The module “Research Awareness for Healthcare Professionals” was first run by the University of Wolverhampton, School of Health and Wellbeing (SHaW) in September 2011. The module was to be studied by all students on professional courses at the School of Health and Wellbeing, including students from all fields of Nursing (Adult, Child, Learning Disabilities, Mental Health) and Midwifery, with plans for students from Social Care, Social Work and Pharmacy joining future cohorts. The module was to be delivered using a blended learning approach, over six weeks. There would be online content for students to work through each week, supported by online discussion forums and three face-to-face seminars.
In my role as Multimedia Learning Development Officer within the SHaW Multimedia Unit (MMU), I was asked to be part of the module development team, attending planning meetings where appropriate. I worked closely with the Module Leader (Head of Interdisciplinary and Multimedia Learning) and other academic staff who were involved in the planning, development and delivery of the module. My role was to suggest opportunities for the use of multimedia to enhance the online learning materials. I would be responsible for the planning and production of multimedia learning materials required for the module, as well as publishing them to the module topic on the WOLF Virtual Learning Environment (VLE).
In collaboration with the module team it was decided that the following multimedia learning resources would be produced to support the online learning content.
- Graphic design to create a consistent identity and to improve signposting
- E-Lectures for delivery of theoretical information and the online module launch
- A series of video clips featuring working researchers sharing their opinions and experiences relevant to the key themes of the module, to contextualise the theoretical content
The first requirement of the IPL Module was to create a visual identity for the module topic. This included a graphic banner using imagery to reflect the interprofessional nature of the learners, a set of icons to signpost certain types of activity and information to the learners, and a PowerPoint template to ensure a consistent look and feel for the learning materials. The template was designed using accessible font styles and colours. The template also enabled academic colleagues to create slides of content using a tool they were familiar with, which could then be adapted easily into the e-lecture format.
E-Lectures were used throughout the online learning materials to deliver key theoretical concepts. A combination of PowerPoint and the Articulate Studio ‘09 suite of e-learning development software was used to create the e-lectures.
Academic staff supplied the MMU with slides of content using the PowerPoint template. During this process I was available to support and advise them on techniques and best practices for writing online materials so that they are effective and accessible. I was involved in supporting staff to import slides into Articulate Presenter, record voice-over audio and add annotations. I also produced interactive diagrams using Articulate Engage and formative assessment questions using Articulate Quizmaker.
I published the e-lectures as SCORM compliant reusable learning objects (RLOs), and uploaded them to the RLO repository in the VLE ready for inclusion in the module topic. Packaging the e-lectures as SCORM RLOs allowed us to use the built-in tracking facility to monitor the level of student engagement with the learning content, such as the length of time spent viewing an RLO, the percentage of the RLO they had viewed, the number of attempts made at any formative questions and the scores achieved.
“Real Researchers” Video Series
I was involved in the planning, recording, post-production and deployment of a series of video clips featuring interviews with working researchers.
During the planning stage of the video series, I worked with the Module Leader to develop a set of questions to use for filming the interviews. The questions were linked to the key learning outcomes for the module, and would be used to add context to theoretical content. For example, one of the questions asked was, “Why is research awareness important for healthcare professionals?” The responses to this question were edited into a short video clip contained within the Module Introduction information and helped the learners understand how research influences their working practice. Short video clips of the researchers were threaded throughout the module content, and included subjects such as skills for research, interpreting research findings, ethics and dissemination.
I created an online poll for the researchers working in the SHaW Centre for Health and Social Care Improvement (CHSCI), to identify suitable dates to visit the centre with the Module Leader and Multimedia Assistant to film the interviews. The Module Leader also arranged interviews with a number of researchers working in partner NHS organisations. The questions were sent to all participants in advance of the filming session so that they felt prepared.
Several filming sessions took place to capture responses from all of the required participants. While I was responsible for carrying out the filming of the interviews, one of the sessions was also used as a training exercise for the Multimedia Assistant who had recently joined the MMU team and she carried out some of the filming under my supervision. Professional HD Camcorders were used for the filming, combined with digital recording units that enabled the footage to be stored as MP4 video files on a flash memory card. Having the video footage on a memory card in digital format makes the post-production workflow less time-consuming as there is no need to digitise footage from a tape.
At all of the sessions I ensured that participants completed the Open Educational Resources Consent Form, also verbally explaining what they were agreeing to and how the captured recordings would be used.
When all of the filming sessions were completed a post-production meeting took place between the Module Leader and myself. During this session we previewed the raw video footage and identified the most useful responses. We then linked those with the E-Lectures and other learning materials. This enabled me to plan the post-production, prioritising the videos that were most important to the module content and those that would be delivered earliest in the module.
As part of the post-production I created an animated title sequence and rolling end credits in Adobe After Effects. The animations were used at the start and end of each video clip. They used royalty-free audio and imagery, and followed the brand identity I created with the PowerPoint template, graphic banner and icon set. While some editing of the raw video footage was required to produce professional quality clips, it was ensured that any cuttings made were superficial and did not alter the meaning or context of any statement made by the participants.
In total, 20 video clips were produced. Some clips were embedded into e-lectures or other interactive objects created with the Articulate Studio, while others were embedded directly into the html pages of the module topic. Each clip was no longer than 5 minutes in length, to allow for the unknown availability of high speed Internet in learners homes as longer videos may be difficult to stream on slower connections.
Working on this project was a particularly valuable experience for me. Being part of the module team enabled me to be part of the development of a new module from the very beginning. I got to see aspects of the module development process that I wouldn’t usually see when I am involved in a one-off project for a module that already exists. I felt a sense of pride when the module first ran and student feedback to the use of multimedia to support the learning materials was largely positive. Although there have been some technical difficulties they have all been resolved and did not negatively impact the student experience.