As one of only 30 colleges or schools of veterinary medicine in the United States, the Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine has championed the use of technology to create an innovative learning environment. This environment and surrounding culture helps them to attract top students from around the U.S. and the world. Increasingly, video has played an important role at the College and since 2008, they have deployed the Echo360 video platform in a variety of ways to enhance student learning and support the College’s mission for excellence in professional and graduate education.

“Video learning technology is important for student success,” says Deb Hoyt, Instructional Development Coordinator and primary Echo360 administrator on campus. “We record every class in the core veterinary curriculum. It helps our students review and master the material being presented. There is an incredible volume of information and basic knowledge our students must have. It’s made even more challenging for them because of species differentiation and their veterinary specialization. For our students, being able to review all the information that we record in the Echo360 platform is critical. And, it’s one way that we can attract and retain students for our programs. Students today expect this type of technology. Schools would be at a disadvantage without it,” adds Hoyt.

The College uses Echo360 well beyond the traditional recording of lectures. Among other academic uses, instructors use Echo360 to flip their classrooms, for blended and online learning, for recording and teaching students surgical techniques, and to record student assessments in clinical settings. Non-academic uses include using Echo360 to record guest speakers, to live-stream grand rounds at the College’s veterinary medical center, to record special informational meetings, and even to record job interviews for candidates appearing before interview committees.

High Definition Video Helps Students Learn Clinical and Surgical Skills

The ability to capture high definition video is another innovative way in which the College uses Echo360 to train interns and residents at its medical center. For example, clinicians and veterinarians demonstrate the proper way in which to conduct ultrasound examinations and these procedures are captured in Echo360. The output of the ultrasound machine is connected to an input on an Echo360 Pro appliance where it is recorded by the system. A second high-definition camera, also connected to the Echo360 Pro, is positioned above the treatment table and captures the entire procedure.

“There is a lot of technique involved that requires proper positioning of the ultrasound wand,” says Hoyt. “If the wand is not in the correct position, it can affect the quality of the images that are captured and can result in a misdiagnosis.”

The Echo360 technology captures the ultrasound image and an image of how the clinician correctly positions the wand and displays those images side-by-side. Radiology interns and residents can watch the video and can go back and review the proper techniques. Instructors can also use the recordings for their teaching later.

“We also have a similar set-up in the surgical center where a high-definition camera captures surgical procedures. Procedures are captured on video and are used by students for review and by instructors for teaching,” adds Hoyt.

Video Assessments Build Soft-Skills and “Bedside Manner”

Communications and interpersonal skills are important for future veterinarians. These skills must be developed and practiced and at the College, video plays a role in that too. By the time a student reaches her third year, recordings are made of the sessions between the student and mock clients, which are individuals trained to act as the owner of an animal receiving treatment. The students assesses the patient and gives treatment options to the client.  After reviewing the video of these mock sessions, students perform their own self-evaluation and report their findings back to their instructor. The mock clients and communication instructors also have an opportunity to review the video sessions and provide feedback.

“It’s very important to assess how students interact with people when they are in a clinical environment,” says Hoyt. “We want to graduate highly trained veterinarians who also have good soft skills. So, using Echo360 video in this way is an important tool for giving constructive feedback to our students.”

Recording and Live Streaming Grand Rounds, Guest Speakers and Events

In an institution filled with highly creative people, Iowa State administrators and staff have sought to leverage their investment in Echo360 beyond the traditional lecture hall and classroom. This includes:

  • Recording special meetings to accommodate faculty members who may be traveling.
  • Recording job interviews with prospective candidates.
  • Live-streaming grand rounds from the College’s medical center to students in overflow classrooms.
  • Recording guest speakers from groups such as the Associations of Equine and Bovine Practitioners. These presentations are then made available for student viewing and posted on blogs and other websites to reach wider audiences.

“Being able to live-stream events to overflow rooms is very important. One example is grand rounds at the medical center where specific cases studies are presented,“ says Hoyt. “Administrators will watch if they cannot attend. But we also live-stream grand rounds to different classrooms because we have 300 students that are required to attend and our largest classrooms can only accommodate about 150 people. Also, we have given access to pre-vet students to get an idea of what the cases are like that they would be seeing as students and as future veterinarians.”

Leveling the Academic Playing Field with Automated Speech Recognition

The College has been an early evaluator of Echo360’s automated speech recognition (ASR) solution and sees a tremendous benefit to its students. In the past, because of the high cost associated with closed-captioning, the College has made individual accommodations to students with hearing disabilities.

“We are excited about the potential of Echo360’s ASR solution,” says Hoyt, “and once it is fully deployed it will become an enormous value-added component of the system. Reducing the costs associated with transcription is a great benefit to all,” she says.

Hoyt believes ASR’s application is not limited to those with hearing disabilities. She thinks it has the potential to “level the playing field” for students because it expands the concept of what is considered a disability.

“ASR addresses the broader idea of accessibility. Every student is different. Some students may be better at visual versus auditory learning.  For others, English may not be their first language. Having a fully searchable transcript of a lecture or class presentation will allow students to augment their own notes. It is another tool to help them review and master the material that we present.”

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