Enhancing Teaching and Learning in the Pharmaceutical Sciences through the Development of the Integrated Laboratory Network (ILN)

TitleEnhancing Teaching and Learning in the Pharmaceutical Sciences through the Development of the Integrated Laboratory Network (ILN)
Faculty/College/UnitPharmaceutical Sciences
Duration1 Year
Project Summary

Project Global Objective: To enhance teaching and learning in the pharmaceutical sciences through the development of the Integrated Laboratory Network (ILN) as a teaching tool for pharmaceutical analysis (PA). We plan to meet the global objective through completion of five specific aims:

  1. To establish, through an extensive review of our progress and experience to date, a sustainable model specifying how the ILN can be used effectively as a teaching tool in the lecture and laboratory learning environments.
  2. To create a web-based prototype of an “ILN Toolkit”, fully compatible with WebCT, that provides guidelines and technological requirements for using the ILN, instructions for accessing and operating remote instrumentation and the experimental/case-study protocols and instructional materials necessary to support student engagement in the ILN-based learning activities.
  3. To design, build and test three complete ILN-based laboratory experiments with accompanying ILN Toolkits, for the FoPS PA course.
  4. To utilize the ILN-based experiments during the 2005-06 academic year and evaluate. Using focus groups and questionnaires, their effectiveness as alternatives to traditional laboratory experiments.
  5. To disseminate the findings of this project to the broader UBC community and establish, through collaboration with the UBC Office of Learning Technology (OLT), an "ILN Working Group and ILN Community of Practice" at UBC.

Project Rationale: The FoPS offers a learning-centred lecture-laboratory course in PA in the third year of the four-year pharmacy program (4 credits; enrollment - 140). While this course currently exposes students to a range of PA techniques important to the hospital, community and industrial pharmacy settings, the scope of the course has been restricted by the limited availability of, access to, and funding for modern scientific instrumentation for undergraduate teaching purposes. To enhance the scope of the PA course, a collaboration between WWU, the UBC OLT and FoPS has been underway to explore the use of WWU's Integrated Laboratory Network (ILN) to provide remote access to scientific instrumentation, software and expertise not currently available to pharmacy students enrolled in the FoPS PA course. Using Internet technologies including high-speed wireless networks, desktop sharing software and two-way voice and video exchange, the ILN has allowed pharmacy students at UBC to access and operate scientific instrumentation available at WWU (a gas chromatograph/mass spectrometer and flame atomic absorption spectrometer not available to UBC pharmacy students) during lectures in IRC to help their learning about instrumentation and theory, and to generate "real-time' data to solve an in-class case-study, and from the FoPS undergraduate PA laboratory to complete a full laboratory experiment. To date, these pilot projects have been well-received by students and have enriched the learning environment in the PA course. This proposal seeks funding to develop the ILN as a legitimate and integral teaching tool for learning-centred PA education.

Methods: Three students with science backgrounds will be hired. Brainstorming and focus group meetings, including FoPS, OLT and WWU team members, will be used to develop the sustainable model for the ILN teaching tool. Concept mapping and storyboarding will follow to conceptualize the ILN Toolkit prototype. Working with expertise at FoPS and WWU, student team members will develop ILN-based laboratory experiments, create the corresponding ILN Toolkits and incorporate them into the existing PA WebCT course. The ILN-based learning activities will be implemented and evaluated during the 2005-06 academic year. In consultation with UBC OLT, a series of seminars, think-tanks and workshops will be organized to disseminate this project to the wider UBC community and establish an "ILN Working Group and Community of ILN Practice" at UBC.

Funding Details
Year 1: Project YearYear 1
Year 1: Funding Year2005/2006
Year 1: Project TypeSmall TLEF
Year 1: Principal InvestigatorSimon Albon
Year 1: Funded Amount42,455
Year 1: Team Members

Simon Albon, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences
Devon Cancilla, Director, Scientific Technical Services, Western Washington University
Michelle Lamberson, Director, Office of Learning Technologies