Tackling opioid prescribing for treating pain in people with cancer

Despite being commonly prescribed, opioids account for more reported drug errors than any other high-risk medication (Alanazi et al, 2016). They represent a significant patient safety and public health issue.

A new free online course from Newcastle University will help healthcare professionals increase their knowledge of the basic pharmacology of opioids so they are better able to prescribe opioids safely and effectively in the treatment of cancer-related pain.

Opioid Analgesics: Treating Pain in People with Cancerstarts on 29 July and is designed to  increase safe prescribing and monitoring practice for this patient group. This three week course covers the pharmacology of opioids, principles for safe prescribing, the rationale for prescribing opioids to treat cancer pain and the proactive management of  adverse events.

This course is for qualified healthcare professionals who prescribe opioid drugs and/or care for patients who are taking opioids anywhere in the world. It will be of particular use to general practitioners, palliative care specialists, acute hospital practitioners (surgical and medical disciplines), pharmacists and those with an interest in pain management, including medical and non-medical prescribers and those professionals involved in monitoring and supervision of opioid prescribing.

Dr Victoria Hewitt
Dr Victoria Hewitt
Photo of Dr Paul Coulter
Dr Paul Coulter

Opioid Analgesics: Treating Pain in People with Cancer is led by Dr Victoria Hewitt and Dr Paul Coulter. Vicky is a Specialist Palliative Care Physician and Curriculum Director for Masters programmes in Oncology and Palliative Care at Newcastle University, and has a special interest in safe medicines management at end of life. She has been blogging about the course here. Paul is a Consultant in Palliative Medicine, based at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Gateshead.

“I believe strongly that we have a moral obligation to use open courses to widen access to medical education and improve patient outcomes.   Lack of education for prescribers has been recognised as contributing to the so-called “opioid crisis” and was highlighted by the Gosport War Memorial inquiry.  Despite this, few courses about opioids are currently available outside the field of specialist addiction services.

This MOOC has been designed to address this unmet educational need and expands Newcastle Unversity’s profile within the global cancer and palliative care communities, positioning it as a key influencer of national and international opioid-prescribing agendas”. Dr Victoria Hewitt

Sign up now at: www.futurelearn.com/courses/opioid-analgesics

NUTELA Small Grants Fund: Short videos as an additional learning resource

Whilst I’m normally on this blog talking about Numbas, this post is dedicated to something else that I take a keen interest in: lecture capture. It describes a pilot project that was funded by the NUTELA group to deploy short, re-purposed ReCap videos in a large engineering module. These were made available to students in addition to the full length ReCap lecture capture, and sat alongside formative tests associated with the content.An example video

A disclaimer, before I go any further… this is a dump of my current thoughts on the topic, and it will save the next person who asks me about ReCap/short videos from suffering me talking at them for an hour! As a result, it’s part project report, opinion piece and tutorial! Despite lacking any focus whatsoever, I hope that you find something interesting…

Motivation

I have been interested for some time in the use of lecture capture. I originally wasn’t a fan, mainly citing a hatred of hearing my own voice!  I have managed to get over that though, and spend a lot of time in computer clusters, where I see first-hand the benefits of ReCap for students. I am particularly fond of telling the story of asking a student which ‘psych-up’ music he was listening to on his headphones before a big class test… he was listening to me giving a lecture!

So I read with interest the results of the 2017 NUSU survey “How Students use ReCap”, and in particular these two results:

How Students use ReCap 2017 Report

Whilst the opportunity to catch up on lectures is clearly very beneficial – in particular, as the associated report mentions, for students with disabilities and those competing in elite sport (and I’ll also throw in those with families or caring responsibilities) – it does not appear to be the primary use of ReCap. This aligns completely with what I see in our computer clusters, which is predominantly students using the resource to prepare for class tests and exams.

