A Department of Surgery and Cancer administrator Susan Clark teamed up recently with Amir Rana, Junior Software Engineer, Web Development, in the pilot phase of an Imperial Mobile Initiative. They held a training session for administrators to learn how to build an App for their Masters’ programmes using the College licensed software Ombiel. The training provided an opportunity to learn and share the challenges and resolutions of applying different course structures to the App.
The story behind the initiative goes back to March 2013 when Susan wrote to IT. She asked for an App that would incorporate electronic student evaluations and the facility to push out essential course information to students. Saul Batzofin, Infrastructure Programme Manager, replied to Susan’s request with immediate help, first by training using Qualtrics, a recently acquired survey software. The evaluations had already been customised for the Department of Surgery and Cancer courses by Dr Kirsten Dalrymple, Senior Research Fellow and Co-Course lead MEd Surgical Education and they will shortly be accessible via the MEd App. This summer will see Susan working on improvements to the existing surveys and Apps, getting them ready for the 2014 / 2015 cohort. New students will have a 10 minute orientation in the use of the App in Module 1 of their respective Masters Programme, October 2014.
As for the future, the Department of Surgery and Cancer have a new MSc Masters programme pending; a move to a modularised structure that fits well with the surgical trainees career pathway. This year’s collaboration and initiative has paved the way for the use of the App for this new Programme, with the potential to go beyond administrative technology into Mobile learning.
Saul Batzofin emphasized the versatility of their solution; “Imperial Mobile works on mobile phones, tablets and desktops so rather than us telling people where and how to engage with College, we allow them to choose the device and location. So our ambition for Imperial Mobile is to give people relevant information and applications where and when they want it. We are still quite early in our journey but are working hard to add ever more useful functionality to our App.” Susan added that administrators can improve support for learning and teaching with their own collaborative contributions to this journey by engaging with the technology now provided by the College, when changes to timetables and key information need to be pushed out to students, the Go-to App could be invaluable.
Postgraduate Education Administrator
Department of Surgery and Cancer