Featured
posts / post
Challenging students to provide free text answers has the advantage that students are encouraged to come up with answers themselves rather than choosing from a predefined list. Another benefit is that educators gain the sort of insight into a student’s thinking that they would if the question was posed and discussed during an in-person tutorial session. The variety of correct responses that can be returned by students make utilising free text responses slightly more complex...
stephanie_dowdell
November 26, 2018
posts / post
In the Smart Sparrow platform an iFrame acts as a window to another website and gives you all the functionality of that website, but keeps students inside the lesson rather than directing them to view the website in another tab or window. An iFrame can be used to add a Slice image or annotation layer to a Smart Sparrow lesson. To do this, watch our short YouTube video or scroll for step-by-step instructions.   Using an...
stephanie_dowdell
October 02, 2018
posts / post
The Smart Sparrow platform has a progress bar component that can be added from the components menu into any of your tutorials. Giving your students an indication as to how far into a lesson they are helps them decide whether to stop and finish the tutorial later, or to stay and complete the lesson. Watch the set up of the Progress Bar widget in our short video or follow the the steps below:   How...
stephanie_dowdell
September 10, 2018
posts / post
The experience of working with a clinical supervisor or mentor is an important part of studying to be a health professional. It provides the opportunity to learn in a safe environment with direct feedback for students. However, good supervision is a learnt skill that impacts that quality of students learning and realistically, across all workplaces. Feedback from students suggest that there is considerable variability in the quality of supervision they get from the clinical supervisor....
stephanie_dowdell
August 20, 2018
posts / post
Medical students are skilled at understanding and learning concepts and facts. However, they lack experience responding to new pressure situations. Andrew Lovell-Simons, an educational developer from UNSW Medicine, has been working on a project that aims to give students experience in virtual scenarios, where they can test their responses without irreversible consequences. Andrew has been designing online educational resources and applications in universities for over twenty years, firstly at the University of Sydney, then Macquarie...
stephanie_dowdell
August 07, 2018
posts / post
Incorporating online resources, such as Smart Sparrow tutorials, into teaching opens up access to a suite of learning analytics. Analytics can be used to interpret student understanding and performance in order to improve the resource or to provide better support for students. Apart from the obvious difficulty of finding the time to work through this data, the challenge can be identifying which analytics to use in the interpretation of data. Dr Justine Gibson and her...
stephanie_dowdell
May 21, 2018
posts / post
BEST has recently had a series of engaging tutorials focused on Evidence-based Medicine contributed by Dr Rachel Thompson (UNSW Sydney) and her colleagues from UNSW and Prince of Wales Clinical School (POWCS). Rachel was kind enough to answer a few questions for us to discuss the importance of Evidence-based Medicine, what they’ve developed and how it is being used.   Stephanie: What is Evidence-based medicine and why is it so important? Rachel: Evidence-based practice (EBP)...
stephanie_dowdell
May 14, 2018
posts / post
The underlying premise of the BEST Network is that across biomedical/biological disciplines at tertiary education institutions, many of us are teaching our students the same topics, though in different ways. Instead of the unnecessary duplication of teaching modules at many institutions, BEST enables us to share and adapt modules to tailor them to the way we teach our own unique students. This saves us, and our institutions, time and money as well as enhancing the...
nicholas_hawkins
February 19, 2018
posts / post
Creating online tutorials improves the learning experience for students. Dr Vanessa Hughes, from the University of Sydney, pushes this concept to a whole new level. As well as giving theory real-world relevance, she uses the Smart Sparrow platform analytics from her tutorials to individually support her students and identify those at risk. The results are impressive: her courses are highly rated by students and their grades reflect this high level of satisfaction. Dr Hughes coordinates...
amelie_casgrain
August 22, 2017
posts / post
The BEST Network is excited to announce that BrainStorm is now available through BEST. BrainStorm is an interactive online program for learning Neuroanatomy. Developed by Dr Elizabeth Tancred, the program is used in neuroanatomy courses around the world. The comprehensive atlas of human neuroanatomical structures includes images of gross dissections, myelin stained cross-sections and MR images supported by diagrams and text screens. BrainStorm is an excellent complementary resource to existing Neuroanatomy courses. It allows students...
