24 November 2010

HEALTH students will get immediate feedback during practical skills assessments, thanks to new technology being developed at The University of Queensland.

The electronic marking and feedback system uses an iPad and specialised software for recording performance.

Currently, health students taking practical exams sometimes waited weeks to receive feedback from paper-based processes, said Dr Trevor Russell, of UQ’s Division of Physiotherapy.

“Under the new system, immediate feedback on certain performance indicators will be sent via email,” he said.

“This will help students learn what they are doing well and what they need to work on — while their performance is still fresh in their minds.”

Dr Russell said the Electronic Objective Structured Clinical Examination (eOSCE) system, called Mark-Rite™, also would benefit faculty staff.

“It will improve the efficiency with which practical examinations are administered and potentially reduce the number of sources of error in conducting the exams,” he said.

“The conventional, paper-based prac exam is often time consuming to prepare and transcription errors can occur when transferring the marks back to digital format. This system should dramatically improve both of these aspects.”

The research project, which UQ is conducting jointly with the University of Newcastle, will evaluate outcomes in student and staff satisfaction, learning and reliability.

The Australian Learning and Teaching Council has granted $220,000 to the eOSCE research, which will be piloted in the rehabilitative professions of physiotherapy and occupational therapy.

The two-year project will start early in 2011, with some data and feedback expected by the end of semester one. The findings will be shared with other educational institutions. Media: Marlene McKendry, UQ Health Sciences Faculty, ph +61 7 3346 4713; Fiona Cameron, UQ Communications, ph +61 7 3346 7086