University of Bristol BILT Virtual Conference - Tales from the digital classroom

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in conference


Online seminar

Abstract: Medicine is a large complex 5-year programme of study distributed across the University, 8 NHS Trusts (Clinical Academies), mental health partnerships, several hundred General Practices as well as other health and social care providers.

To move towards fully online learning, our key challenges lay in the sheer scale of the programme and numbers of students and teachers, ensuring consistency of approach and communications with both staff and students, and providing an equitable learning experience for all our students; whether remaining in Bristol or returning home within the UK and abroad.

MB21 is our newly designed Case Based Learning (CBL) curriculum implemented so far across years 1-3. CBL forms a central part to the curriculum alongside other teaching and is provided through a blend of lectures, practical exercises, small-group tutorials, and clinical work with doctors and healthcare professionals in a variety of settings.

During CBL, students work in small groups of 10-15 people with a facilitator through a series of cases learning the professional behaviours, skills and knowledge relevant to that case. The cases are supported by a OneNote Class Notebook, containing a common shared space for content (scenario, intended learning outcomes and links to materials), for each case and a collaboration space where students add their work for sharing. Students and their facilitator meet 3 times over a 2-week cycle per case; students elect a chair and scribe to run each facilitation session writing up the discussion, and assign each other questions to research in-between sessions, saving their findings to the collaboration space. Supporting each case are relevant lectures, lab / clinical sessions and tutorials.

The OneNote Class Notebook provides both synchronous and asynchronous learning opportunities and provides part of the digital infrastructure supporting MB21. Their OneNote Class Notebook is available wherever students are on their various devices on and offline, syncing taking place when suitable connectivity is available.

Whilst adaptation to virtual online learning has been challenging for some parts of the medical curriculum, adapting to fully online delivery for CBL has been relatively straightforward. Instead of meeting face-to-face, case facilitation sessions ran using Skype for Business reducing to two synchronous session (1st and 3rd) with the second being asynchronous. Students shared narrated PowerPoint presentations and produced quizzes in Kahoot. They also submitted questions to PeerWise, a peer-led formative assessment platform for use across the whole cohort.

This presentation will focus on adapting CBL to being wholly online and include details of support for staff and students including an online handbook,, students’ weekly bulletins, ‘Ask the Experts’ sessions, a survey of where our students are together with details of their learning environment and internet connectivity, and a dedicated email box and guides for technical support. Lessons learnt and plans for refining for September 2020 and beyond will also be discussed.
Period2 Jul 2020
Event typeConference
LocationBristol, United KingdomShow on map
Degree of RecognitionLocal