Chris is the Head of Digital Learning within the Surrey Institute of Education. As Head of Digital Learning Chris is responsible for leading the Digital Learning Team in developing, implementing, and supporting academic staff to use contemporary technological systems, tools and practices in ways that enable successful delivery of the education strategy.
Chris initially joined Surrey in 2013 as the School of Veterinary Medicine's eLearning Coordinator, with a remit to support the use of technology to enhance the curriculum. Whilst at the Vet school Chris also took on the roles of Undergraduate Admissions Tutor, Pedagogical Development Coordinator, Chair of the Student Staff Liaison Committee and Faculty Theme Champion for Scholarship of Teaching and Learning.
Areas of specialism
University roles and responsibilities
- Head of Digital Learning
Affiliations and memberships
Business, industry and community links
Chris has an interest in how technology can enhance education, in particular the use of virtualisation and simulation to assist in the teaching of difficult concepts. He is also interested in ways of improving the student and staff experience.
Chris' teaching mainly centre's around the development of professional skills including communication and team work.
Background: The new School of Veterinary Medicine at Surrey uses a distributed model where the final year of clinical placements will take place within partner practices not within a teaching hospital. Our school thus needs significant collaboration with the veterinary profession as our training partners. We wished to see early on how closely aligned the perceptions of how best to achieve this aligned between partner practitioners and our faculty. Summary of Work: We surveyed our partners and our faculty to assess their perceptions of what skills, knowledge and attributes (SKAs) a successful new veterinary graduate would have and how they would support the students to achieve these SKAs. Using "Poll everywhere" to develop word clouds and concept mapping, we compared the results between the two groups in their perceptions of the required SKAs for new graduate success. Summary of Results: Both surveyed groups strongly agreed that the most important skill to success is “communication”. Differences in perceptions of the importance of “business / management skills training” appeared between groups with the staff failing to mention these skills despite both words appearing in the practitioner list. Health and wellness knowledge areas were missing from the practitioner group. Discussion and Conclusions: Overall, the alignment between practitioners and academics perceptions was strong with some interesting gaps in knowledge domains but not so much in domains relating to skills or attributes. Take-home messages: This study provides very useful information for us as we develop the new school to assure better alignment of expectations between us as veterinary academics and our practice partners in training our new graduates. We must as well acknowledge the limitations of any curriculum to deliver attribute training without support from both academic and clinical trainers role modelling these.
WikiVet (www.wikivet.net) is a collaborative initiative to develop a free online veterinary teaching and learning resource. As well as aiming to provide extensive content relevant to the international veterinary curriculum, it plays a major role in a number of other initiatives. Recently, one of these initiatives was a new model for collaboration with publishers in developing open educational resources (OERs). Due to the current economic challenges, students and institutions find it harder to afford expensive text books and are looking for alternatives. Sample content released as OERs, which then links to the full paid-for resource, is a way to provide benefit to both students and publishers. A number of strategies were developed in order to drive extra traffic to these new resources; including translation of the content into French and Spanish, publishing podcast versions of key content on iTunes and promoting resources using Facebook , Twitter and e-newsletter feeds. WikiVet aims to drive collaboration between universities worldwide but this is not a straightforward task without providing more guidance. Trying to solve this problem has led to another initiative aiming to build a veterinary anatomy museum combining resources from both academic institutions and commercial publishers. The overarching idea is to share resource development effectively without unnecessary duplication. To start with, the aim is to collect all the appropriate anatomy resources that are available to date. The museum is currently under development; many institutions have already expressed interest and more are joining the WikiVet initiative as a result.
An exercise was introduced into a 3rd year professional skills module; students created branching virtual cases using PowerPoint as a means to improve their understanding of clinical reasoning. They were surveyed on their opinions of the teaching activity, and reported that it was enjoyable, although difficult.
A resource was created for a third-year Neurology module using the Xerte Bootstrap template. Students were given 3 hours to work through cases and log answers in an online survey, then 1 hour for a wrap-up session where group answers were discussed then answers revealed. This format proved overwhelmingly positive for students.
