TRANSCRIPT: DeakinDesign Principle: Digital
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Associate Professor Jade Sheen: Hi my name is Associate Professor Jade Sheen and I’m a leader in simulation based education for School of Psychology. As a clinical psychologist I teach into our professional psychology programs.
Thinking about digital design, I think that one of the most kind of crucial elements of digital design is access and when we’re thinking about training future clinicians or people in health care, ensuring that we have an equity and access, ensuring that we can access people in regional areas, in rural areas to engage them and train them as healthcare practitioners is really essential and digital technologies allow us to access these different populations. Digital technology also provides us with a way to teach in perhaps what we might consider to be a more sustainable way. because once that information is recorded it’s there and it becomes a repository for us to kind of work and develop over time, but also to kind of keep those original elements and those original materials so that some of our innovations or our knowledge isn’t lost over time. In addition to that digital technologies allow us access to input from different clinicians and different experts. Throughout Deakin Psychology virtual clinic, for example, we’ve been able to access industry experts, experts from other universities, and so we have input from a range of stakeholders in this one authentic tool.
So, within the School of Psychology we’ve created the Deakin Psychology virtual clinic, which is a repository of different cases looking at assessment of individuals with varying mental health conditions and presentations through to clinical interventions with those individuals. We also use the site for some live examinations and some clinical exams and addition we integrate it into our teaching. So this particular resource is an opportunity for students to do additional learning and access it whenever they like outside of class. But in class, we might use it to illustrate a certain concept, or to talk about a certain presentation, which then might precipitate a conversation around whatever model or theory we’re teaching. In addition to that, in exam contexts, were able to give students an authentic and standardised exam experience when we show you them cases from the site as well.
Students have demonstrated keen interest in the site through access when they haven’t been directed towards the site, we certainly have a look at the time used and spent on the site in the traffic that we get through it. And there is high input in traffic, particularly before clinical exams, and you know before assignments, and things to do and students are really wanting to update or hone their skills, by using that resource for their studies. In addition to that they talk about the benefits of having authentic cases that are readily available and enable them to access it from the comfort of their own home at any time that they like. They also have access to a range of stakeholders and academics, as I said, and a range of different therapy interventions, all of which they can’t particularly learn within our curriculum, as of course curriculums are fairly tight, and so this resource provides an opportunity to have access to different types of interventions that they might not otherwise have access to. So students have reported high engagement, but also the fact that they love the navigation through the site and the fact that they get to choose their learning journey with it. I guess thinking about the learning journey we’ve also integrated the site in different ways, through the course, so we have I guess what we might consider to be perhaps easier diagnostic cases that we presenting first year and then we transition up to those intervention cases with children, families, older adults, as I progress through their course. So, the course and the site are designed to grow with the students and they’re learning needs.
We’ve been fairly lucky in that the team have been really supportive about integrating the clinic through every element of our course. I suppose having done these sorts of programs previously, one of the challenges that we have running to in other courses of the universities is getting that integration at every level of a course and of a program. So certainly having the team on board to integrate, that is a really important sort of elements of making it sustainable and effective as a resource. In addition to that, broadly one of the challenges with digital technologies, but also potentially one of the advantages, is the fact that you put a lot of time and money and investment into it at the front end, but there are also updates that need to occur now, as I said, it’s potentially an advantage, because it provides a repository to look at previously used techniques or how we’ve approached things in the past. But we also need to update it as a resource, and so it requires an ongoing commitment as an educator to make sure that the resource is current and is still accessible and still using the best in design principles and technology.
My advice would be to start small when we talk about digital I think sometimes the idea of it is quite terrifying because it sounds expensive and it sounds like it needs to be an elaborate suite of materials like we have in the virtual clinic. But we actually started out with one small grant and a couple of videos and from that we’ve managed to develop resources using additional grants, using evaluation of our program and student feedback to improve it and then moving on to winning awards that enabled us to support further development and scholarship so through those processes we’re able to start with something that was small and relatively cheap and actually created a program that’s used by seven different universities, one that’s been around through my entire career at Deakin over nine years now, and one that’s growing with me as an academic and an educator.