stephanie_dowdell
August 02, 2017
posts / post
The Learning Innovation Summit, held on 21 July at Collins Square in Melbourne, began with series of standing room only presentations. Professor Beverley Oliver from Deakin University highlighted how Universities needed to change their recognition of student skills. She called for the need to go beyond the traditional measurement of learning gains in response to workplace demand for translatable skills. We also heard of the teaching styles being envisioned by Professor Ariel Anbar and his...
stephanie_dowdell
July 27, 2017
posts / post
Potted Pathology specimens play an important role in teaching students the macroscopic features of disease. However, maximising the learning opportunity through independent review of the pot alone can be challenging. To address this, a series of interactive online lessons focusing on physical specimens were created at the Integrated Pathology Learning Centre, University of Queensland. The lessons were developed by a team of pathologists, including Dr Mohit Shahi and Dr Archana Sudarsan, working with senior medical...
stephanie_dowdell
June 29, 2017
posts / post
What’s next after you’ve developed a series of lessons and activities for your students? This was the point that Dr Kelly Linden reached, culminating in the development of a beautiful interactive “Learn Space” through which her anatomy students would access the modules. At Charles Sturt University, where Kelly teaches, a proportion of students studying anatomy undertake their studies via distance education. These students simply don’t get the same access to donated cadavers, used for studying...
stephanie_dowdell
June 02, 2017
posts / post
Clinical decision making requires healthcare professionals to assess an array of patient information and to choose the best possible treatment option for the individual. Ranked decision making is an important way to develop and assess decision-making skills in students. Dr Narelle Shadbolt from the Sydney Medical School has been creating ranked decision questions in Smart Sparrow for both formative and summative assessment, with support from Nicholas Randal and Andrew Barr. Modules include a brief description...
stephanie_dowdell
April 05, 2017
posts / post
In 2015, a small team from the University of Melbourne came together with the goal of creating a resource for a large first year postgraduate Medicine class focusing on the “Principles of Envenomation [Snakebite]”. The aim was to “flip the classroom”, providing more time in the face-to-face session for discussion with students around topic specific prior learning. The team consisted of Dr Ken Winkel, a leading Australian Toxinologist, who teaches into the Medical Program at...
stephanie_dowdell
March 20, 2017
posts / post
It’s a common problem that faces many course coordinators, laboratory class demonstrators and tutors – students being unprepared for practical classes. One approach to address this is to develop compulsory interactive modules that prepare students for classes. Students are typically given pre-class material in their manuals to prepare before coming to their practical sessions, along with a quick introduction to the topic and requirements by their demonstrator. However due to some students not reading or...
stephanie_dowdell
March 06, 2017
posts / post
stephanie_dowdell
February 17, 2017
posts / post
Support for MRI and CT scan images is coming to Slice in 2017 thanks to a grant from the Institute for Teaching and Learning Innovation (ITaLI) at the University of Queensland. Slice has hosted radiology images since its inception; however, they were restricted to X-rays and single frames of z-stack images. The new functionality will be designed to make it easy for students to interpret and interact with MRI and CT scans. Estimated for release...
stephanie_dowdell
February 08, 2017
posts / post
Encouraging students to develop learning activities on course content was the approach taken by Associate Professor Gareth Denyer from the University of Sydney in his Human Biochemistry course. In 2016, Advanced students were tasked with building a Smart Sparrow lesson on a topic of their choosing related to their Biochemistry practicals. Students were introduced to the Smart Sparrow platform for one hour and were given guidelines regarding the duration and number of questions their lesson...
stephanie_dowdell
January 16, 2017
posts / post
Dr Justine Gibson, Lecturer in Veterinary Bacteriology and Mycology at The University of Queensland, together with a team of academics and students, is creating a series of cross-discipline, case-based modules for Veterinary Science students. These modules progress from simple scenarios that are delivered early in the first year of the Veterinary Science course, to complex clinical cases in the final year. A total of three modules are planned and are being built with the Smart...
