How the course will be delivered
The existing learning outcomes for our modules and courses will remain in place. The same curriculum is being used in 2020/21 as in previous years, with a similar amount of contact time, though some of this will now be delivered remotely.
From September to December 2020 all students will primarily access their learning, including learning materials, via the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE), Canvas. Hands-on practical teaching and learning activities will be delivered on campus with appropriate social distancing and personal protective equipment (PPE) measures put in place, and with controls on the number of people in each location.
The online components of the course will be designed to balance interactive real-time sessions with lecturers and other students, with self-paced independent study. Students will have clear learning pathways through the activities they are expected to engage with, and there will be opportunities to check learning and progress.
We will undertake health screenings of all our students, appropriate to their learning environments, to optimise their health and safety while on this course.
Students in Years 1 and 2 will come to the campus for face-to-face teaching for only those sessions which require a physical presence and/or direct interaction with others – for example, learning clinical skills. All Year 1 students will have an initial orientation visit to the dissection room, but (at least in the first term) practical dissection sessions will be replaced with remote learning, including new filmed content and online resources, until the cohort can be accommodated safely in the dissection room. Similarly, some early years clinical and communication skills will be delivered remotely, or rescheduled until later in the course, as determined by the situation at the time.
In the clinical practice years (Years 3, 4 and 5), the curriculum is driven by 15 clinical outcomes which change in content each year and by speciality. These outcomes, together with the list of priority conditions for each speciality, drive your learning as you progress through the course and ultimately graduate. In 2020, using those 15 outcomes and priority case framework, we will teach to the same outcomes using a blended approach, informed by the St George’s online educational framework, which involves:
- remote delivery for teaching where suitable: knowledge dissemination, clinical interventions and videos of operations, case discussions, clinical reasoning, diagnostic investigations, treatments, presentations, debates, and quizzes. Staff have been trained in adapting teaching for remote learning using the online education framework.
- More focused clinical placements which are orientated to the safety of the student and the learning and practice of skills which medical students need to develop as doctors in the clinical workplace: witnessing and participating in patient safety processes; clinical communication and examination of patients; real-time investigation and treatment of patients; teamworking; multi-disciplinary team working; and practical procedures. we anticipate providing all speciality placements except for Critical Care and Anaesthetics and ENT which are deemed to be too high risk for students. We are also not allowing students to learn in areas with confirmed Covid-positive patients, for the student’s safety. The nature of placements will change as health services continue to change, and the Covid pandemic waxes and wanes.
- Enhanced provision of digital resources on Canvas, our virtual learning environment. We are steadily increasing the digital resources relating to clinical medicine which are available for medical students to review, if clinical experience available to the students on placement dips again, as it did in March 2020.
- Increased face-to-face, remote, low and high-fidelity simulation.
Even if the Covid-19 pandemic disappears, the success of our blended learning programme while placements were closed has led us to continue with parts of the blended delivery that were considered valuable by students, e.g. video tutorials about operations, but returning to the delivery of clinical education in healthcare environments for those clinical outcomes which cannot be otherwise taught.
Additional teaching about personal protective equipment (PPE), Covid-19, and how to learn effectively in a remote or blended environment has been developed.
Personal tutor support and all other student support, such as the Academic Success Centre, will also be online for this period, using a range of methods for staying in touch, such as telephone, email and the University’s web conferencing systems BigBlueButton and MSTeams.
Clinical placements in years 3, 4 and 5* years are restarting from August 2020, and there is strong support from our NHS providers, backed up by Health Education England and the GMC to keep students on placement now organizations have had time to prepare. All students on placement will be expected to undertake a risk assessment and adhere to local Trust working patterns and guidance. We are aiming to restart visits to primary care for Year 2 students after Christmas 2020.
To get the most from online study, hardware requirements have been established and communicated to all existing students and offer holders. Students will need their own personal computer or laptop and an internet connection in their place of accommodation. This needs to be in place at the start of the course. Once enrolled, students will have the ability to use Office 365 as part of our institutional licence, and access software required for their modules/courses via AppsAnywhere. In addition, we offer Office for Mac via Ofice365, but only the following applications are available for Mac: Teams, Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Outlook, OneNote. Web-based Office applications are available on Mac. Full details are available here. There is a provision for students who may struggle to meet the hardware requirements to contact our IT Hardship team.