Wednesday, 17 June 2015

eCardioConsult: Virtual veterinary cardiology patients

Advances in technology are leading to new and innovative approaches to clinical teaching and learning. Compared with passive methods of learning, an interactive case-based approach promotes development of clinical decision-making skills and is a challenging and fun way to learn. Although interactive digital patient programs are technically difficult to produce, the ‘virtual’ format provides an interactive environment where it is safe to make mistakes!

The case of the breathless dog
The RVC has developed an interactive online learning platform in which the user navigates through clinical cardiology scenarios. This provides vets and veterinary students with a simulated experience in treating cardiac small animal patients. Each virtual patient follows a case through presentation, history and physical examination, problem list and differentials, diagnostic tests, treatment and follow up. If users select the wrong management option, the patient may die. 

At vital stages of the case a veterinary ‘expert’ appears and at the end of the case the expert also provides a walkthrough of how to manage the case. The first virtual patient is now used by all third year RVC students as part of their cardiovascular teaching. In addition the case has been made available to veterinarians and has already been translated into 4 different languages.

The first case is available at

If you are using a mobile device a Flash browser such as Photon or Puffin is required.

Friday, 10 April 2015

Education Technology Magazine - SPOCs

Back in March 2013, the RVC Learn team ran a Small Private Online Course (SPOC) which aimed to teach staff how to use RVC Learn more effectively.  Called “Learn RVC Learn”, the SPOC addressed the colleges need for a new flexible approach to staff training, and allowed staff to learn at anytime, at any pace and in any place. 

The SPOC aimed to teach staff how to use RVC Learn.  It covered all of the basic functions of Learn, as well as some more advanced features, all of which were taught in 4 weekly modules (Module 1 – Introduction to RVC Learn, Module 2 - Adding Resources and Activities, Module 3 – Using Communication Tools and Module 4 – Using Online Assessment Tools).

This unique online course could be taken in the users own time, and each module on the course took no longer than 2 hours to complete.  Face to Face training was provided for each module, at each campus, as well as an introduction to the course in the first week and a wrap up session in the final week.   Staff could choose whether to complete the whole course, or take selective modules they may be interested in.  The face to face sessions were not mandatory and were run on a drop in basis.

Education Technology Magazine has an interesting article on the rise of the SPOC which features the RVC SPOC, and its creator, RVC Learn Manager Ben Audsley.  “Going Boldly where no course has gone before” can be found here.

MoodleMOOT 2015

MoodleMOOT 2015

MoodleMoot is a yearly conference dedicated to the users, developers and administrators of the popular open-source Learning Management System (LMS) Moodle. (RVC Learn)

This year the Moot will be held at City University in Dublin, Ireland from 11th – 14th May.

Two members of the eMedia team submitted proposals to present at the conference, and both presentations have been accepted!

Alistair Spark, the VLE Officer at the RVC, will be presenting “Piloting double blind marking through Moodle at the RVC”, a presentation on our use of the new Online Coursework Management tool, created in conjunction with the ULCC. 

Ben Audsley will be presenting “Student Learning Technologists – a MoodleMoot success story” as a Pecha Kucha presentation-  a  presentation style in which 20 slides are shown for 20 seconds each (6 minutes and 40 seconds in total).  This presentation will tell the story of how the SLT role evolved at the RVC, and how students are helping the eMedia department shape the future eLearning strategy.

More information about MoodleMoot 2015 can be found here.

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Photograph of Royal Veterinary College specimen is Overall Winner at 2015 Wellcome Image Awards

This photograph, taken by Michael Frank, is of a 40-year-old specimen from the Lanyon Anatomy Museum of the Royal Veterinary College has just been selected as Image of the Year 2015 by the Wellcome Trust. 

The photograph is part of a project between Michael and Nick Short, Head of the eMedia Unit at the RVC, to bring new perspectives to a selection of specimens at the Lanyon Anatomy Museum. The specimen, a preserved uterus of a pony, approximately five months into pregnancy with the foetus still attached, has been preserved in formalin and was photographed through its Perspex container.

The RVC is honoured to have won this prestigious award especially in the light of such stunning competition. We hope that through our photographic techniques, we have managed to capture the magic of these old anatomy specimens in a new digital format.  Our passion has been to bring these specimens back to life and create a unique resource which will be available for students of anatomy to study and appreciate for many generations to come.

Michael Frank commented “I am delighted that this image has been chosen as the 2015 Wellcome Image Awards overall winner. This project has involved many hours working with Nick Short at the RVC. Our vision was to capture these incredible specimens which have sat for many years on the shelves of the Lanyon Anatomy Museum. Using sophisticated photographic techniques, we were able to rejuvenate these special dissections and make them available to a whole new audience of students, academics and the public. I like to think that this digital format is a fitting tribute to all the skill of past generations of anatomists in creating these resources and the many generations of vets who have benefited from studying them.

In addition to the winning image, another image from the collaboration between Michael and Nick was also shortlisted, the reticulum (stomach chamber) of a goat. The RVC completed a hat-trick of shortlisted entries, with PhD student Sophie Regnault’s 3D image of a preserved lizard specimen also making the final twenty. These successes are reflective of the larger initiative led by the eMedia team at the RVC to bring anatomy online. Full details of their work can be found on their website.

Picture Editor of BBC Focus magazine, James Cutmore, who was a member of the judging panel, said: “As far as standout images go, the image of the horse’s uterus with the foetus still inside was incredible and just sticks in my mind. It evokes many different emotions at once. It’s fascinating, sad, macabre, almost brutal. Yet the subject is also delicate, detailed and beautiful. The image shows us a large and magnificent creature reduced to this sad, fragile and half-formed creation, which I find very humbling.”

Another judge, Tim Smit, Founding Director of the Eden Project described the winning image as “hypnotic, like a Hieronymus Bosch painting…only it is real and truly marvellous.”

From March 19th 2015 all the winning images will be exhibited at eleven science centres, museums and galleries, from the Eden Project in Cornwall to Satrosphere in Aberdeen, and as far afield as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Koch Institute), USA, will display the images in their own styles to spark imaginations everywhere.

The images will also be displayed in the window of the Wellcome Trust headquarters in London, and will be made available on the
Wellcome Image Awards website. They already feature in Wellcome Images collections, where they can be accessed and used along with more than 40,000 other contemporary biomedical and clinical images. The Awards were established in 1997 to reward contributors to the collection for their outstanding work.

The following venues will be exhibiting the 2015 Wellcome Image Award winners:
·         At-Bristol
·         Cambridge Science Centre
·         Dundee Science Centre
·         Glasgow Science Centre
·         Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Koch Institute), USA
·         Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI),  Manchester
·         Satrosphere, Aberdeen
·         Techniquest, Cardiff
·         The Eden Project, Cornwall
·         The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, USA

·         W5, Belfast

Monday, 19 January 2015

Predictions for 2015

Some interesting pointers for the coming year .... will review how many of these come true next year!