Interview with William Mair, Educational Technologist from Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine

In our interview we talk with William Mair, Educational Technologist at Cambridge University who's been using Myprogress for over 3 years and gone on to build the Myprogress User Community.

What led Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine to choose Myprogress for practice-based assessment?

We were close to choosing another eportfolio provider a few years ago until I came across Myprogress at a conference. When I saw its capabilities to complete forms offline and resynchronise when suited, I knew I wanted to investigate further. I also liked the capability to get sign-off from unknown observers as I was worried about the administrative overhead that can be caused when keeping track of frequent changes.

How is Myprogress used in practice by the school?

We use Myprogress through our Student Selected areas of the course, where we get students to complete required tasks and feedback on the projects they have worked on as well as documenting Key Skills associated with the project that they undertake (such as presentations, creating posters etc…). The email for later functionality introduced over the last couple of years has really helped us with these projects and we are also starting to get better feedback from practice supervisors.

We’ve also restarted using it with our Professional Responsibilities course where students’ complete reflections before a small group discussion and then reflect on the discussions. We are now looking to use this integrated in Myshowcase.me so that we can pull the students reflective history altogether as one portfolio.

How have you overcome the challenges associated with digitally transforming assessment practices?

When we adopted Myprogress, we took the ‘big bang’ approach and used Myprogress substantially within our curriculum. However, we soon realised that by scaling it back then gradually introducing Myprogress, we could work with teams from individual areas and create specific processes that suited them.  We could then provide targeted training and continue to build Myprogress from there. Since then, we have seen Myprogress work better for us.

Another challenge that we faced is that majority of our SSC supervisors or PPG facilitators have been difficult to train as they are not regular users of Myprogress or locally based. To work around this, we created specific user guides linked to the area processes and hold drop-in webinars ahead of peak usage times so our staff feel supported.

What’s your plans for the future?

I would like for us to look more to using Myshowcase.me and find other opportunities to tie this into our curriculum. I’d also like to look at our Clinical Skills and see how we can use Myprogress again for these (the newly developed logging question is a good start for this).

Tell us about your role in the User Community and how you see User Communities supporting and driving positive change?

I have been an advocate of User Communities since my previous role at Borders College where I was the Chair of Scottish Mahara User group and saw first-hand the benefits that working together gave myself, my colleagues and other institutions.

After signing up to work with Myprogress, I worked collaboratively with MyKnowledgeMap to set up a user group, organising user conferences where we could present our Myprogress ideas and solutions, so that others could benefit in the same way that I did when attending my first Myprogress user conference.

I am also the owner of a JISCMail mailing list for Medical Schools Learning Technologists where we can discuss all manners of issues that are specific to Medical Education and solutions that others have in place, to solve these common problems (many of which are vastly different to dealing with other education areas).