Let me reiterate that I’m a big fan of the ReCap provision, before going on to make the following two observations:

1) Our current set up of teaching resources is often very siloed within the VLE. Typically a module might have a separate Blackboard folder for each of lecture notes, additional resources, formative assessments, whatever else… and certainly the default is a separate folder of ReCap videos. But if students are revising a topic for an exam, putting practicalities aside, it seems to make sense for the video content on a topic to sit side-by-side with the other course material.

This was just one of the motivations for our course material tool “Coursebuilder” (which will be the topic of my next blog post here as it happens), to have a stronger integration between different course resources. And it is surprisingly easy (after discovering the method as part of this project) to embed videos next to your lecture notes in Blackboard itself. See the Process for creating videos section below.

2) Slightly more pertinent to this post, our ReCap videos are presented to students as a separate video for each teaching session. Again from a practicality perspective, this seems like the only sensible thing to do, but from the student perspective, is this box-set of lectures the best way for the “series” to be divided, if it is being used for revision? Often topics are split over multiple lectures, or multiple topics are covered in one lecture. In maths, the subject of this project, lectures often contain distinct sections of theory and application/exercises. The student might only be interested in one of those when they come to revise.

A note on the indexing of ReCap videos for mathematics… You may have noticed that ReCap videos containing PowerPoint automatically generate a list of contents. Panopto basically identifies section headings in the presentation. In mathematics, it is rare to see a PowerPoint presentation, they are usually delivered using the visualiser or whiteboard, or as a LaTeX document. Content information  can be added, but only manually after the fact.

The Project

Last Spring, colleagues in engineering maths, David Swailes and John Appleby, approached me to discuss short videos in the ENG1001 Engineering Mathematics module. David had heard of the work of Professor Chris Howls at the University of Southampton, who had successfully used short personal capture videos to enhance a calculus course. We discussed several possible formats for short videos, including something on the lines of what Chris had done, but the nature of the ENG1001 module lent itself to a slightly different and straightforward approach: to re-use a previous year’s ReCap collection. This is because almost precisely the same module content has been delivered (very successfully) over a number of years; last year’s ReCap videos would be almost identical to this year’s.

Continue reading NUTELA Small Grants Fund: Short videos as an additional learning resource

Art of the possible

The Art of the Possible: Showcasing Technology Enhanced Learning at Newcastle University

Professor Suzanne Cholerton invites you to engage with a brand new series of Education Strategy focussed events, showcasing ‘The Art of the Possible’. Over the next year we will be running theme weeks of activities, with each theme week focussing on one of the four key themes in the Education Strategy:

  • Adopting and developing approaches to education that actively engage students in their learning.
  • A research-intensive environment that adds value to the education of all students at all stages.
  • Developing students as the whole person by supporting and preparing them to shape the societies in which they will live and the professions they choose to enter.
  • An educational experience supported and enhanced by technology.

These theme weeks will showcase the wealth of innovation and effective practice already taking place across the University, as well as focusing on new developments within the University and across higher education.

The first theme week will take place 1-5 July 2019, focusing on Technology Enhanced Learning given our commitment in the Education Strategy to an educational experience supported and enhanced by technology.

There will be a range of face to face and virtual events and activities including online case studies and videos to look out for, taster workshops, guest speakers and lightning talks. All delivered in a light, fun and adventurous way but with a clear link to the Technology Enhanced Learning Roadmap and the Graduate Framework.

We will explore the practical aspects of accessibility, inclusion and creating a variety of online content, and we will hear about effective practice taking place within schools and services, from across the University. We are also pleased to welcome Alistair McNaught, Subject Specialist in Accessibility and Inclusion, Jisc on Thursday 4 July.

Find out more about each event below:

Monday 1 July

A video introduction from Professor Suzanne Cholerton will launch this exciting programme which will run each year for the next four years.

Tuesday 2 July, 10:00-11:00

Lightning talks

Join colleagues to explore approaches to creating accessible videos, alternative models of assessment, diversifying online exams, creating accessible and flexible teaching resources and using tablets in teaching.

