Amee George

Workplace visits become a video experience

When students start a Medical Science degree, they often have a very restricted view of where that degree can take them, generally focusing on going into medical school or on to further research. The reality is that very few students end up doing this.  

One of the most valuable experiences for Bachelor of Medical Science students involves visiting potential workplaces and exploring the vast array of career pathways they can undertake once they complete their degree. As Convenor of the third-year compulsory course Medical Science in the Workplace [BIO3190], I was devastated to think that due to Covid-19 restrictions, students would no longer have an opportunity to visit and interact directly with people from various workplaces who have generously given outstanding tours to previous student cohorts. 

Sara Rapson explains the reality of medical workplaces & the role of BIOL3190

The goal of this course is to show students the broadest range possible of different career pathways that can be taken from a degree here at ANU, allowing them to be better placed in choosing a career pathway that not just personally suits them, but also excites and invigorates them when they go to work each morning – long after graduation.

Not willing to be defeated by a pesky virus, I was determined to make an alternative experience for the students.

Vin + Sara filming at the CSIRO Labs with Dr Alexander Gofton

How about a video tour of each facility? That sounds easy enough, like making a ‘home video’. The workplaces were all game to try it and some fun ideas resulted: interviews and a walk around, a ‘You can’t ask that’ session (modelled after the ABC series), a news report style crossover, and a remote rescue simulation. All fabulous ideas, but it quickly became apparent that the team was horribly out of their depth when it came to bringing these proposed videos to life! 

Enter the Centre for Learning & Teaching (CLT) communication & multimedia team, who was incredibly supportive of this project and assisted with the production of videos.

Behind the scenes with Dr Jacqui Poldy at the CSIRO Labs

Their support included assistance with the development of ideas, concepts, creative and technical support plus the filming and editing of the final videos, examples of which you can see in the videos above and below. 

In the end, we had a suite of professionally produced videos, with multiple scenes showing both office spaces, lab work and behind the scenes footage from both the CSIRO and John Curtin School of Medical Research JCSMR – specifically tailored for our needs and which I am proud to show the students this year and in future iterations of the course.

Sara Rapson explains the delivery of the course in 2020

Students were shown the series of videos between interactive panel discussions and activities via Zoom with staff from the relevant workplace – allowing for continued interaction and discussion. We have had an overwhelmingly positive response from students within the course, including a rather humorous case of disbelief that we could have put such a professional looking video together!

The remaining three workplaces have also interacted well with this year’s cohort, choosing to do live activities via Zoom and/or to produce their own pre-recorded footage in house. It has been wonderful to see what each workplace has brought to the table.

Behind the scenes in the CSIRO office space with Dr Alisha Anderson

In previous years, students have had to choose four of the five potential workplaces to visit in order to control student numbers and not overwhelm each workplace when we visit. As a result of the assistance of the the CLT’s multimedia team I am looking forward to using this new video series in future years in order to still give each student an experience with the ‘fifth’ option.

The use of video in this course has greatly enhanced the students’ learning experience as it provides visual cues that allow us to communicate possibilities in an engaging and insightful way.  By presenting information on workplaces in multiple ways (through reading, listening to presentations, viewing visual media and general discussion), students are better able to engage with the content and are better able to recall and reflect on the information provided on each workplace at a later date. 

October 2020

Dr Sara Rapson is in Sub-Dean of Science, Health and Medicine and the convenor of the course Medical Science in the Workplace, offered by the Biology Teaching and Learning Centre.

Rafael Florez is the multimedia specialist in the Communications Team of the ANU Centre for Learning and Teaching. Filming was assisted by Vin Wijedasa, Learning Designer from the ANU Medical School