The new curriculum introduces new needs for high-quality, reliable conferencing between students, faculty and staff across WWAMI:
- Foundations faculty need to meet frequently to collaborate on the development of their blocks.
- Sites will have different levels of clinical expertise among their teaching faculty. One site may want to hold a videoconference with a faculty member from another site.
- Frequent meetings of the entire class will be needed to convey important information and allow students to interact with School leadership.
- Student participation in special interest groups and other extra-curricular activities needs to be enabled.
- Some elective courses and intersession experiences may need to operate in a distributed fashion to allow all students to participate.
- Administrative meetings need to allow equal participation from all participants across the region, with full audio, video and content sharing.
To assist in developing our collaborative technology strategy and operational plan, we have been assisted by consultants from the University of British Columbia Faculty of Medicine. UBC has operated in a highly distributed mode for medical education since 2004. We have also engaged a diverse group of faculty, staff and students to serve on our Medical School Collaborative Technology Working Group. This group has met regularly since July and has provided important input in the planning process. A number of the Working Group members, including regional representatives, joined in a site visit to UBC in Vancouver and Victoria to tour facilities and meet with Faculty of Medicine leadership, faculty, staff and students.
Adequate collaborative technology facilities exist at each Foundations WWAMI site, except Seattle. We are currently finalizing plans for audio-visual upgrades in several classroom and conference room locations in the UW Health Sciences Center. At the same time, we are beginning to develop closer coordination between the collaborative technology professionals at each WWAMI site to improve the planning and coordination of videoconferencing sessions and begin to develop design standards that can guide the implementation of new facilities region-wide.