students as producers

Student created OER and FOAMed for #openeducationwk

This week is Open Education Week so it seems appropriate to share some work recently completed by one of our Year 3 Medical Students at Dundee as part of our 4-week SSC The Doctor as Digital Teacher.

I’ve blogged before about our SSCs which see medical students developing their digital teaching skills and creating learning resources.  Over the years we’ve seen a range of different learning resources developed including online tutorials, iBooks and videos. The students are always very creative and they’ve developed some excellent resources.  We only had one student on the latest run of the SSC and I was a bit concerned that we couldn’t offer the same learning experience we usually do when we have five or six students.  Thankfully this doesn’t seem to have been the case and our student, Zoe, seems to have enjoyed the experience and has produced a super series of videos on the anatomy of the larynx.

Central to the videos is a 3D model of the larynx which our medical illustrator Annie Campbell worked up as a derivative from content from the Japanese-based BodyParts3D database.  We’ve shared this model on SketchFab so that it can be used as OER in other teaching resources.

The videos that Zoe’s created based on this model together with other content that she created, including her own hand-drawn tutorial are all posted up on Vimeo and you can view them here.

Part 1 – Anatomy of the larynx: Cartilage structures

Part 2 – Anatomy of the larynx: Membranes and muscles

Part 3 – Anatomy of the larynx: Laryngeal cancer

Students editing Wikipedia

From time to time I hear colleagues who are aghast at the thought of our students referring to Wikipedia.  I’ve often thought that rather than having a rant about students using Wikipedia, we could be getting them to critically review and edit a page and improve an entry relating to a medical topic.  Reading this paper in First Monday on assigning Wikipedia editing to students has made think about this again and explore whether this is something we can have a go at with our students.

Roth, A., Davis, R., & Carver, B. (2013). Assigning Wikipedia editing: Triangulation toward understanding university student engagement. First Monday, 18(6).

The abstract highlights:

Several themes emerged through the research and many of the dominant themes were linked. The global audience both motivated and intimidated students. Students appreciated the usefulness of contributing to Wikipedia and found satisfaction in making information accessible to the public worldwide. Students engaged with an online community and appreciated feedback and collaboration. Some recognized a degree of possessiveness that they felt toward the article. Both instructors and students observed that student research and writing skills improved. Qualitative data from both students and professors indicates that in learning basic writing skills, a Wikipedia writing assignment is comparable to a traditional research paper, however, students are more engaged in a Wikipedia assignment.

There is much talk about developing students’ digital literacy skills (or information literacy  as some of us would prefer to call them).  It strikes me that editing Wikipedia would help students develop their understanding and skills in this area as well as give them a sense of achievement.


I’m a keen advocate of getting our students involved as producers of learning and these comments from students quoted in the paper chimed a chord with me.

Many students remark on the satisfaction that their work serves a useful purpose. One student comments, “Wikipedia project = a paper I’ve written that didn’t end up in a professor’s recycling bin. Awesome.” Another one states, “I really like the fact that the work done for this class won’t just get thrown away at the end like most homework.” Another student states that it “felt good doing something that wasn’t just an assignment, but that actually benefits outsiders.”

This echoes what some of our students have been saying where they’ve been creating a learning resource as part of their dermatology block assessment, they feel they are leaving a legacy that will help and support the students coming up behind them in their learning.

Would be interesting to know if others have asked students to review and edit Wikipedia and what the outcome has been.

Students as producers of learning

Last week at the University’s annual eLearning Symposium I ran a workshop with my colleague Annalisa Manca and three of our students, Elizabeth Ferris, Scott Kendall and Satoko Orihashi, on students as producers of learning.  The workshop proved popular and our students did a super job sharing their experience of developing online learning resources.  A few people on Twitter asked if I would share the presentation from the session so here it is.

Elizabeth, Scott and Sato developed their online learning resources as part of a 4 week self-proposed student selected component (SSCs) in January.  We’ve just finished another SSC block and Elizabeth has gone on to complete another project creating stop go animations to support teaching in medical ethics.  Scott and Sato are working on summer projects developing more learning resources and both are planning on creating more etutorials for their 4th year projects.

It was great to see the students presenting at the workshop and hearing how much they enjoyed the whole SSC experience and also how much they’d learned.  This was something that was mentioned when groups were feeding back on the group activity, with several academics highlighting the fact that our students had all said that they had real fun learning. We’ve had similar feedback from our 4th year students who’ve been developing 5 minute teaching videos supported by some multiple choice and open questions as part of their dermatology block assessment. They’ve really enjoyed working together as a group and learning something because they have to develop a teaching resource. Students have also commented that developing a teaching resource seemed much more valuable than the usual essay as they were leaving a useful legacy for other students rather than an essay which once assessed would never be looked at again.

The key for me in involving students as producers is that they not only learn more about a particualr topic because they have to teach it, but they also develop other skills in the process in relation to team working, communication, problem solving and information literacy.  Our experience is that we also learn things from the students and it’s great to see them having fun and enjoying learning.