute to a discussion board, or pass a test before moving on. We can also control the date and time certain content is made available.

Where: Modules > 3 dot menu > Edit

How: Most modules will have a lock until date, so content is released gradually. All modules include requirements on every page but they will vary from module to module. Some will just be “view” for everything so students can see where they are up to, other modules require students to complete certain tasks to get their tick. A few modules will use the prerequisite option to stop student continuing until they have completed certain tasks.

compete all items bar at the top, each item states view or contribute, various items ticked
Student View of requirements and prerequisites

Learn more in these canvas guides: Prerequisites and Requirements


We hope this little insight into our practice was interesting. Good luck for 2023!

Taking Ctrl: Arrange Windows

The Problem

When working on one screen it can be quite fiddly to view windows side by side.

The Solution

A quick way to manage how windows are arranged on screen is to use the Windows key + the directional arrows (the ones on the number pad work too).

Windows + left/right will move your current window to that side of the screen. Keep tapping the direction arrow to move it across further, or to the next monitor along in a multi-monitor setup.

Windows + up makes your current window full screen, while Windows + down will stop it being full screen.


Enjoy this post? Check out the others in our Taking Ctrl series.

GigXR

FMS TEL recently attended a presentation on a mixed reality platform called GigXR, a clinical simulation platform with a number of apps, including HoloScenarios and HoloHuman.

The target audience is mainly medical education courses at the moment.

This technology aims to:

  • create a consistency of experience for all students
  • provide repetitive training in a safe-fail environment
  • reach rural learners
  • reduce instructor time

How it works

A headset is connected wirelessly to a computer which generates a hologram of a patient into the room through the headset. There is equipment nearby, such as oxygen masks and blood pressure cuffs. You can interact with items and use them on the patient.

You are able to insert your own 3D digital objects into the software. For example, if you have created a 3D image of a heart from CT scans. GigXR can create a holographic version which you can view through the headset.

Conversational AI is being integrated, so you can talk to the patient and ask questions. Currently this is in text format using ChatGPT, but developments are being made and hopefully soon you will be able to actually speak to the patient.

For more information, see the Gig XR website

Adding Audio to pdf Documents

During the recent Teaching and Learning Conference, prompted by Michelle Miller’s poster on Adobe Acrobat, we were asked if it was possible to add audio to a pdf document. Here’s how to do it:

Add Audio in Adobe Acrobat Reader

  • Click on Comments
  • Click on the attachments icon
  • Select Record Audio
  • Click the cursor where you want the audio to appear. A Sounder Recorder prompt will appear.
  • You now have two options:
    • record directly into acrobat
    • browse for an existing file

Record audio comments directly into Acrobat

  • Click the Record button and speak into your microphone. Click the Stop button when you have finished.
  • Click OK to add the recorded audio
  • Select your preferred icon and colour, then click OK

Embed an existing audio file

  • Click the Browse button
  • Navigate to your existing audio file
  • Click Open
  • Click OK to add the audio file
  • Select your preferred icon and colour, then click OK

Note: this only supports uncompressed WAV and AIFF files.

Giving new life to an old presentation: A Module Revamp Case Study

The Situation

Have you ever heard students complain about a particular topic? Module Leaders for our Chemotherapy Nurse Training module often come across such complaints for their Cell Cycle topic. As the issue was becoming a perennial problem, we decided to thoroughly review the topic that was causing frustration among our students. This blog post shares our project and the transformative impact it had on our students’ perception and understanding of the once-hated topic.

Revamping the Content

We started with the learning objectives for the topic. Using Blooms Verb Wheel as a guide we changed the wording so the objectives would be measurable, and therefore the students could better understand what was expected of them. We removed words such as “understand” and replaced them with “describe”.

Next we reviewed the flow of the topic. We started with a text heavy page with stock images covering; cell basics, cancer, chemotherapy, and ending with the phases of the cell cycle. This page was edited, removing over 100 words, and rearranged so we covered; normal cells and their cycles, then moved onto cancer and chemotherapy. The stock images were converted into animated infographics that were tailor made for the content being discussed.

The biggest change was with the asynchronous lecture. The audio was good quality and the messages were still relevant, however the lecture slides were text heavy and had an outdated look.

blue slide with lots of yellow text
Original slide: What is the cell cycle
another blue slide with yellow text in bullet points
Original slide: This is good news, but…

The slides were given a facelift and where possible, animations were used to replace the text. We hoped the animations would assist the students in visualising the processes being described by the voiceover.

slide showing cells splitting
Updated slide: what is the cell cycle
slide showing checkpoints disappearing and slides duplicating with errors
Updated slide: This is good news, but…

Next the students had two tasks to complete. One was to answer some basic questions, and the other was to put their knowledge into action within a group activity. We spruced up the tasks visually, but didn’t make any other changes to them.

We chose to add a “check your knowledge” type quiz, using H5P, at the end of the topic. The questions directly linked to the learning outcomes and we hoped would help the students confidence with the topic.

view of quiz starting page

Student feedback (before):

Found the cell cycle topic very difficult to understand.

I am dreading the cell cycle topic

Student feedback (after):

The topic I have enjoyed most was topic 3 (The cell cycle) 

I have particularly enjoyed topics 3 – going further in depth into the cell cycle and pharmacology of the drugs we use has been really useful  

I quite enjoyed the cell cycle section…I enjoy the lightbulb moments I’ve had understanding how everything links together. 

Final Thoughts

The module team is thrilled with the amazing transformation we witnessed. Our goal was to address the complaints and make things better for the students. But we ended up surpassing our own expectations. The topic that used to be dreaded by the students has now become one of their favourites. The positive feedback from the students has made us proud and motivated us to continue on our journey for improvement. It’s really amazing to see such a big change in how they feel about the subject, with only a few tweaks in how the content was delivered.