In this post, Masters of Public Health (online) student Stephen McBurney describes the paralells in the digital format of this year’s University of Edinburgh (UoE) Learning and Teaching Conference and the SLICC course. In particular, Stephen highlights how the SLICC course develops the essential skills to engage a community of academics and peers via digital platforms.
‘The circle appeared in the middle of the screen. At least it was moving, but it has been like that for about 10 (long) seconds now. The moderator feels the need to make a comment about the loading up of the presentation, and the presenters start to contemplate what to do if this does not work. We have probably all been there at some point, and that this year we were presenting remotely made little difference. Indeed it probably meant any blushes went unnoticed and technical issues considered part of the new norm!
In advance of our presentation, we co-presenters had met online to plan. Our content was quickly agreed and we became excited at the opportunity to blend a structured narrative of the Student-Led Individually-Created Course (SLICC) (see www.ed.ac.uk/sliccs ), its adoption by the Masters in Public Health (MPH) course team, and the reflective lived experience from a post graduate student. However this would mean at least three presenters, which at the best of times can be an art to make flow properly. We debated the method of doing this, would we each speak to our slides from our remote locations on the day, or would we each record our slides and have the moderator play this recording? Fear of some technical difficulties such as poor audio and visual connection meant that we opted for the later, although we were conscious that we may lose that sense of “being in the room.” If I wore the same tie at the recording and in the Q&A session afterwards would anyone notice? Would anyone care?
Reflecting on the digital format of the University of Edinburgh (UoE) Learning and Teaching Conference, it actually exemplifies some of the very striking features of the SLICC course and in particular the way in which it has been integrated into the Masters in Public Health (MPH) online course. From my perspective as a post graduate student these last 3 years, I have developed skills that enable me to engage with a community of academics and peers via digital platforms. We have learnt to be respectfully critical and to use our discussion boards to do this. Academic staff have delivered pre-recorded lecture content on Collaborate and we have used this as the springboard for class discussion and deeper exploration of the evidence. In the “new world” post-pandemic, most of us will work in environments where we will be required to engage a range of stakeholders, colleagues and customers online and on digital platforms. What the SLICC does is empower the student to demonstrate their application of knowledge and skills to the “real world”, and so the very event of being able to share my journey through the MPH and SLICC was itself a demonstration of a competence and submitted as evidence in part fulfilment of the Integrating Public Health Practice course. More information on the frameworks that support students to get the best out of the SLICC can be found at https://edin.ac/sliccs-resource-pack .
Our session proved that we could effectively co-produce a presentation and deliver this to a wide section of academia, without any of the co-presenters, or audience ever being in the same room. What is more, our recording means that we can now share our learning and reflections more widely, however please beware it might take 10 (long) seconds to load up!