Medical students at the University of Plymouth have enhanced assessment and learning experience thanks to the introduction of 240 new iPads.

Students in years three to five of their medical degree – the most clinically focused – at Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry (PUPSMD) will be able to use the tablets for all aspects of their learning, from referencing eBooks, study guides to submitting assessments.

As part of the PULsE (Peninsula Ubiquitous Learning Enhancement) project, the initiative aims to provide unified and ubiquitous learning experience for students and faculty, with the iPad selected as a preferred device to deliver this ambition because of its security, ease-of-use and support, and the availability of apps that can enhance the curriculum and the learning experience.

The iPads, which will be initially issued to third-year students on a 1:1 basis as well as based in the University’s Life Science Resource Centre (LSRC) and Clinical Skills Labs, also cut out an estimated 60 per cent of red tape costs as there is no need for manual handling in any of the assessment process.

The iPads are being introduced to replace paper-based communication and assessment methods, as well as enable and empower students to learn with access to all materials in any location at any time of day. 

The iPads are equipped with Office 365 plus a multitude of apps, and hospital locations such as Derriford in Plymouth have also been tuned into the University WiFi network, making it easier than ever for students on clinical placements to supplement their practice with recording, learning and reflecting at a time to suit them. 

Dr Arunangsu Chatterjee, Director of Technology Enhanced Learning & Distance Learning at PUPSMD, is leading the project and said: 

“It’s absolutely great to be offering enhanced personalised learning for our students through the PULsE project. The project is a timely response based on National Information Board and NHS England’s ambitions to make mobile digital technology an integral part of future patient care. The project will not only enhance the assessment and feedback process but provide for point-of-care clinical reference, while substantially reducing the faculty’s carbon footprint."

Professor Rob Sneyd, Dean of Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry, said: 

“At Plymouth we’re completely committed to digital learning, with our resources, including these new iPads, coming together to make a comprehensive package for our students. It enables them to work with staff both at the University and within the NHS to get themselves ready for their future challenges. Digital healthcare is the next phase of roll out in hospitals and primary care, and soon we’ll be involving patients in decision making regarding their own care. The addition of these iPads helps put students right at the heart of this new way of working.” 

Professor David Bristow, Head of the Peninsula Medical School, said: 

“We’re continually working to improve our medical curriculum through research and scholarship, and the addition of iPads to our clinical care and practice years provide added value to the education experience. We are providing iPads rather than using a ‘bring your own’ device policy to ensure that we remain committed to our widening participation strategy."

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