In medical education, virtual patients are now widely used to support and enhance clinical teaching. However, there is still only a limited adoption of similar methods in veterinary education. This paper describes an initiative at the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) in London to develop student-authored cases during clinical rotations that were subsequently adapted for self-directed learning in the undergraduate curriculum as virtual patients. This approach was designed to enhance the quality of the clinical learning experience, assist in the development of clinical reasoning skills, and complement the existing teaching caseload. The creation of virtual patients involved a two-stage process. In the first stage, students compiled clinical case data and media from patients admitted to the teaching hospitals. They then used these resources to develop electronic cases using a customized Microsoft PowerPoint template that were presented at grand rounds to clinicians and other students. In the second stage, selected cases were further developed with the integration of self-assessment and additional media to create virtual patients for use in teaching. A survey was used to gather feedback on students' experiences in creating and using electronic cases. It was completed by 163 final-year students (81%) and the results indicated that all respondents had created electronic cases on one or more rotations (mean=4.3 rotations, range=1-9). Overall, the feedback suggested that the students found creating and using these cases useful and that the experience improved their approach to a case.
Mapping your curriculum's teaching and assessment is becoming increasingly necessary as curricula become more complicated and evolve rapidly. Curriculum mapping enables you to meaningfully capture and analyse data about your curriculum. This hands-on workshop will show you a quick and (relatively) easy way to get started with Curriculum Mapping that worked at Surrey using Google Sheets.
Lameness is commonly encountered in veterinary practice, however precise visual lameness detection requires experience. This skill is challenging to teach: exposure of students to many patients is needed to learn the necessary perceptual skills; however patients might not be readily available. Video recordings of patients can be useful, but depend on the quality of recording and variety of cases available. They are limited to two dimensional views which don’t fully replicate a real-life three dimensional examination. Following on the success of an equine lameness training tool (www.lamenesstrainer.com) developed at the Royal Veterinary College; a 3D virtual canine lameness tool is being developed to teach students to reliably recognize canine lameness. We collected 3D motion capture data from 10 non-lame Labrador retrievers at walk and trot on a treadmill. Data were captured using eight Oqus7 cameras (Qualisys, Sweden). The movement of these dogs was recorded based on 32 reflective markers positioned over key anatomical locations. Marker positions for twenty steady strides for one dog were averaged to drive the skeleton movement of a matching 3D dog model in Autodesk MotionBuilder. The final clips were rendered to show a realistic-looking shaded wireframe of the dog model at normal walk and trot. Varying types and degrees of lameness were then introduced to this animation based on previous kinematic studies. Next stages of work will involve the inclusion of this model in a tool to enable it to be used for veterinary education; once validated it will be released as an Open Educational Resource.
Introduction: The introduction of a novel open-source approach to students getting to grips with how academic a resource is: the 'fishscale of academicness' Methods: Undergraduate veterinary students were introduced to the 'Fishscale of Academicness' as a pre-learning item in a flipped classroom model. Students were assigned different veterinary educational websites and given in-workshop time to develop their own sea-creatures that help explain the level of 'academmicness' of each website. They emailed these creatures to the facilitator, who uploaded them to a seascape. The student groups took turns presenting their website and corresponding sea creature to the rest of the cohort. These oral presentations were recorded and uploaded also with the creatures. Results: Although initially reluctant, students all participated and anecdotally seemed to enjoy the process. Key findings and Implications for Education: A method exists for introducing students to the concepts and language around what makes a resource more or less academic.
Bridging the gap between classroom and clinic can be challenging for students. Additionally, the students’ clinical experience on rotations is influenced in part by caseload, which can be variable. Therefore, to complement the caseload and assist the development of clinical reasoning skills alternative methods can be beneficial. Student authored electronic cases (e-cases) have been developed at other veterinary schools. Students thought that the experience improved their approach to a case1 and case based learning has been shown to increase their self-confidence2. We modified a PowerPoint template1 for equine cases, consisting of a standard linear format based on a logical approach to cases. Students worked in groups to select an appropriate case, complete the electronic template and presented their work. Student feedback was obtained from 5 rotation groups. Students felt that completing an e-case improved their understanding of a logical approach (80%), the decision making process (80%) and their team work (60%). Overall students rated their experience as good (80%) or excellent (20%). The transition from scientific to clinical reasoning can be challenging and students are still considered to be novices when starting rotations. Using e-cases was considered beneficial by students and staff.