Professor Susan Rhind on inspiring and educating students.
Professor Susan Rhind, Chair of Veterinary Education, discusses some of the different projects going on at the Vet School, which have been designed to inspire and educate students (5m 26s).
“Teaching is such a fundamental part of what we do here as educators, so I would rate teaching equally, on the same level as research. It’s really important that we enthuse our students, inspire our students, as well as educating them in the best way that we can.
A few years ago now we started a collaboration with Edinburgh College of Art to explore the potential for 3D printing. Veterinary medicine, by definition, is a very practical, hands-on kind of discipline, and there are certain things that you, obviously students have to learn quite a lot of things from text books and so on, but because of the nature of the animals and the animal body, every organ is a 3D structure in and of itself.
So we wanted to explore the potential for 3D printing to allow us to generate 3D prints of real animal tissues.”
“This is a skull of a dog from a CT scan. It’s not real, it’s 3D printed. Which the 3D printing allows us quite a lot of flexibility in appreciating this anatomy and looking at it.
We can scale it up, we can scale it down, for instance a horse skull is very large so it’s quite good to be able to scale that down, makes it a bit lighter as well. And we can also slice it in any sort of plane that we want to.
For instance, we can slice it down the middle and we can see both halves of the skull and appreciate the different structures that are in there and get an idea of what’s actually going on internally, deep to everything, and the students can actually hold and handle this themselves and get a better appreciation of that.”
“We’ve had a strong history here in e-learning and we had a very interesting project running this summer when we were actually involving students themselves in generating resources for other students.
This project was called the DynaMed project, short for Dynamic Media Library. So we got students involved in guiding us, actually, as to what they felt they would need in terms of video resources and the idea was then to imbed these video resources around the school in areas where students would find them most helpful.
So they weren’t having to go and, for example, be in the clinics and be wanting a reminder of the proper procedure for doing a particular technique.
They wouldn’t have to go back to their computer to look at that, they could take out their iphone, or their ipad, scan the QR code, and get immediate access to that video resource.”
“We focused a lot on what did we need in our first couple of years of study. What did we need when we first got to the University.
Things that we weren’t familiar with when we arrived here and would have like to have known. Even just very basic things like you might not think of, that aren’t directly involved in the course material.
But, for example, we made some videos about basic lab techniques that not everybody comes to the school knowing how to do already, and that’s not exactly something that is directly related to what you’re learning but it’s something you need to be adept in the lab and in later years when you’re learning pathology and things like that so… There’s always a worry that if you’re looking for resources externally you might be looking at information that isn’t in line with what you’re learning at the school.
So this a nice way of making sure that what we’re being taught here is then also represented in any of our extra resources, so it all fits in together with the protocols and exactly what the school is, not endorsing, but the techniques that are taught here that might be different elsewhere.
So we make sure that you’re always learning everything within that same learning environment.”
“It felt like you were kind of directly contributing to what was going on in the University. Instead of just maybe doing it through filling in a survey form or talking at one of the meetings that we have to discuss what’s going on in the school.
You actually felt like you could have a role in producing exactly what you wanted and again it wasn’t going through somebody else, it was exactly what the students wanted, for the students in a way.
And obviously I learned a lot about the making of the videos, the editing, and I think that’s something that I’ll hopefully use throughout my career, and possibly in a career that would involve teaching.
And I think it’s even more important as a vet or something, as a job like that, because we will ultimately spend our lives teaching people or telling them what they need to do, or advising them.
And having that kind of view from the other side where you’re trying to make something that’s accessible, it also kind of improves your interpersonal skills because you know how you’re going to rephrase things, how you can say things, how you can picture things and imagine things in order to make everybody know and make it clear in the best way possible.”
“I think that the great thing about being involved in teaching is being involved with the students, and it’s a completely, you know the relationship is so powerful in terms of each learning from each other, and I think the other point about being involved in teaching as more of a career focus, is there’s lots of opportunities to actually get involved in research around education in whatever discipline you happen to be working in.
We here have focused quite a lot on educational research, obviously in the veterinary context, but there’s lots that we can learn about the student experience, about assessment, about feedback, about resources that we can prepare to help and support our students, and I think it’s really important that we keep doing this, we keep questioning what we’re doing, we keep involving students in the discussion so that we can evolve our teaching as our students change.
We can evolve our teaching to meet their needs as best as we can.”