Kate Fletcher, Sue Slade, Kevin Flint, Raj Vaiyapuri, Wee Kiat Ong, School of Chemistry, Food and Pharmacy; Pharmacy
MPharm Programme: Introduction to Professionalism and Practice
Undergraduate (UG) students, Part 1
Number of participants in sessions: 20 (9 in the UK and 11 in Malaysia)
Session length: 60 minutes
Part 1 students studying the MPharm course at both the Reading and Malaysia campuses were
brought together using Blackboard Collaborate to compare Pharmacy Practice in each country.
Kate wanted to encourage crossover between campuses and for students to get to know each
other before the Malaysian students came over to study in the UK for Part 3.
Students based at each campus logged in to Collaborate on individual computers with a
Both groups of students were in the Clinical Skills Suite on each campus with laptops and
Staff supported students in the physical rooms to get them settled and set-up.
The session was designed around set discussion activities and students separated out into
groups that included students from both campuses, using the ‘Breakout room’ feature.
Collaborate provided an effective way for students studying at different campuses to learn
together and begin to build relationships.
Close cooperation was needed between the UK and Malaysian staff to set up the session.
Students quickly picked-up how to use the tool, were using the Chat tool without prompting
and easily able to undertake the tasks in the breakout rooms.
The session was activity based and students were discussing with each other. This made best
use of the technology to facilitate communication.
There were good levels of interaction between students using the audio and video. However,
the first time people use the system interaction can initially be awkward.
Some cultural differences were perceived. Malaysian students were quieter in the
conversations and UK-based students tended to lead.
Thoughts and reflections
Kate and Sue were thoroughly prepared for the session and had rehearsed how to use the
‘breakout rooms’ and written a session plan with timings.
Don’t expect to get as much done as you would in a face-to-face session or allow more time for
activities in this environment.
As the students were located in the same room together they were spread out to minimise the
transfer of noise between them when talking. Pharmacy had a large enough room to allow this.
Feedback from students indicated they could easily take part from home.
Pharmacy needed to purchase suitable headsets that could be re-used by different students.
Allow sufficient time to arrange ordering from IT.
Make sure Chrome is installed on the University computers students are going to use.
There was a significant investment of time and a learning curve to set up the session, as this
was the first time they had attempted this. Future sessions should be easier to facilitate.
It’s not yet possible to save what has been written on the whiteboards in the breakout rooms.
(Use the PC – Microsoft Clipping tool https://support.microsoft.com/engb/help/13776/windows-use-snipping-tool-to-capture-screenshots
or MAC keyboard shortcut to take a screenshot of the whiteboard.)