Piloting the provision of iPads as a learning resource

In September HYMS welcomed the first cohort for the new MSc in Physician Associate Studies. To support the delivery of this new programme, HYMS are piloting the provision of iPads as learning resources.

A large proportion of the teaching and learning activities in the Physician Associate Studies curriculum are not based at the University campus and its modern IT facilities, so students were given an iPad to support their study. The aim of deploying iPads is to enhance and facilitate the student learning experience by:

  • making it easier and more efficient capture and storing of notes and information in teaching sessions
  • improving access to library services and learning resources whilst of campus
  • opening up novel methods of facilitating PBL using interactive multimedia iBooks
  • enhancing assessment and feedback processes
  • accessing a multitude of free and paid­ for medical education applications (apps)
  • enhancing communication via email and video conferencing
  • facilitating the collection of evaluation data
  • enabling the collection of information in a suitable format to be added at frequent intervals to an online portfolio

The Learning Enhancement & Support Team and PA faculty have developed a number of iBooks to delivery content to students. The aim of the iBooks is to make the learning experience more engaging by offering a range of interactive content based around the PBL cases for each week of study. The iBooks are automatically downloaded to the student’s iPad and they can be accessed offline (as wireless internet is not available at all HYMS NHS sites).

Each week students are expected to interrogate two PBL cases, attend a clinical skills session and complete a two day clinical placement in either primary of secondary care. Each chapter (week) within the iBook is structured this way.

Supporting resources for each PBL case in the iBook include a written introduction to the patient (case), a supporting audio / video vignette, at least one 30 minute lecture around the weekly theme, medical records such as lab results, a ‘Drug of the week’ and a set of formative questions enabling student to reinforce what they have learnt (and to prepare them for the end of year summative examination).


The iBook content informs the PBL sessions and complements the support open learning resources and discussion activities available on Blackboard. After each PBL session the learning outcomes for that case are made available on Blackboard.

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