stephanie_dowdell
January 03, 2017
posts / post
Utilising the collaborative annotation tool in Slice, Patrick de Permentier (UNSW Australia) created an interactive activity in one of his histology lectures. Over 400 students learnt about the layers of tissue that made up an artery and were then asked to identify these on a group layer by placing coloured pins on each area. After a few minutes of annotating, all of the anonymous student pins were revealed on the lecture screen and were overlayed...
stephanie_dowdell
December 08, 2016
posts / post
Flow Cytometry is a core technology, widely used in research and diagnostic laboratories. Due to its complexity and cost, stringent health and safety requirements as well as the lack of availability of equipment and reagents, the way this important technique is taught at institutions can include minimal, if any, hands on experience for undergraduate students. Furthermore training at a more senior level is time intensive. In recent years, practical classes focused on Flow Cytometry have...
stephanie_dowdell
July 18, 2016
posts / Post
The Smart Sparrow platform has a helpful Progress Bar widget that can be copied from one of the BEST Network templates into any of your tutorials. Giving your students an indication as to how far into a lesson they helps them decide whether to stop and finish the tutorial later, or to stay and complete the lesson. Set up the Progress Bar widget by following these steps: Create a layer by clicking NEW then Layer...
stephanie_dowdell
February 17, 2016
posts / Post
Late last year, we reviewed an activity run by Dr Nalini Pather in one of her final lectures for the year. Aiming to use the session for revision and feedback, the Slice collaborative annotation tool was used to allow her students to mark regions on anatomy images before the entire class reviewed all of the annotations and received feedback on their understanding. At the same time, the Smart Sparrow Poll tool was used to assess...
stephanie_dowdell
February 11, 2016
posts / post
At Charles Sturt University, Dr Reza Mortazavi has been using both Slice and adaptive tutorials to teach students studying haematology. Dr Mortazavi contributed 47 blood film whole slide images to Slice, ranging from anaemia to leukaemia. With the support of Dr Lucy Webster, Reza used these images in two tutorials that required students to complete a differential diagnosis on a blood film in order to diagnose a patient case. Reza also utilised five cases available...
stephanie_dowdell
December 03, 2015
posts / post
In July 2015, we released new functionality for Slice that gave users more flexibility in the types of activities they conducted in practical classes and lectures. Here we run through the basics of the new features: Making annotations can now be a group activity Click the ‘INVITE’ button to generate a link specific to the annotation layer that can be shared via Moodle, email, or social media. Control the way members interact Under the “Edit...
stephanie_dowdell
November 27, 2015
posts / post
Upon the release of the Slice annotation tool, a team of academics at UNSW Australia trialled the functionality in eight class activities. In this series, we’ll be sharing what worked, what didn’t and how you can try this in your own classes. Overview of activity For two histopathology classes, Dr Betty Kan had previously created annotation layers with questions for students to answer using the annotation tool. With the development of the new annotation tool,...
stephanie_dowdell
November 26, 2015
posts / post
Upon the release of the Slice annotation tool, a team of academics at UNSW Australia trialled the functionality in eight class activities. In this series, we’ll be sharing what worked, what didn’t and how you can try this in your own classes. Overview of activity After trialling an activity where a large student cohort was broken up into smaller groups for an annotation activity, Patrick de Permentier created two exercises where: All students annotated on...
stephanie_dowdell
November 24, 2015
posts / post
Upon the release of the Slice annotation tool, a team of academics at UNSW Australia trialled the functionality in eight class activities. In this series, we’ll be sharing what worked, what didn’t and how you can try this in your own classes. Overview of the activity While Slice can be used to give students feedback, not all activities require academics to have visibility of student work. Often Patrick de Permentier conducts his histology classes by...
stephanie_dowdell
November 20, 2015
posts / post
Upon the release of the Slice annotation tool, a team of academics at UNSW Australia trialled the functionality in eight class activities. In this series, we’ll be sharing what worked, what didn’t and how you can try this in your own classes. Overview of activity This activity was designed to test how the annotation tool worked when students were asked to: Work in small groups, to Find one feature, On which they would receive teacher...