Thursday 4 July, 10:00-11:00

Small changes, big impacts. How technology tweaks support inclusion: NUTELA 4Bs event

Alistair McNaught, Jisc

This is a practical session with a mix of presentation and activities. We explore the power of pedagogical practice in making content more meaningful. We consider the ‘accessibility profiles’ of different media and formats and identify the small practices that make big differences. We end the session by looking at a series of ‘good practice screenshots’ across the sector and reflecting on your own practice and priorities.

Friday 5 July, 15:00-16:00

Accessibility in practice

We all invest time creating documents and presentations to support teaching and learning. How can we make sure these can be used by our diverse student population? Find out more in this interactive workshop.

Registrations are open for all of these events.

Case studies

We will be promoting a variety of Case Studies over the course of the week so keep an eye on this blog to find out more about teaching ideas from colleagues across the University.

Find out more

Sign up to the Learning and Teaching Newsletter for more information about The Art of the Possible and other Learning and Teaching news.

Vice-Chancellor’s Education Excellence Awards 2019

Congratulations to this year’s Vice-Chancellor’s Education Excellence Award winners who have demonstrated an exceptional commitment to enhancing our students’ educational experience.

The winning submissions evidenced impact and influence in a number of areas including, approaches to assessment, student representation, addressing gender imbalance in subject areas, student retention and success at a national and international area.

All submissions were considered by a panel chaired by Professor Suzanne Cholerton,  Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Education. The high quality of the submissions was noted by the panel.

Professor Cholerton said, “The Vice-Chancellors Education Excellence Award is an opportunity to celebrate the outstanding work from individuals and teams enhancing our student educational experience. Five awards have been made this year out of a very competitive field of nominations. The panel were extremely impressed with the scale of impact, breadth of activity, and the creative approaches to education and educational support taken by all the awardees. ”

2019 Award Winners

Individual Awards

Dr Phil Ansell, School of Mathematics, Statistics and Physics

Dr Kirsten MacLeod, School of English Language, Literature and Linguistics

Dr Luisa Wakeling, School of Dental Sciences

Team Awards

E-Learning Unit, School of Mathematics, Statistics and Physics

Specialist Learning Team, Student Health and Wellbeing Service

Find out more about each of the award winners and what the award means to them below.

Dr Phil Ansell, School of Mathematics, Statistics and Physics

Dr Phil Ansell

‘I am really pleased to receive the Vice Chancellor’s Education Excellence Award in recognition of the impact that some of my work has had on learning and teaching at Newcastle University. It is of particular pride that projects spanning the entire student journey, from outreach and recruitment to enhancing careers and employability were highlighted as exemplars of good practice by the panel. I look forward to working with students and staff in the future to ensure that we continue to deliver an outstanding and inclusive educational experience for all.’

Dr Kirsten MacLeod, School of English  Literature, Language and LinguisticsDr Kirsten MacLeaod

‘It is an honour to receive the Vice Chancellor’s Education Excellence Award in recognition of my aim to foster and promote innovative teaching and assessment practices. I am indebted to and inspired by many creative, committed, and risk-taking colleagues in the School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics, and grateful for the wonderful support offered by a Faculty and University so committed to positive change.’

Dr Luisa Wakeling, School of Dental Sciences

Dr Luisa Wakeling

‘Enhancing relevance and value in all activities that students undertake is of great importance to help them flourish beyond the University and achieve their professional goals. I have the privilege to work with amazing students who engage with the University, beyond their curriculum, in representing and enhancing the experience of their peers. The skills they develop through Academic Student Representation will be highly relevant in any workplace. I am thrilled to receive this distinguished award that recognises my work in supporting our students with opportunities to acknowledge and evidence their fantastic extracurricular work for their future.’

E-Learning Unit, School of Mathematics, Statistics and PhysicseLearning unit

‘We are absolutely delighted to receive the Vice Chancellor’s Education Excellence Award, in recognition of our team’s contribution to supporting student learning in the School of Mathematics, Statistics & Physics and beyond. A solid foundation in mathematics is vital to so many subjects areas, and this award will help us in continuing to build new relationships with colleagues across the University who are involved in the learning, teaching and assessment of mathematical subjects.’

