IAMSE Fall 2018 WAS Session 2 Highlights

WAS Fall 18

[The following notes were generated by Mark Slivkoff.]

IAMSE Webinar Series, Fall 2018

Speakers: Instructional Design Team of The University of New England including Christopher Malmberg, Olga LaPlante, Wendy DiBrigida, David Bass-Clark
Title: The Role of Instructional Design in Health Science Course Development
Series: Evolution and Revolution in Medical Education: Technology in the 21st Century

  • The University of New England (UNE) offers numerous online courses in which thousands of students enroll.
  • This presentation focused on the role of the Instructional Design Team (ID Team), specifically related to the university’s Science Prerequisites for Health Professions (SPHP) online program (https://online.une.edu/science-prerequisites/courses/).
  • SPHP is a fully online option at UNE. Enrollment is open, and approximately 4,500 students enroll per year.
  • SPHP:
    • Includes 17 health science and math courses which run for 16 weeks
    • Enrolls non-matriculated students
    • Is fully online, self-paced, and asynchronous (rolling student enrollment)
  • The presenters (4 of the 8 members of the Instructional Design Team) set off to cover the following objectives:
    • Outline the course development process
    • Discuss design challenges
    • Discuss strategies for active learning in the online environment
    • Show the value of Instructional Designers
    • Illustrate some of the research-based innovations
  • Two specific courses were discussed in this presentation: Pathophysiology and Medical Physiology.
  • Each 16-week course takes 32 weeks to develop. The process ends with the launch of the course.
  • Various Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) are involved in course development, including medical professionals, offline and online teaching faculty.
  • During design and development there is great attention devoted to curriculum standards:
    • The course must be authentic and rigorous.
    • Offline and online courses must be equal (pathophysiology = pathophysiology).
  • There are challenges in ensuring the equality of courses. Outcomes, activities and assessments must be the same.
  • Outcomes are addressed first by both the Subject Matter Experts and the Instructional Design Team.
  • The outcomes are vetted by a separate committee, then the SMEs and ID Team order the outcomes into learning activities.
  • There is thus a “backward” design when building these self-paced health science courses, and well stated learning objectives are a must.
  • There are challenges specific to the self-paced nature of these courses:
    • Customizable experience
    • Peer interactions
    • Time management
  • The customizable experience is about being able to track the student’s progress. This is done by:
    • Providing assignments which allow for immediate feedback.
    • Having tasks that must be completed before moving forward (Adaptive Released)
    • Building in numerous self-tests and practice quizzes
    • Providing study guides
  • The challenge of the lack of peer interactions is addressed by having the students present via video. Students must upload video presentations, the content which varies by course.
  • Time management, another challenge, is addressed through the following mechanisms:
    • Courses are 16 weeks
    • Suggested timelines are in the syllabus and course modules
    • Reminders about the pace of the course are sent out with assignments
  • The lack of in-person laboratories also poses a challenge in online courses.
  • It is imperative therefore that there are engaging activities along the way. UNE approaches this challenge by including the following in their courses:
    • Virtual, dynamic lab experiments (through third party vendors)
    • Physical lab experiments with materials delivered directly to students’ houses (through a third party vendor)
    • Media-rich scenarios and case simulations (including comic cases)
    • Student presentations (which are also used to alleviate the lack of peer-to-peer interactions, as noted above)
  • There is a continuous development cycle for all online courses taught at UNE. Redesign allows for opportunity to implement research-based solutions.
  • Innovative examples that have been implemented include:
    • Memory Palaces and the Method of loci
    • Virtual reality and 3D Space
    • Interactive Narratives (Articulate Storyline software used)

Questions asked after seminar:
(Note that some questions and/or answers have been reworded for clarity)

Can you elaborate on the video assignments?
Videos are about 5 minutes and do not need any accompanying media to elaborate on concepts. Students are encouraged to speak as if they are talking “at the moment” .

Do you think that any kind of learning can occur in an online environment, or are there limitations?
Labs are challenging, but some things are actually easier online due to the asynchronous learning.

In the virtual labs, do all the students get the same results?
Not necessarily since there are questions within the assignments requiring subjective answers. Students get pointed in the same direction. (Pearson’s PhysioEx lab simulation software provides such assignments.)

How do you do summative assessments?
Examinations, video presentations, PowerPoint presentations. Medical Physiology incorporates readings. And so forth.

How do you incorporate remediation?
Students must connect with their instructors. (This question wasn’t really addressed by the ID Team) 

How many hours do you dedicate to interaction with the Subject Matter Experts?
Depends on the course. In the SPHP, the SMEs are assigned to a particular course. During the 32 weeks of course development, the SMEs work together (via shared docs or other means).

Can you elaborate on the anatomy dissection?
Hands On Learning, a third party vendor, supplies materials and pre-fabricated dissections to the students. Students are prompted to take pictures during the dissections. These pictures are uploaded.

How does curriculum design development differ between your online and offline (traditional) courses?
Main difference is that you have to be very aware of the social dynamics that don’t happen online. A benefit about online design is that you don’t have to worry about scheduling rooms and times.

Did you develop the labs?
No. One example of third party vendor is Pearson (PhysioEx).

What software is used for student recordings?
Many students and faculty use Screencast-O-Matic, which is free. Many students use their phones and respective software on their computers to edit (Mac = QT; Windows = Movie Maker). We are starting to use the built-in tools of Zoom as well.

Do online courses require more faculty time?
Course planning takes a lot of time, but once the course launches the workload greatly decreases. You hope that the course almost runs itself.