Learning Designs - Products of the AUTC project on ICT-based learning designs
Home | Exemplars (selected) | Guides | Tools | The Project | Search
  Snapshot Designer's Voice Cross Links
Implementation (selected)
  Medical Radiation Sciences Context Reflections


Setting Notes
ICT Contribution


Setting Notes


Medical Radiation Sciences, incorporating Diagnostic Radiography, Nuclear Medicine Technology and Radiation Therapy

Entire length of subject/unit/course (14 week semester)

Subject web site, Computer-assisted learning program

Face-to-face and online.

Optimal use of the subject web site is as:

  • A communication tool (from staff to students, from students to staff and student to student).
  • An administrative tool (contains study guide, assessment details, timetable, etc.).
  • Acollection of learning materials which serve as a prompt for tutorial exercises, self-assessment of knowledge levels, and general information.

Lecturers combine the use of the web with other teaching exercises to varying degrees. For example, a different lecturer now teaches this subject but is utilising the web site as it was originally designed.

The web is used to a lesser degree by the Nuclear Medicine lecturer and still less by the Radiography lecturer.

It is our contention that the web must be used in conjunction with face-to-face classes.


  • Year 1, semester 1 undergraduate students.
  • Maths and physics are assumed knowledge.
  • Very few of students have had any experience of the professions.
  • Most students have prior web experience and we provide help for those who do not.
  • Most students have no prior university experience, which is why this learning design is highly structured, informing students what must be done every week, but expecting them to do it without lecturer prompting.
    (Students learn quickly that tutorials work better when they have done the independent work before attending).

Limited only to the maximum number of students for a lecture-delivered course.

The nature of the activities and delivery of the subject presupposes independent study by students.

Current implementation supported 210 students.

This is an independent subject which is the first of six subjects related to professional practice that go across the three years of the course.

The second subject in Year 1, Semester 2, still uses the web site, but only for communications, and is run fully in PBL mode which is still highly guided.

Year 2 and 3 subjects are full PBL with less lecturer intervention.

Thus, all these subjects continue and build upon the independence and team work established in Year 1, Semester 1. Because the subject relates to professional practice it integrates material taught in other areas such as psychology, physics and anatomy, making it suitable for a problem-based learning approach.



  • Early student independence, ability to manage own learning processes.
  • Essay writing skills.
  • Library / other information collection skills.
  • Ability to work as a member of a group.
  • Understanding of basic theory in the relevant discipline, including introduction to disease processes and radiation physics and its medical applications.
  • Introduction to, but not competence in, basic level of practice in the discipline, including patient assessment, communication, calculations and positioning for medical radiation procedures.




Formal assessment takes place as follows:

Essay writing: (Worth 25% of final grade)
One essay is due in Week 5. This is a mastery essay thus no marks are allocated but it must be completed successfully (unlimited number of attempts) before the student can complete the subject.

Another essay is due in Week 10 (late enough to receive feedback on the mastery essay before submission).

Mid-semester class test (Week 7): (Worth 15% of final grade)
Half hour test consisting of five open-ended questions. Questions are designed so that two questions will test student recall and three questions will test student.

Final (end of semester) exam: (Worth 60% of final grade.)
Two hour exam consisting of multiple choice, essay style, and calculation questions.

Students must successfually complete the mastery essay or they will not pass the subject, even if total marks are greater than 50%.

Formal assessment, that is, how the grades of students are determined, focuses explicitly on two of the learning outcomes:

  • Essay writing skills.
  • Understanding of basic theory in the relevant discipline.

Students work towards the learning outcome: Introduction to basic level of practice in the discipline, by the practical tutorial sessions that are structured as problem-based learning sessions. However, no competence is expected at this level, so it is not formally assessed until the Semester 2 subject.

Knowledge gained in the PBL and practical sessions is also assessed in the final exam. Thus, students in a well-functioning PBL group with good research skills should perform better in the exam.

The other learning outcomes stated are more difficult to assess other than it being assumed that if students have mastered independent study and library collection skills then they will perform well in the essay and exam tasks.


ICT Contribution


The main learning problem was the difficulty in adaptation from school to the more independent mode of learning expected at university. Along with this was the shortness of the semester, so that students who did not adapt quickly could fail within 15 weeks of commencing university study. Thus, it was felt that the students needed a great deal of initial guidance for security and to ensure that they did not miss important classes, assessments, etc. They also needed to start being independent as quickly as possible.

Students new to university also seem to have difficulty in taking lecture notes, so it was decided that the best use of the face-to-face teaching hours was when they were interactive. Placing lecture notes on the web (they could have been put into a printed set of notes) substituted for most of the old lectures, and created a resource as a foundation for the interactive tutorials.

The major advantage of ICT was the improvement of communications between students and lecturers that was afforded by the web site. A second advantage was the possibility for students to work in their own time, and use the CAI material as often as they liked.

The web site integrated everything that was done in the subject in order to minimise confusion.

Everything (learning materials, administrative details, communication tools) was in one place.


  Top of Page Home