Dr Companion – facilitating learning where and when it’s needed

Curtis, Fiona and Finn, Gabrielle and Falzon, Chris and Scott, Lesley (2011) Dr Companion – facilitating learning where and when it’s needed. In: Blackboard Users Conference 2011, 2011-01-062011-01-07.

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CETL4HealthNE (a consortium involving the universities and NHS partners across the North-East of England) identified a need for students to have access to clinical references in order to support their remote learning. When on placements students are often unable to access the internet and textbooks. This may be due to internet restrictions from hosting NHS partners and commercial premises, or due to placements being at remote locations. Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs), Nurse, Dr and Pharmacy Companion chips were purchased for distribution amongst nursing, medicine and pharmacy students at five universities and four NHS partner sites. The Companion chips are a card based system which enables students to access a package of electronic resources. Packages were designed specifically for this pilot. The resource collections on the chip were customised for each student user group. Resources on the chip included the BNF, anatomy atlases, medical dictionaries and handbooks. Students were invited to borrow the PDA and chip for use during their studies. 250 students self-selected to participate in this pilot study, these students were from nursing, pharmacy and medicine. Students were asked to complete online evaluative surveys and to make entries into a Learning Objects blog. All qualitative data was coded using a grounded theory based approach. These data will be discussed during the presentation. Findings showed that students used the PDA and Companion chips to support their learning in a range of ways. Students reported that the electronic resources were useful because they enabled them to conduct timely research, which would not have been possible otherwise. The portable nature of the device and the chip meant that students no longer had to carry heavy loads of textbooks, and were also able to access the information on the move. Students reported being better prepared for the next day of teaching as a result of having the chip available. Additionally, during lectures students clarified terms and drug names which they didn’t understand. Before examinations, Companion chips were used for revision purposes. One of the most valued aspects was the ability to access multiple books on a device which fits in the student’s pocket. Students also used Companion chips whilst travelling. Within the clinical context, students were able to look up information at the push of a button and utilised images within the chip to explain conditions to patients. Although PDAs are now old technology and have been mostly superseded by smart phones, the principles for supporting remote and timely learning remain the same. This talk will address issues relating to the support of student learning in an increasingly mobile world.

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Blackboard Users Conference 2011
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22 May 2020 10:20
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22 Nov 2022 13:46