stephanie_dowdell
November 18, 2015
posts / post
Upon the release of the Slice annotation tool, a team of academics at UNSW Australia trialled the functionality in eight class activities. In this series, we’ll be sharing what worked, what didn’t and how you can try this in your own classes. Overview of activity For a class of approximately 80 students, this activity required students to work in four groups of 20, to label multiple features. At the end of the activity, the class...
stephanie_dowdell
November 16, 2015
posts / competition
Slice is the world’s most advanced biomedical image bank. With over 18,600 images across a variety of disciplines and an annotation tool that allows you to mark features, Slice offers a quick and easy way to teach and learn with biomedical images. They say that the best way to master something is through developing the ability to teach it. As Confucius said - “I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do...
stephanie_dowdell
September 11, 2015
posts / post
The Federal Education Minister Christopher Pyne recently announced a reduced round of grants from his Office for Learning and Teaching (OLT). He also called for a new university-based institute that will be focused on “substantial sector-wide initiatives”. It is expected that this will result in fewer if not smaller grants. Over two decades, OLT and its predecessors have sought to “develop and drive innovation in higher education teaching and learning”, both by recognising the brilliance...
nicholas_hawkins
July 17, 2015
posts / case study
I recently had the opportunity to attend a presentation given by Dr Louise Lutze-Mann focusing on her experiences creating online learning materials for her students. Over the past few years, Louise has focused on teaching students to ‘think like scientists’. This has involved redesigning a number of her lectures and practical classes to give students more practical or research experience. To do this, Louise partnered with Smart Sparrow to transform laboratory classes that are restricted...
stephanie_dowdell
April 09, 2015
posts / case study
Teaching anatomy in institutions that do not have access to cadavers can be challenging. The Endeavour College of Natural Health integrates clinical anatomical teaching with many of their clinical courses ensuring students have a strong grounding in biomedical science. I have been teaching this course for over 4 years. My students love clinical anatomy and I love when I can make the experience relevant to them. Before the BEST Network, I utilized images from our...
johanna_elms
March 25, 2015
posts / post
Now that classes are back in session, it’s been great to see the flurry of activity happening on the BEST Portal this week. The biggest spikes in activity occur when classes are run using the Slice image bank. Students are using the Slice annotation tool to mark features on images as guided by their teachers. These annotations then serve as study notes and are shareable with both friends and teachers. This month alone we’ve registered...
stephanie_dowdell
March 06, 2015
posts / case study
Phase 1 of the UNSW Medicine program covers microscopic anatomy and pathology, and has utilised virtual microscopy images since 2004. In Semester 2, 2014, for the first time, online practical examinations with automated marking were employed by Associate Professor Gary Velan (Head, Dept of Pathology). This program already makes use of a number of adaptive tutorials created by Associate Professor Velan using the Smart Sparrow platform (available on BEST), but assessment has traditionally involved students...
stephanie_dowdell
February 22, 2015
posts / post
A year has passed since the BEST Network was launched and we thought a good way to mark the occasion would be to share with you just how much the site has grown in that time.
stephanie_dowdell
October 18, 2014
posts / post
In the Department of Physiology at the University of Melbourne, Jairus Bowne, Charles Sevigny and David Williams are using the Smart Sparrow platform to deliver content to their students. Jeremy Goh recently helped to get these tutorials integrated into the Learning Management System at the University of Melbourne. Examples of the Physiology Departments’ tutorials include a tutorial on Excitation-Contraction Coupling, featuring dynamic videos with descriptive text explaining concepts relating to muscles and their excitation and...
stephanie_dowdell
September 28, 2014
posts / case study
Slice is a useful tool for showing biomedical images in lectures, particularly when; The image is large and you can’t show it all at a suitable level of magnification You want to make the image easily accessible to your students in a resolution that is superior to what they will get from a PDF of your PowerPoint slide You want to include annotations that guide your student as to relevant aspects of the image, and...
nicholas_hawkins
September 26, 2014
posts / post
The creation of personal annotation layers on Slice has seen a huge increase in the number of annotations. Slice has over 500 annotation layers and over 1400 annotations, with these numbers growing by the day. Academics are using Slice in class in a variety of ways, with students annotating images in real-time, incorporating annotations posing questions into classroom activities, as notes for class tutors or circulating annotated images to students with the correct answers at...