Specialist Learning Team, Student Health and Wellbeing Service

Specialist Learning Team

‘It is recognition of the significant support we provide to underpin the learning experience for students with Autism Spectrum Disorders/Aspergers, and confirms our approach to offer holistic programmes of support fits with University’s vision to provide all students with an inclusive student experience.’

All winners will receive their awards at a congregations ceremony in July and will also be recognised at a University Celebrating Success event. The will also receive funding to support future educational activities.

Next year’s Vice-Chancellor’s Education Excellence Awards will open in February 2020 and full details about the application process will be published on the LTDS website.

If you have any questions about the award, please contact LTDS@ncl.ac.uk 

NUTELA Small Grants Fund: Enhancing student learning through innovative scholarship conference, Bristol 2018

Alison Clapp, Lecturer, Faculty of Medical Sciences Graduate School

Thanks to NUTELA funding my travel, and the FMS Graduate School funding my attendance, I spent two days in Bristol University last summer listening to what other universities (and Newcastle too!) are doing to enhance their students’ learning. Overall it emphasised the practicalities with many presentations on enhancing feedback, technology enhanced learning and student wellbeing. Here is a flavour of the conference:

There was much about student mental health which, in my role with older, part-time, distance students, is not something I have paid much attention to. We should be considering this…. the government is going to make it mandatory for undergraduates (‘UK Step-Change Framework’) and we do need to show we are thinking about it for postgraduates including our online students. We are not meant to be qualified counsellors, but we do need to flag up problems and communicate with students about them including suggestions for getting professional help. The keynote speaker, Fabienne Vailes, will be at the Three Rivers Conference in September. Continue reading NUTELA Small Grants Fund: Enhancing student learning through innovative scholarship conference, Bristol 2018

Numbas workshop and new version

We have just released another major version of Numbas, incorporating some exciting new developments which greatly expand Numbas’ capabilities. We’re also looking forward to running a workshop here at Newcastle University next month, ideal for those of you who would like to get started with maths e-assessment!

Introduction to Numbas workshop – 18th June

We are hosting an Introduction to Numbas workshop on 18th June, 10am-12pm, as part of the Learning and Teaching Development Programme.  This hands-on session is ideal for academic or technical staff who would like to create mathematical e-assessments and deploy them through Blackboard.

The session will cover:

·         getting started on the Numbas public database and editor

·         selecting existing questions to make tests

·         writing your own questions

·         using the Numbas tool in Blackboard

You can book on to the workshop via elements.ncl.ac.uk. Or for more information, drop us an e-mail to numbas@ncl.ac.uk

New release of Numbas

Over the past few months, Christian has been working tirelessly towards the release of Numbas v4.0, with a number of brilliant new features.

Full details can be found in this blog post on the Numbas website. They include:

  • a new pattern-matching system allowing, for example, to specify a pattern that a student’s mathematical expression must match in order to be marked correct.
  • more number types, including support for very small and large quantities using scientific notation. Useful for chemists and the like!
  • a new extension for geometrical figures, with particular attention to accessibility.

In addition, questions and exams on the Numbas Editor can now be shared with a permanent link. You can send a link to your students, to have a go at a question or test without any scores being recorded, like this. And items are embeddable, for example in a blog post, just like this one!

That one is from our Transition to University project, a collection of questions and tests written by students, alongside our e-learning unit, to support students making the transition from school to university.

I hope to see some of you at the Numbas workshop in June. Otherwise, if you are interested in finding out more about Numbas please don’t hesitate to drop me an e-mail to christopher.graham@ncl.ac.uk.

OLAF Service Capacity

Due to the success of the OLAF service and the capacity to support online exams across LTDS, Exams and Awards and NUIT, the service is currently not available to support new online exams for fewer than 30 students during the assessment periods.  New exams for more than 30 students will go onto a waiting list and be considered based on student numbers, with exams with highest numbers of students being prioritised.

