"Online teaching has helped keep a level of normality and connection to my studies"
Published: 06 July 2020
Teaching has moved online at St George’s following the UK government’s implementation of lockdown in response to the Covid-19 outbreak. Penultimate year medic, May Al-Shawk, discusses what the change has been like for her.
“As a penultimate year medic, I am supposed to be on placement but the pandemic has dashed any hopes of attending this in person. My first online session was a virtual ward round delivered by one of the clinical teaching fellows. I was a bit confused about what this would consist of but, long story short, we were given a patient list and then had to work through it to clinically review the patients and make a treatment plan for each one, including assessment, diagnosis and management.
“The format was surprisingly similar to my experiences on a physical round – but I was doing it from the comfort of my own home and I had the opportunity to ask the expert as we were going along. Like any new format, remote learning did take time to get used to. For a lot of us it was the first time that we were either teaching or learning in this manner and there were some elements that worked better than others.
“Teaching and learning is naturally very interactive and, if you aren’t used to looking at a screen or talking through a webcam, it can feel a bit alien at first. Despite this, I feel that we have all settled in well as we are seeing the same faces regularly, albeit through a screen!”
Good for morale
“So far my remote learning has consisted of virtual ward rounds, case based discussions, patient roleplays/simulations, online lectures and online multiple choice quizzes, all of which have been delivered by doctors, clinical fellows and senior lecturers.
“As I am in a clinical year I have been a big fan of the virtual ward rounds. The rounds are tailored to get you thinking about how the doctor would act - essentially a simulation - which I find very interesting and effective.
“Personally, I feel that the sessions have been good for morale. The online teaching has helped keep a level of normality and connection to my studies, as well as some human interaction outside my immediate family. I am very thankful for the time and effort that has gone in to making sure that my remote teaching has been interactive, interesting and engaging and I am very hopeful that this continues to be the case in the future.
“I think that the pandemic has forced teachers to think about how we as students learn if we cannot observe and physically practice many of the skills we need to hone; while as students, it has forced us all to evaluate our education and what factors make it effective and enjoyable.
“Whilst remote learning will never replace a face to face interaction with a patient, remote learning provides a great opportunity to ensure a baseline level of teaching quality amongst students of the same cohort.”