Imperial Connection: Adapting and growing in a Covid-19 world

By Dr. Senita Mountjoy, Deputy Lead, Collaborative Partnerships Office, Imperial College London

The Covid-19 pandemic has seen institutions across the world adapting and innovating. Over the last academic year, the rapid adaptations adopted mid-way at Imperial College London and LKCMedicine have served our students well.

Faculty at both institutions have worked incredibly hard to adapt learning materials and assessments to the online space so that students continue to thrive and progress.

With the start of the new 2020/2021 academic year now well underway and Covid-19 restrictions still in place to varying extents in London and Singapore, the curriculum at both Schools is being delivered in new ways. What began as adaptations to the sudden restrictions earlier this year, have now been integrated and adapted in this 2020-2021 iteration of the MBBS programmes at both Schools.

This year, LKCMedicine conducted its first online Multiple Mini Interviews (MMI) as part of their admissions process publishing an academic paper on the experience. With Covid-19 restrictions in the UK, Imperial will also be following LKCMedicine in the way it conducts its MMI.

Team-based learning, which has been a key feature of the LKCMedicine curriculum since its inception, has been adapted so that it is now conducted entirely online (e-TBL) with great success. Much thought has been put into how to encourage and maintain virtual team rapport and engagement in the online space.

Clinical teachers have developed innovative ways to deliver hospital-based experiences such as using technology including recorded patient interactions (with appropriate consent). Faculty and students are increasingly making use of online teaching tools that interact with Microsoft Teams and Zoom; the level of proficiency and flexibility in using these tools for learning and teaching is increasing in both educators and students. 

Thankfully, students at both Schools are now able to continue their learning in the clinical environment taking the necessary precautions but the environment in which they are learning and will be working has changed. 

Our teaching needs to reflect that. The inevitable increase of technology enhanced learning in the curriculum because of this pandemic coupled with experiential learning in the new 'digitally optimised' healthcare environment will be complemented by the planned launch at LKCMedicine of the new longitudinal Digital Health Course (Years 1-5).

This year has seen faculty and students at both Schools working hard to adapt to a changed healthcare and medical education world. The partnership between the Schools continues to evolve and what better way to celebrate this than the digital programme of events running up to the next Transform MedEd conference in November 2021.