My name is Teya and I’ve been acting as the e-Learning Technology Coach for the Cumming School of Medicine. In real life, I work as a Registered Nurse at the Foothills Hospital, fresh out of the nursing program at the University of Calgary. Nurses often act as translators between patients and physicians, and in this position, I’ve been attempting to translate progressive technology to new users. OpenLabyrinth is a virtual scenario and education research platform that medical professionals can use to create case studies for students. Students can test out their clinical decision making skills as they navigate an interactive “choose your own adventure” style of learning.
While OpenLabyrinth is incredibly powerful with many unique features and limitless possibilities, it isn’t entirely user friendly. It’s producers found that once they could get new users over the initial “technology adoption hump” they could use the technology successfully. I had the pleasure of working with the brilliant Dr. David Topps, Medical Director of the Office of Health and Medical Education Scholarship (OHMES). As the consortium lead, he knows every intricacy and idiosyncrasy of OpenLabyrinth. I came on as a set of new eyes with the task of helping new authors pick up the technology a little easier and get over that first “hump.”
I began by teaching myself how to use the program through arduous trial and error, sympathizing greatly with new users. Once I had the hang of it, I had to decide on the best mode to translate this technology for new users. Enter the one and only, Leanne Wu, the tech-savvy queen of the Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning. With her help and some networking with e-Learning Coaches from other faculties, I learned how to use the program Snag-It to video capture my screen while I talked through some of the starting functions of OpenLabyrinth. This method worked particularly well to have the visual prompts alongside my audio instruction. A sample video will be posted when editing is complete!
I was asked to do this project because my clinical background as a nurse and limited (zero) knowledge of the OpenLabyrinth technology. It was challenging and rewarding work to learn the program and hopefully make adoption of the technology easier for new users. This is just one way that the Taylor Institute uses technology to support teaching and learning at the University of Calgary. Keep an eye on this blog to read about many more!
This past summer, I made a course trailer for a class called KNES213: Introduction to Research in Kinesiology for Dr. Larry Katz. I want to share my experience taking on this project because I learned a lot from it and hopefully my experience can inform yours should you choose to create a course trailer of your own.
Be meticulous with your scheduling
I approached Dr. Katz mid-June with the project idea and he jumped on board right away. We set the deadline for the final project to be early September so it would be ready for his Fall 2016 class. What we did not realize in June however, was how difficult it would be to arrange meetings to complete the project. Between our travel plans and all of the other work we had over the summer, there wasn’t much wiggle room and as a result, much of the work was still left undone by August. Luckily Dr. katz has a wide network of support so while I was absent for the last two weeks of summer, the project miraculously finished itself.
Set realistic goals
You can go out and hire a whole film and production team to make a Hollywood-grade production, or you can make an amateur video that will make you cringe and groan every time you look back on it. In my opinion, the most important part of these videos is the message that you are trying to send, and video quality doesn’t necessarily take away from the message (unless your trailer is for a film and design class I suppose.) So don’t fret if you don’t have the resources for a critically acclaimed trailer, but if you do and want to invest a bit more, nobody is stopping you from going the extra mile!
Don’t be afraid to ask for help!
This project was extremely exciting in the beginning but as the deadline loomed closer and closer, it was becoming less of a fun challenge and more of a hardship. This was an especially hard truth to reconcile with since I was the one that invovled Dr. Katz in this project in the first place so I didn’t want to say I was losing faith in the project I had started. However, Dr. Katz had invited a huge team of individuals to help with the project from the get-go, so when I expressed my concern for the time constraint and my travel plans, the framework to accommodate for any bumps in the road was already present, and asking for help allowed me to realize there really wasn’t much to worry about.
All in all, making a course trailer was a fantastic experience! I got to look at the course again through a different lens, and also learned how to use amateur animation software. It was definitely a challenge that I would love to take on again.