Pacific professors embrace technology for remote instruction
While it is disappointing for college students around the country needing to continue with remote instruction this fall, students will have more opportunities to work on projects outside of the traditional research papers or PowerPoint presentations to which they have grown accustomed.
University of the Pacific professors are working hard to embrace technology and provide students the opportunity to use different modalities to show what they have learned. Pharmacy professors Deepti Vyas and Edward Rogan are doing exactly that in their professional communications skills course.
"In a normal in-person environment students learn how to speak to patients and colleagues by practicing role-play scenarios in a classroom," said Vyas. "Since we can't be together this semester we had to work on finding a way to provide students with virtual opportunities to practice these interactions."
Vyas and Rogan worked together to create seven YouTube videos to provide online simulations of pharmaceutical professional communications. Each video shows different techniques medical professionals can use when speaking to patients ranging from using motivational interviewing, patient history, Situation-Background-Assessment-Recommendation technique method or dispelling vaccine myths.
Once students have watched these videos they are placed in breakout rooms where teacher assistants pretend to be patients and the students need to ask questions to give recommendations for what they would offer over the counter to treat the patient.
"When practicing role-play situations during an in-person class, it can sometimes be a loud and chaotic environment where it is hard to focus," commented Vyas. "In some ways, there is an advantage to practicing role-play scenarios on a Zoom call. Students are able to focus on their own conversations and be more aware of themselves."
Students will take a survey before the beginning of the course to determine the areas they want to work on to improve their communication skills. At the end of the semester, they will then take the same survey to see how they have grown throughout the course.
“This survey allows us to test how a student’s emotional intelligence grows throughout the course,” said Vyas. “We often see most students do improve because they strategically focus on certain areas of communication where they are weaker.”