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Dean's Awards for Innovation in Teaching - Launched 2015

Winners of the Dean's Awards 2017 - 30,750 Euro awarded

The third year of the Dean's Awards for Innovation in Teaching sought to support innovations that would further one or more of the objectives of the Trinity Education Project. Six innovations were supported across the schools of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences, Dental Science and Medicine. Each of the 2017 innovations involve technology enhanced learning, indicating the continual growth of this area within the Faculty of Health Sciences.

Cicely Roche, School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences
This project takes a multi-disciplinary approach to moral reasoning competencies development (MRCD) primarily for use in Health Sciences. Research indicates that appropriately designed educational interventions may impact positively on MRCD as measured by a psychometric Defining Issues Test (DIT2) (Rest et al, 1999). Neo-Kohlbergian theory identifies that peer debate regarding ethical concepts, using context-specific dilemma scenarios, is particularly effective. Participants are asked to identify what action(s) might be taken and how ‘less than ideal’ action options might be justified. Having individually ‘decided’, participants must then agree in small groups. This approach involves a sequence of learning activities that aligns with a second MRCD assessment tool known as the Intermediate Concept Measure (ICM) (Bebeau & Thoma, 1999).

This project aims to enable the development of a series of interdisciplinary ICMs for use in Trinity’s Health Sciences. ICMs comprise of a short context-specific ‘dilemma’ scenario of circa 200 to 400 words, and series of action and justification choices that participants rate and rank. Dilemma scenarios include relevance to ethical principles/ concepts e.g. respect for personal autonomy, patient or societal best interests. Action and justification options reference behaviours and motivations with a focus on self-interest, maintaining rules and norms, and ‘patient’ and/or societal interests. This project plan pursues the development and expert-group review of ICMs and as such includes colleagues across schools/disciplines, students, student support services and practitioners.

Siobhan Davis, School of Dental Science
The development of clinical skills is central in the training of all healthcare professionals. Feedback and formative assessment, in clinical skills acquisition and assessment, is key to enhancing the learning within any teaching institution. Yet despite the importance of feedback in student learning, tutors and student’s perception and actions related to feedback have historically received less attention than assessment.

We propose to develop an e-learning tool that will empower students and staff to engage more meaningfully in the feedback process in the clinical learning environment (CLE). This will enhance assessment literacy and support both in the process in an effort to close the loop in feedback in learning. This e-learning multimedia resource/accessible learning resource on blackboard (the VLE) is for use in laboratory, clinical learning environment, library/home, by training clinical supervisors, faculty staff and dental students on feedback in the clinical learning environment. Emphasis will be on teaching and learning and engagement in the process. It will be technologically driven and capable of being adapted to the changing needs of the student and across other healthcare programmes.

Marie Morris, School of Medicine, Education Division
Interns report that they struggle with the transfer of skills from the classroom and simulated setting to the actual workplace. It is hypothesised that an apprentice model of actually “doing” the Intern role (sub-intern) under direct observation by senior staff may enable final year students to gain insight into the actual Intern role within the Team dynamic.

Traditionally, final year medical students shadow an Intern to observe their role. This innovation suggests taking this shadow role further in the form of actually “doing “the intern role, the underpinning educational pedagogy for this being experiential leaning. This proposal for a sub-intern role involves a fully immersive two week attachment whereby the final students are expected in the hospital the same hours as the interns. They will function in a similar (supervised) manner. They are attached within the clinical team framework, carrying out clinical tasks within their capability (as defined by the clinical team). The detailed roles will be decided by the senior clinicians on each service (as is the current direction by the Irish Medical Council under the guidance of best practice. In particular, the student must act under supervision and be empowered not to accept any roles, responsibility that he/she feels incapable of completing/ attempting.

Jean Fletcher, School of Medicine, Clinical Medicine
Immunology is a complex, jargon-heavy subject requiring a deep understanding of core concepts and detailed cellular mechanisms. Exams/student feedback indicate that the key problem for students is an inability to put the whole picture of immunology together at a system level. Lectures provide detail on each part of the immune system, but students struggle to integrate this knowledge and become bogged down in the detail, losing sight of the big picture. We propose to develop an interactive e-learning tool within Blackboard to encourage early engagement and integration of lecture material in immunology.

Maria O'Sullivan, School of Medicine, Clinical Medicine
Interprofessional Learning (IPL) aims to increase communication and team work among health professionals, to promote healthcare delivery through collaborate practice and to improve client outcomes. The process is considered a continuum, ideally beginning at the early stages of undergraduate programmes and continuing as lifelong professional development.

The Faculty of Health Sciences currently delivers a successful multidisciplinary IPL programme over three days designed for undergraduate year 3 students, the nature and scale of which necessitates intensive planning, timetabling and organisation. Applying a similar case-based team learning approach, we sought to develop IPL resources tailored for introductory level students. Importantly, however, to overcome some of the logistical barriers, this suite of resources is developed to enable flexible delivery, adaptation and customisation across disciplines. This approach also features a novel ‘Near Peer’ (student leaders) learning model. Based on the pilot workshops and feedback, it was evident that existing learning material would be complemented by audio-visual material and online resources, used in addition to the student leaders and staff facilitator(s). Allowing additional multidisciplinary voices on professional roles, and case discussion, including ‘patient’ and family voices.

Alice Witney, School of Medicine, Physiology
Optogenetic techniques; where light-activated ion channels are expressed in neurones, glia or muscle enabling their activity to be controlled remotely by light; is revolutionizing modern physiology. Typically the use of optogenetics is restricted to funded research laboratories, but this proposal will open up exposure to this methodology and the underlying theoretical concepts to undergraduate students.

This teaching innovation will enable the introduction of an important molecular technique to the teaching laboratory providing undergraduate students with state-of-the-art experience in modern techniques. The proposed project offers the opportunity to construct affordable light sources in house, and to integrate them with the existing AD instruments equipment that is used in the Physiology Department teaching lab. The well-established model system, the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogasta, with their low purchase and maintenance costs combined with limited ethical considerations, will be used to demonstrate and apply core principles.