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Broadcasting to students worldwide

23 April 2009

Heather Williams, Postgraduate Courses Executive Officer (left) and Dr Maria Gonzalez, Dermatology Postgraduate Courses DirectorHeather Williams, Postgraduate Courses Executive Officer (left) and Dr Maria Gonzalez, Dermatology Postgraduate Courses Director

A University initiative addressing the difficulties of providing medical students with the opportunity to observe live surgery is in the running for a major national award.

The Global University Project, run by the School of Medicine’s Department of Dermatology, has been shortlisted in the Outstanding ICT Initiative category in this year’s Times Higher Education Leadership & Management Awards.

Due to the physical constraints of operating theatres, medical students and trainee doctors do not have many opportunities to observe live surgery. Phase one of the Global University Project saw the installation of a high-definition video link from a dermatology operating theatre to a seminar room in the same building.

Sessions are moderated by a lecturer so that students in the seminar room not only enjoy a ring-side seat during surgery, they can also communicate with the surgeon via a two-way microphone link.

Following on from this success, webcasting software was integrated into the system to enable the department to broadcast dermatological surgical procedures to a national and international audience via the internet. Video can be streamed live as well as being recorded for later access.

This allows the team to reach undergraduate students out on placement, registrars across Wales, distance-learning postgraduate doctors based in more than 20 countries across the world and members of the department’s web-based Continuing Professional Development Society based in more than 30 countries.

Dr Maria Gonzalez, the Dermatology Postgraduate Courses Director and Reader in Dermatology, said: "This system gives all learners equal access to surgical sessions. It removes the lottery element for undergraduates and registrars across Wales, who all previously had to compete for limited opportunities to attend operations in person."

"The potential for knowledge transfer using this system is immeasurable. As well as the benefits for the teaching of surgery in medical schools, it has applications in other academic fields and could allow lectures and conferences to be transmitted to a worldwide audience."

The winners of the Times Higher Education Leadership & Management Awards will be announced at a special event in London on 9th June 2009.

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