The University of Minnesota use Myprogress to deliver rich feedback for students on clinical practice. Read more in our interview.

In this interview, we speak with Adam Maier, the Senior Assessment Systems Analyst at the University of Minnesota, we talk about how they are using Myprogress to deliver richer feedback to students out on clinical practice.

Prior to moving to Myprogress, how were medical students at the University of Minnesota assessed in practice? What challenges were there?

The direct observation of medical students was primarily done on paper. Some challenges we faced included gathering all those documents from all the sites, then entering the information electronically to have electronic records. At the time, as well as having to track down assessors who may have forgotten to turn in the assessment of a student, this caused time delays for entering the information due to the very nature of data entry. With Myprogress, this extraneous time and effort is simply cut out.


Why did the University of Minnesota choose Myprogress for their digital practice assessment tool?

Initially, a digital assessment tool was something that we didn't think we needed. However in retrospect, we can definitely say we did. Originally our task wasn't to find a tool such as Myprogress as we were specifically looking for an ePortfolio, then once we began learning about Myprogress and having conversations around the assessment tool, we quickly understood its functionality, efficiency, and ease of use.


How has the school managed and supported the practical and cultural change associated with going digital?

Well like all change, especially when introducing new technology, we had a spectrum of users who embraced it and those who pushed back. We certainly had to sell the fact that we'd be using this system and the ways in which it would make the assessment process much easier. We made sure that we had the training and resources readily available for all users and ready answers to any questions or issues that they were having. 


How has moving to a digital platform for assessment benefited the school, students and staff?

For staff like myself, it has saved a lot of time as we instantly have electronic records now. We also get a better sense of the data as it's available to use immediately and we can act quickly if needs be. For our students, they experience a real benefit in how the workflows are now setup in the new system. When students hand their device over to the assessor, there is now a greater number of opportunities to have a conversation and gain richer feedback from the assessor as a result. When we used paper, it was too easy for feedback to be provided at a later date and without the student present.


For those thinking changing their assessment process, do you have any tips or best practices for implementing a digital or mobile practice assessment tool?

If possible, roll the new process out slowly and in stages, such as low stakes assessments with a pilot group. Once you go live with the tool, it's important that it goes well and with a smaller group as it makes the process much more manageable. When the initial stage goes well and is a success, then you'll have a faculty that will champion and encourage the use of the assessment tool everywhere else.

Another important aspect is to test, test, test! In the early stages, create an account for every user role within the system and just try them all out. This enables you to experience what each role does first hand and how they interact with other roles within the system.

Make it simple. For our needs we felt that some of the functionality within Myprogress was not needed at our school, so we didn't need to use it. The MyKnowledgeMap team were very flexible and accommodating in letting us customise which modules we wanted to keep and remove.

Aim to keep your data clean - centralise and standardise. The advantage of having electronic data is how easy it is to access, so make sure you have a system in place that encourages that.

Connect and converse with other institutions if the opportunity is there. Hearing about the experiences of other Myprogress users can give you ideas and can help you become familiar with best practices, certain functionality and more.

Finally, stay connected with the MyKnowledgeMap team. They are a valued resource and extremely helpful.