Otago-Sydney Medical Students Co-developers of Curriculum Units

Over 17 years, the University of Sydney and the University of Otago have collaborated to deliver a hybrid degree in Basic Ophthalmic Sciences. A novel aspect is that students contribute to the course content through collaborative activities. They were chosen as an exemplar for the trend of co-design of Higher Education in the first Contextualising Horizon Report by ASCILITE - Australasian Society for Computers in Learning in Tertiary Education.

Co-design activities in OB3 include wiki pages ( Optik-i ) discussion of journal articles ( Journal Club ) and student videos on selected topics.

This study programme is undertaken by busy early career doctors wishing to learn about the scientific foundations of ophthalmology. The courses in OB3 are linked to both Institution's LMS, allowing students and staff from both institutions to come together in a common space. Study involves 18 months part-time asynchronous online study followed by a two-week intensive in-person practical.

A highlight is the high level of collaborative content development with students. Examples include: student developed wiki pages (with collaborative class discussions), summarisation and discussion of journal articles, and development of videos on topics.

The best content (with student permission) is incorporated into future iterations of courses. OB3 tracks authorship of content down to the sentence level allowing academic attribution. Lecturers and students across both countries interact online asynchronously and conduct all learning remotely. Once all the online units are complete, a practical unit is undertaken to reinforce the theoretical knowledge learned and to expand into practical hands-on experience. Alumni are provided with lifelong content access through OB3.

Review the case of the Ophthalmology postgraduate programme between the University of Otago and the University of Sydney.

Use Case: Sydney Optik-i Video Demo - Students and Teachers Co-designing Learning from OB3 Apps on Vimeo .

The Optik-i Project: Wiki pages created by individual students

The wiki pages on Optics are collaborative documents of student-derived content. The lecturers provide the topic, but the students do all the other inputs into the documents. For the first 6-week period the student is responsible for developing content for their assigned wiki page, and then there is a 6-week period for every student to review that page and provide links to other documents. A student is creating and taking ownership for the content of the assigned page for six weeks. And then for another 6-week period we encourage the collaboration. We initially found that the collaboration online took a little bit of encouragement. But now, it is a little better. In terms of assessment, we assess both, the actual content and the collaboration.

The goal is to have these wiki pages as resource of the unit of study so students and alumni in the future can access them as an encyclopaedic resource, a kind of “Wikipedia”, for the Optics topic. This student-led project has been created to address the issue that this kind of content online or in other wiki pages is not reliable. There is a lot of bad content and it is not specific to what the students need for their career or for their learning as a high-level subject course.

Excerpted: INTED22 paper (see Gomez et al. 2022, p. 3324)

Student-led Journal Club Discussion Documents

The concept behind journal club is for the early students within the course to develop links between basic sciences and clinical practice. It is to provide them deeper learning principles, allow them to find the relevance of these basic principles in day-to-day practice. The journal club works very well as an assessment activity with the goal of showing students the relevance of basic science in clinical practice, even though we are not a clinical course, and we are not teaching clinical content. From another point of view it does encourage interaction among the students. They are not so comfortable discussing the basic principles per se because they do not yet have all the basic science knowledge. But they are more comfortable discussing papers that marry the two aspects together, science and practice because this is day-to-day work for them.

Excerpted: INTED 22 paper (see Gomez et al. 2022, p. 3324)
Also review: DHW 2022 abstract (Petsoglou et al. 2022)

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