Outside the formal exam period there is no capacity for additional in semester assessments, however The OLAF Service will continue to support all online exams that have previously used the service.

Resit exams  cannot be supported through the OLAF service if there are less than 15 students, the OLAF service will not be available for these exams. The exams could still be run through Blackboard, although this would be without the use of the locked down browser or the University invigilators. Staff can utilise self-help resources well in advance of the resit assessment periods if they wish to run the exam online themselves.

Language Resource Centre

By Holly Pennal, Language Resources Centre Assistant

The Language Resource Centre is a dedicated centre for language learning available to ALL Newcastle University students and staff. Awarded the Government’s Customer Service Excellence award, the members-only centre (register your smartcard at: ncl.ac.uk/language-resource-centre), is always staffed and has a Language Learning Support Officer on duty Monday to Friday.

  • As well as 110 work stations with 90 PCs, the LRC has bookable spaces including a Meeting Room, a 16-Seater PC cluster with teaching area, and three glass Talk Shops – perfect for group study or to watch films. These can be booked at reception, as well as one-on-one self-study advice appointments with our Language Learning Support Officer if you need some advice on how best to start learning – or improve – your target language. With most of the materials within the centre now being loanable, we also have a feedback box for any suggestions of new resources.Pods in the Language Resource Centre
  • The LRC runs the university IPTV (Internet Protocol TV) site: a world TV and film video streaming service, available for FREE to all Newcastle University students and staff. It hosts a large database of over 3000 foreign & English language films, viewable on demand, and over 20 Satellite TV channels in languages from all over the globe.

Continue reading Language Resource Centre

LILAC award: Terry Charlton

Congratulations to Terry Charlton who won a LILAC  Digital Award for Information Literacy 2019.

Terry won the award for his fantastic work  in the University Library Liaison team developing Newcastle University Library’s Online Learning Resources.

What did the project involve?

The project started with in depth consultation with students. This highlighted a preference for rich media and short,  focused videos that could be viewed on a range of devices when students needed them.

After listening to student views a number of videos were produced to cover information literacy skills areas such as literature reviews, finding information and evaluating information. Attention  was paid to the style of  these videos which included background illustrations and animations. Other team members were the friendly face of the videos, which involved a bit of green screen acting. Take a look at one of the videos below:

The second phase of the project included the development of a new search planner tool which is a step by step approach to planning a literature search. This results in a personalised search strategy and can be shared with others, for example supervisors or the library liaison team.

Project successes

  • Over 9000 views of the videos in the first 6 months
  • 94% of survey respondents rated the videos as ‘very good’ or ‘outstanding’
  • Greater student understanding of information literacy issues
  • Using a flipped classroom approach enabled lectures to focus on areas where students demonstrate less understanding
  • A fivefold increase in visits to dissertation pages
  • The resources are accessible, responsive, device independent and mobile friendly.

Find out more

Terry has recently moved to work in the Learning and Teaching Development Service and if you want to find out more you can contact him at terry.charlton@ncl.ac.uk

RAISE 2019- The impact of student engagement

Dates: 4-5 September 2019
Location: Newcastle University, UK

Delegate registration is open for the Researching, Advancing & Inspiring Student Engagement (RAISE) Conference.

Student participation is particularly welcomed (students pay a very low fee). This year there is a two day format  but this is followed by a Development Day on the 6th with workshops and SIGS at the same venue.

The conference aims to offer a forum and platform showcasing practice and research about, student engagement (SE) and working in partnership. Staff in all roles, all students, and others interested in university and college higher education are welcome.

There are over 100 presentations and keynotes from Cathy Bovill, Brice MacFarlane and Colin Bryson.

There is still capacity for posters (those accepted will benefit from the presenter discount).

For full details of the programme and to register http://www.raise-network.com/events/conference-2019/ 

Note the early bird rate ends on May 30th and the final date for registration is June 30th.

Contact for any queries or proposals for poster submissions (send a 300 word max abstract): raise@ncl.ac.uk

Join the email list to keep up to date on Conference and other RAISE news.