Does screencasting improve the student experience in the teaching of radiotherapy planning?

Mark Collins

Parallel session 2,  Thunderstorm 2.1

Short Abstract
Radiotherapy planning sessions have traditionally been facilitated using paper guides. The nature of a paper guide limits the content and opportunity for explanation. In 2014 the guides were replaced with screencasts and the sessions evaluated using Survey Monkey.

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Detailed Outline
The problem
Radiotherapy treatment planning forms a key part of the pre-registration training for Therapy Radiographers. It involves the use of complex software to produce radiotherapy plans. Students undertake a number of activities in the second and third year of their studies and are required to produce plans for a variety of treatment sites.

This has traditionally been done with a staff: student ratio of 2:18 and facilitated with the use of paper guides. The large staff:student ratio can be challenging and students have fed back that it has often taken some time for the member of staff to work their way around the class answering individuals queries.

The limitations of a paper guide mean that concepts can not be fully explained. A section of each practical is dedicated to a group teach, but some students still struggle to understand the fundamental principles behind the process, limiting their understanding and enjoyment of the sessions.

The solution
In 2014, 13 screencasts were produced by the module leader (MC) using Screencastomatic and uploaded onto youtube The screencasts range in length from 1:30 to 6:00 minutes and explain everything from how to login, to how to develop a complex plan and the rationale for the various methods. The students were encouraged to work through them at their own pace using headphones, pausing them where necessary.

Following 4, 2 hour sessions an eight question online questionnaire was sent to 46 students containing 6 likert questions and two open ended questions. The aim of the questionnaire was to assess the impact of the screencasts and to determine whether they should be rolled out on other modules.

61% (n=28) of the students replied.
96% agreed or strongly agreed that “The screencasts helped me to understand the treatment planning process”
87% agreed or strongly agreed that “The screencasts helped to reduce the amount of help I needed from the lecturer”
93% agreed or strongly agreed that “In future sessions I would prefer to use screencasts rather than follow instructions in a workbook”
Comments included:
– I could learn at my own pace and rewind sessions
– The screencast were very helpful to understand the principles of treatment planning , also I did look through the booklets that were previously used before and compare the two ; booklets or screencasts and I personally prefer the screencasts
– Easy to follow, good to have a visual on how to do it
– I can keep referring back to them if i missed something – nice to have a real time example
It was noted that some of the students struggled to swap between applications on one screen, so iPads will be used in future sessions to show the videos, which will future enhance the student experience.

The future
More screencasts will be developed in the team and rolled out into the other treatment planning modules.