Virtual Learning Platforms within a Global Health Context
Prof. Albrecht Jahn started his lecture with explaining how digital teaching and learning is being implemented at Heidelberg University and stated that currently due to the COVID-19 pandemic there is no face-to-face teaching at Heidelberg University, except very few exceptions.
He added that the sudden switch from face-to-face teaching to eLearning required strengthening digital competencies, enabling lecturers to manage their teaching online. Prof. Albrecht Jahn stated that the main questions that needed to be answered when implementing virtual learning are: how to teach many students online, how to create good e-learning contents, and what software to use for online teaching. Then, he mentioned about the collaborative work between Heidelberg University and Levy Mwanawasa Medical University (LMMU) in Zambia, which involves blended learning for Zambian student, and left further explanation about the project to his colleague, Dr. Barteit, who was directly involved in the project.
Dr. Sandra Barteit started her lecture with overview of the collaborative project of Heidelberg University and Levy Mwanawasa Medical University (LMMU), the largest medical University in Zambia. She stated that the focus on the project is on Medical Licentiates (BSc Clinical Sciences) who will work in rural areas, and that the study program takes four years to complete (2 yrs “theory“, 2 yrs practical rotation).
Dr. Barteit, then, elaborated on the approaches used in the project and said: "The focus was on offline e-learning with tablets, and the tools or platforms used were Moodle E-learning webserver, ML E-learning website, and ML Tablet-based E-learning. Also, the static e-learning materials used included treatment guidelines, lecture notes and presentations, medical books, exam-preparatory materials; and the interactive material was virtual intervention with patients. other approaches were using Tools/Platforms (such as Moodle app, AMBOSS and e-logbook), optimizing learning contents for offline usage, and capacity building for lecturers, IT, librarians and students.", she continued.
Dr. Barteit concluded her speech by highlighting lessons learned from their digital teaching and learning project:
- inclusive approach, include all levels
(faculty, students, IT, administration)
- training, training, training
- technology has to be adjusted to context, e.g. internet connectivity
- strenthening of IT departments is crucial; provision of hardware
- e-learning needs to be recognized in curriculum and should be integrated as regular teaching hours
- e-learning carries high potential to strengthen quality and quantity of education – especially for low-resource settings – but needs ground rules to flourish
It is worth noting that the University of Heidelberg is a partner university in the INPACT project. As part of this ambitious project, MSc in Global Health with an Iranian flavor, a regional scope and global audience will be implemented through a blended learning method