Asma Buanz, Maryam Parhizkar (contributions from Mrs Isabel Goncalves (Department of Pharmaceutics, UCL School of Pharmacy )

10 minute talk

An important aspect of Pharmacy degree is practical skills in Pharmaceutics. We deliver practical classes for Pharmaceutical Technology, where 2nd year students work in groups to develop a formulation of a fictitious new therapeutic agent into tablets and capsules. This practical activity provides the students with the opportunity to learn about fundamentals of Pharmaceutical Formulation through practice in a “real life scenario” in a pharmaceutical company. In 2019, we reviewed the classes and on the basis of the need to assure consistency and continuity of the delivery, we planned to use a blended learning approach and reduced the impact of unexpected changes to staff. The first step was creating video recording of some of the components. We started with one key formulation step and used that in the classes in early 2020. As the pandemic hit, providing alternative online format became a priority. Learning from feedback from our tutees about other classes, and based on our initial experience, we decided to design ‘virtual classes’ of videos with suitable narration and quizzes impeded into asynchronous weekly ‘lessons’ on Moodle. Concerned on how best to support students and providing them with something close to what we would have had in the laboratory, we have provided interactive synchronous sessions in smaller groups throughout February. An important learning objective is team work, thus we provided ‘supervised’ group meetings during the synchronous sessions to encourage student interactions. We also have optional in-person sessions running in March and students’ opinion on the effectiveness of having the online material and the support beforehand will be compared and assessed during these sessions. Going forward, we are looking into implementing a ‘blended’ approach with the ambition to design interactive scenario-based online content exploring interactive videos and augmented reality.

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