Microbiology 263 is a key component of the nursing degree programme and as of this year it is the first accredited tertiary level telecourse in Australia at degree level. It will be broadcast via satellite on GWN's educational network Ed TV in July, August and September 1990.
The telecourse was developed by the Schools of Medical Technology and Nursing, in conjunction with the Educational Media Centre and the Centre for External Studies at Curtin University. Microbiology 263 is a compulsory unit in the nursing degree programme; failing the unit twice results in termination from the programme. The telecourse unit will be offered externally to registered nurses with Nursing Diplomas who wish to upgrade their qualifications to degree status.
The unit is now made up of 18 video lectures and 12 laboratory demonstrations together with a Unit Guide, a Study Manual, a Practical Workbook and a Booklet of Answers. It is intended that these materials be used in conjunction with a published text. As part of the unit, external students will be expected to attend a two day workshop at their closest hospital laboratory.
The other major difficulty was the cost of transporting and maintaining the microscopes needed by the students to view their practical material. The cheapest microscope costs about $2000 and would be difficult to maintain in working order on the road.
A five day workshop in Perth was proposed as a solution to the problem. It was estimated that five days would be needed for the lecturer to do the practical demonstrations and for the students to follow up with supervised hands on experience. However, the cost of bringing students to Perth for this period was prohibitive.
Aside from the difficulties involved in externalising Microbiology 263, the lecturers for the nursing microbiology units on campus were facing the monumental problem of assessing 700 students per year. Students were required to submit ten brief practical assessments, two tests and an examination during the course of the unit. This in turn provided a daunting, not to mention tedious, task of assessment for the lecturers involved.
The question of assessment has also been solved with the externalisation of the unit. Instead of submitting the required assessments to be marked by lecturers on campus, students will complete self assessment tasks at the end of each module in the unit. Answer Booklets will be provided. The motivation to complete these tasks is that by so doing students know that they are preparing for their final examination. Lecturers are now left with the less onerous task of marking only the end of unit exam paper.
The Practical Workbook outlines the objectives for each practical demonstration and guides students through the various demonstrated exercises on the video. It also includes self assessment questions to be answered by the students. An Answer Booklet will supply, in full, the answers to tasks and questions in the Practical Workbook.
The text is Microbiology: An introduction (Tortora, Funke and Case, 1989). The publisher has allowed us to use material from the text in the videos. This provides the course with a continuity which ties the whole unit together.
Our external students will be required to attend the 2 day workshop at their closest hospital laboratory before taking their final examination. Relevant guidelines will be sent to the technologist in charge of each hospital laboratory. Following the workshop the technologist will complete a standardised report sheet on the students' performance. This report will have some bearing on the final grading at the end of the semester.
We can clearly show, in closeup, processes which, in the past, could be demonstrated only through "live" practical sessions. We can clearly demonstrate the use of sophisticated medical technology, which would not ordinarily be accessible to students in remote areas. We can show live and preserved specimens of organisms which may not be available to external students in remote areas. We can make the presentation more interesting and effective by using special effects such as having two or more images on the screen at one time.
Students can video record the entire programme of lectures and practical sessions. This allows them greater flexibility and more control over their own learning.
The self assessment component of the unit allows students to make mistakes in private.
We used a video camera attachment to record greatly magnified shots of the view through a microscope. These shots, together with shots of additional illustrations and textual material were edited in later.
To further reduce costs there was no formalised scripting for the production, and our schedule and respective workloads allowed little time for rehearsals. This required the presenters to be well prepared, highly organised and concise. The strategy for the recording of each lecture or demonstration was a preliminary meeting to discuss
It is hoped that the course will be used in part, or in total, with on campus as well as external students. The market potential for the course in the Eastern States and in other areas, such as South East Asia, will be investigated.
Eventually it is intended that a computer managed assessment programme will be developed for the unit. This would provide students with direct feedback and guidance on their progress through the modules of Microbiology 263. In the longer term, a text will also be developed specifically for the unit.
|GWN Ed TV broadcast schedule for
Microbiology: A telecourse for nurses
|1||Module 1.||Introduction to microbiology (27 min).||Mon||30/7||9.30|
|2||Module 2.||Intro to the microbial kingdom (38 min).||Mon||30/7||10.00|
|3||Practical 1||The microscope and microbial environ (45 min)||Tues||31/7||9.30|
|4||Module 3||Bacterial chemistry and cultivation (34 min)||Mon||6/8||9.30|
|5||Module 4||Laboratory procedures (34 min)||Mon||6/8||10.07|
|6||Practical 2||Microbes of the environment (47 min)||Tue||7/8||9.30|
|7||Practical 3||The control of microbial culture and growth (48 min)||Tue||7/8||10.20|
|8||Module 5||Host-parasite relations and infection (58 min)||Mon||3/8||9.30|
|9||Module 6||Introduction to immunology (38 min)||Tues||14/8||9.30|
|10||Module 7||Principles of serology (33 min)||Tue||14/8||10.11|
|11||Module 8||Introduction to mycology (36 min)||Mon||20/8||9.30|
|12||Practical 4||Bacterial and fungal cell structures (23 min)||Mon||20/8||10.09|
|13||Module 9||Sterilisation (38 min)||Sat||25/8||6.31|
|14||Module 10||Disinfection (49 min)||Sat||25/8||7.11|
|15||Practical 5||The transfer and control of organisms (41 min)||Mon||27/8||9.30|
|16||Practical 6||Sterilisation controls compared (2l min)||Mon||27/8||10.14|
|17||Module 11||Intro to antibiotics and chemotherapy 1 (50 min)||Tue||28/8||9.30|
|18||Module 12||Intro to antibiotics and chemotherapy 2 (47 min)||Tue||28/8||10.23|
|19||Module 13||Nosocomial infections (38 min)||Mon||3/9||9.30|
|20||Module 14||Urinary tract infections (45 min)||Mon||3/9||10.11|
|21||Practical 7||Urinary tract infections (46 min)||Tue||4/9||9.30|
|22||Module 15||Respiratory tract infections (47 min)||Mon||10/9||9.30|
|23||Practical 8||Respiratory tract infections Part 1 (36 min)||Tue||11/9||9.30|
|24||Respiratory tract infections Part 2 (26 min)||Tue||11/9||10.09|
|25||Module 16||Infections of the intestinal tract (41 min)||Mon||17/9||9.30|
|26||Module 17||Blood and cerebrospinal fluid infections (51 min)||Mon||17/9||10.14|
|27||Practical 9||Blood cultures and enteropathogens 1 (35 min)||Tues||18/9||9.30|
|28||Blood cultures and enteropathogens 2 (31 min)||Tue||18/9||10.08|
|29||Module 18||Sexually transmitted diseases (45 min)||Mon||24/9||9.30|
|30||Practical 10||Anaerobic infections (34 min).||Mon||24/9||10.17|
|Authors: Robert Fox is a Lecturer in Instructional Design at the Educational Media Centre, Curtin University of Technology. He spent eight years in Hong Kong working for the government and the British Council as a materials developer and instructional designer. He has been at Curtin for two years.
Peta Edwards is a Lecturer in the School of Microbiology, Curtin University of Technology. She has spent numerous years working in both government and private clinical laboratories. This experience has been invaluable for her teaching at Curtin during the last five years.
Please cite as: Fox, R. and Edwards, P. (1990). Microbes and the media: A telecourse for nurses. In R. Atkinson and C. McBeath (Eds.), Open Learning and New Technology: Conference proceedings, 147-153. Perth: Australian Society for Educational Technology WA Chapter. http://www.aset.org.au/confs/olnt90/fox.html