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Communications intern Alice Doyle finds out how sleep medicine went Zooming Away in 2017...

The Aims

To improve the digital learning resources available for the Oxford Online Programme in Sleep Medicine (OOPSM)

Nicola Barclay's 2017 TEA Project Award application was split between piloting a business subscription with the (at the time) novel platform 'Zoom', and purchasing AV recording equipment to improve the quality of the recorded Panopto lectures.

The Course

Aimed at practicing healthcare professionals, the part-time, postgraduate OOPSM course was launched by Prof. Colin Espie and Drs. Nicola Barclay, Sumathi Sekaran, Simon Kyle and Christopher-James Harvey in 2016.

Initially, lectures were recorded via Panopto using a webcam, and discussion groups were held via Webex. Once I'd taken myself off mute, Nicola told me that technical limitations weren't doing justice to the award-winning course.

Luckily, Damion Young from the MSD Learning Technologies Team, had identified a suitable platform that would meet all of our needs, 'Zoom'

Benefits of Zoom

A lecture taking place on Zoom

  1. Reliable scheduling system
  2. Can be fully integrated into WebLearn
  3. Optimised for mobile or handheld device
  4. Up to 49 webcams can be visible in a group call
  5. Video break-out rooms are available

Next StepS

Zoom proved a roaring success, even before the events of 2020 transformed it from 'pioneering platform' to a regular feature of lockdown. Nicola and her fellow OOPSM lecturers were able to compare feedback from the 2016 cohort with that of the 2017 Zoom pilot cohort, and have since become such experts in all things Zoom that their experience and guidance has been incredibly useful to other courses within the division.

...rather than meeting students’ expectations, we aim to exceed them, and one way to achieve this is to enhance the recording quality of our lectures

Similarly, the improved AV equipment purchased with the 2017 TEA award transformed OOPSM lectures. Green screen recorded lectures received even better feedback from students and lecturers alike, and the recording studio has since been in high demand.

Nicola and her team were awarded their 2019 funding to develop new ways of assessing students, including trialling the use of remote proctoring for exams.

So be prepared for more innovative ideas for the 2021 awards!