Installation Profile: AV Rx
Dec 1, 2008 12:00 PM, By John W. DeWitt
Two labs exemplify the latest technology-driven transformations in the world of healthcare education.
Advanced audio and visual technologies have proliferated over the past decade in both healthcare facilities and educational institutions. So it's no surprise that AV systems are transforming the delivery of medical education. Online learning with video and audio is one widespread application, but the transformation of the traditional medical classroom and laboratory has also proceeded apace, with high-end AV technology used to amplify, enhance, and supplement face-to-face instruction and dialogue in a classroom setting.
The Northeastern Ohio Universities Colleges of Medicine and Pharmacy (NEOUCOM) provides an illustrative example. Founded in 1973 and located in Rootstown, Ohio, NEOUCOM graduates roughly 100 doctors annually. In 2007, it opened its pharmacy school with a class of 73 students. Recently, NEOUCOM experienced a revolution in audio and visual instruction, culminating in its latest project: AVI-SPL designed and implemented two state-of-the-art instructional laboratories for medical and pharmacy students.
“In five years, we've transformed all the teaching spaces literally from chalkboard and whiteboard presentations to advanced AV systems,” says Ron McGrady, the university's director of information technology. “It started with instructors walking in with a projector, hooking the computer to it manually. But now all the classrooms are set up so the instructors can present their materials electronically with the touch of a few buttons.”
This transformation of the instructional setting has been driven by the need to meet the expectations and learning requirements of a new, technology-savvy generation of students.
“In the old school, if you missed a lecture, you were out of luck,” McGrady says. “But today, you have to recognize that students are your customers, and in the digital age, students learn differently. They expect course materials online if they miss a class, and they can multi-task. They can have an iPod going, get a call on their wireless phone, and be computing all at the same time. That's been the transformation, and the technology has evolved that enables them to do that.”
However, students are not the only users of AV systems and other learning technologies. McGrady and his staff have learned that widespread adoption by faculty requires careful attention to the user interface.
“Faculty were more the late adopters of technology, but what I've found is if you build quality solutions and enable those people to function on their own, they're more than happy to try to utilize the technology,” McGrady says. “But if you make it cumbersome, make their focus go away from the presentation of the materials, then they're not going to use the technology.”
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