Pharmacy podcasts available after grant
The College of Pharmacy have used a $25,000 grant to develop web-video broadcasts to better present material to students, officials said.
The grant, which was awarded by the University, paid for quality-editing equipment and professional editing software.
Because class time is limited in pharmaceutical courses, lectures are recorded on web-video broadcasts, or video podcasts, so teachers can use the remaining time to interact with students, Heidi Bragg, Pharmacy Skills Program coordinator and clinical assistant professor, said.
"Students can experience the material before they come to class and revisit the material anytime they need to – that way when they come to class they have most of the basics down, which dramatically speeds up the learning process when they can focus on practicing what they learned," Bragg said.
The video podcasts are used in the Pharmacy Skills Program to teach skills such as blood pressure evaluation, syringe preparation and scanning for bone density.
Before the grant, Bragg and David Wallace, clinical assistant professor, would put the materials on a CD-ROM and distribute it to students.
Putting the course material on a CD-ROM was tedious and inconvenient when professors had to update information, Wallace said.
"If we ever wanted to change anything, students would still have the old (CD-ROM) and we couldn’t update it," Wallace said.
Having the material on video podcast format made editing much easier, Wallace said.
"When you watch things that are on television or the Web, people say, ‘They just sat down and shot the video, edited it quickly and posted it,’" Wallace said. "But there are issues with lighting, continuity, sound and so many other little things. It has really opened my eyes and made me realize that doing a 30-minute video can take up to four hours to shoot."
A communication student was also hired to help with the video editing since neither Bragg nor Wallace had much experience in that field, Bragg said.
Wallace is considering hiring a student from the music department to develop background music for future video podcasts.
These video podcasts are also posted on WebCT for pharmacy students to use. Students can upload the video podcasts onto their iPods, although it might not be the best option.
"There are some disadvantages to this due to screen sizes," Wallace said. "The letters are too small on the screen, so what I’ve begun to do is put a pdf file of my slides so students can print them out and use it as they watch the videos."
Wallace said that in the future, the professors might even consider using YouTube, though Bragg was more skeptical.
"Is youtube.com out of the possibilities? I guess not," Bragg said. "But I don’t really see it as being our forum. Some universities are doing it now, but I don’t think students could see it as a place for educational material."
The College of Pharmacy also received a $20,000 grant that will be used to develop online courses for pharmacy administration master’s students.
"Originally we wanted to put the courses completely online," Sujit Sansgiry, assistant professor and director for graduate studies for the Department of Clinical Sciences and Administration, said. "But we’re not sure because our courses are research intensive, so now we are going more towards developing a hybrid course."
These courses will be electives for the pharmacy administration program but can also be applied to the doctoral degree plan, Sansgiry said.
The master’s courses should be available by fall 2008.