stephanie_dowdell
September 22, 2014
posts / post
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but for the images on Slice, words are important too. Slice hosts over 9000 images contributed by academics and healthcare professional from around the world. Thanks to these contributions, Slice has a huge variety of images, including macroscopic, microscopic and radiology images, as well as photographs of laboratory specimens and diagrams. Finding images within the image bank is possible because well curated descriptive data (metadata) is...
stephanie_dowdell
July 27, 2014
posts / post
Slice now hosts over 800 radiographic images including X-rays, CT scans and MRI images. Having access to these diagnostic images is essential for training medical students in evidence-based medicine. The image collections available on Slice provide medical students with more examples of a wide variety of both normal and abnormal conditions diagnosed by radiographic images, giving students non-hospital based practise with clinical decision making. Diagnostic image collections available on Slice. The BEST Network recently received...
stephanie_dowdell
June 16, 2014
posts / post
Searching Slice Due to the size of the Slice image bank growing by the month, we recently focused on making finding the right image faster and easier. We are excited to release an advanced search tool tailored to biomedical images: Searching starts with the free text search bar. Search results are ranked so that the most relevant images are presented first. To further refine a search result, filters can be applied. Search results can be...
ariel_shoham
June 12, 2014
posts / post
On BEST, adapting an already available tutorial for your own teaching is the easiest way to get started creating tutorials. An example of this is the story of how one tutorial was created and then adapted to teach different concepts at three universities across Australia. The Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) virtual lab was created by Dr Louise Lutze-Mann to be used in undergraduate science and medicine classes at the University of New South Wales to...
nirmani_wijenayake
June 02, 2014
posts / post
In semester 1, 2014, senior medical students participating in the Rational Use of Investigations (RUI) course at the University of New South Wales used the BEST Network image bank, Slice, in their study of histopathology. Taking advantage of new Slice annotation tool features, including private layers on images, Slice allowed students to work as a group, online, in class or remotely to analyse and annotate virtual slides. The RUI course focuses on diagnostic pathology and...
stephanie_dowdell
May 18, 2014
posts / post
BEST Network members have free access to a collection of more than 60 Courseware tutorials across a range of biomedical disciplines. Courseware describes high quality, peer-reviewed tutorials contributed by leading academics from major universities across Australia. The current Courseware tutorials available of BEST are divided into the following categories: Number of tutorials available in various disciplines as of May 2014. Sharing Courseware on BEST Academics create content designed for use by their students. As well...
nirmani_wijenayake
May 16, 2014
posts / post
All of the BEST lessons on the Courseware page, as well as the entire collection of slides on SLICE were sourced by the BEST community of academics. Please contact us if you wish to share a lesson on BEST. Sharing a BEST lesson will go through the following stages: Copying your lesson to the BEST network account, to create a clean master copy of the lesson Making some improvements in the design Testing in several...
ariel_shoham
March 23, 2014
posts / post
SLICE is a biomedical Image Bank. It allows BEST members to contribute their thoughts to a discussion on virtual histology slides and images of diseases; It allows them to learn from peers and share their insights with colleagues and students, and practically, bring SLICE resources to life! SLICE includes tools for looking at the images and understanding what they are – tools for discussing, annotating, and collaboratively enriching SLICE images with more insights and information....
ariel_shoham
March 11, 2014
posts / post
The ‘Phase One Practical Project’ (P1P) is an initiative funded by the BEST Network to develop next-generation online biomedical material for the Phase 1 Medical program practicals (Year 1 and 2) at UNSW. This project involved 20 academics working together to create online courseware elements that focused on learning threshold or key concepts in Medicine. Watch the following clip to find out more: These lessons are now available on Phase 1 Medicine page and cover...
ariel_shoham
January 12, 2014
posts / post
We all want to fulfill our teaching potential and produce better learning outcomes, but at the same time, we need it to fit into our busy lives. Between Research and publications, supervising PhD students and writing grant applications, there is less and less time for keeping core teaching skills up to date, let alone learning new education methodologies and the latest technology. Introducing the “Lesson Starter” initiative: The BEST team will help you create a...
ariel_shoham
January 09, 2014