“One of my acquaintances in the healthcare field was upgrading his 3D printer and suggested we could 3D print some of the unique materials, such as a lead syringe shield, lead vial shield and lead elution pot,” says Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging Technology faculty member Adam Zalewski.
When the pandemic began in 2020, it created teaching and learning challenges at educational institutes across the province, especially at a school as unique as The Michener Institute of Education at UHN, where hands-on learning is vital to our students. Since then, Michener’s faculty and staff have been continuously innovating to enhance the virtual learning experience.
In the summer of 2021, Adam Zalewski and Kate Savelberg, faculty in the Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging Technology program, learned they would continue doing hybrid labs again the upcoming year. While they had previously sent home packages of equipment with students to assist with their learning about electrocardiograms (ECGs), some of the materials were simply too heavy and expensive to do so.
“One of my acquaintances in the healthcare field was upgrading his 3D printer and suggested we could 3D print some of the unique materials, such as a lead syringe shield, lead vial shield and lead elution pot,” says Adam. “He has since acted as a creative consultant, printing different designs, measuring the real materials to convert to something viable for the printer and testing what works afterward.”
Adam and Kate field tested this approach and received positive feedback from their first-year students who said it allowed them to build dexterity skills for the handling of syringe shields and vial shields remotely.
“In my course, we had students record themselves using the equipment and share the video with their instructor for feedback prior to coming to onsite labs and working with the real lead and radioactivity,” says Kate.
In the Respiratory Therapy department, Professor Felita Kwan began using a new online platform called Virtual Resus Room for neonatal simulations in her Specialty Clinical Simulation course with second-year students. The platform is an award-winning open-access project with the goal of making online simulation education accessible, valuable and fun.
“Jordan Holmes from the Centre for Learning, Innovation and Simulation helped me prepare the cases to deliver via the virtual platform,” says Felita. “It offered an interactive and as-realistic-as-possible experience for the students.”
For Chiropody Professor Diane Tyczynski and Assistant Professor Tobi Mark, the goal was to find engaging ways to keep students organized and interested, even when they couldn’t attend classes or complete labs in-person.
“Shortly before the pandemic, I took a course on blended and online learning and teaching,” says Tobi. “In the course, I learned about various educational technology and gaming tools, so when the pandemic hit, it was quite timely.”
As some faculty had already moved toward using H5P (an open-source content collaboration framework that aims to make it easy to create, share and reuse interactive HTML5 content), Tobi suggested using the platform to create interactive quizzes and video content.
Tobi and Diane also worked together to develop a framework for housing content on Blackboard, Michener’s web-based virtual learning management system. The format serves as an online lesson template that outlines where information can be found and includes Diane’s weekly quiz questions that Tobi transforms into a quiz using H5P.
“What we’ve heard from doing this for the past couple of years is that students really love the quiz because they want to see how they’re doing,” says Diane. “Tobi even creates customized videos that play when students have completed the quiz, depending on how well they do.”
“There are still other tools we’d like to play with in the future but we’re taking things one step at a time,” says Tobi.