Sherman Shares is a monthly publication
of Sherman College.

  The Evolution of Progressive Classroom Presentations

Perry O. Rush, D.C.

One instructor’s use of the digital camera has recently completely altered his classroom presentations. As “old school” teachers discover the wonders of technology, students learn faster and struggle less to grasp classroom material.

Students frequently voice their appreciation for the changes made in the x-ray anatomy course taught by Assistant Professor of Clinical Sciences Perry Rush, D.C. Soon after, his two x-ray positioning courses took on a new appearance, followed by two more courses.

This overhaul in presentation style led to the natural evolution of a CD in his x-ray anatomy course. The CD, an organized collection of 371 labeled x-ray views, comes with radiographic notes for purchase in the bookstore. The CD has been a welcome tool for classroom material review. It contains eight PowerPoint picture presentations identifying every anatomical part covered in the notes. It also contains 92 digital pictures of real bone specimens from numerous angles. Digital pictures that are taken of x-rays in a view box are then downloaded into a computer file and added to a growing repository used to custom build presentations as needed. The advantages are many.

As it often happens, these changes to Rush’s course came as a response to one particular problem and ended up as an improvement in many ways. As the x-rays students used in the course became old, scratched and lost, it became more and more difficult to replace them for various reasons. Each quarter, fewer and fewer good x-rays were available for student use. A search of the Internet provided some resources but lacked certain flexibility.

Flexibility came as digital x-rays were incorporated into the class presentations and each student could see the same image of a handpicked x-ray projected on a large screen. This, of course is done all the time in learning institutions. But what may be different in this case is the ease of customizing presentations from resources built from the instructor’s own large and growing repository, a repository easily shared with other faculty. What if a clear close-up of a particular anatomical part was needed? What if an x-ray of a “posticus ponticus” was needed and the student could see a real bone specimen right beside it? These examples may be hard to find in a book, but they are now part of an easily accessible digital repository.

A total of three CDs in three different courses have improved the learning process, and this repository has branched out into other areas as well. Rush’s X-ray Setups Positioning CD contains a step-by-step PowerPoint “picture cruise” of each step for all cervical and full spine x-ray positions taught in his two courses. As students prepare for clinic entrance exams, the CD provides an excellent review. It also provides consistency from classroom to implementation and makes those materials easily accessible for course review committees and health center staff.

As individual faculty became inquisitive, Dean of Clinical Sciences Robert Irwin, D.C., asked Rush to do a faculty presentation of his course development improvements. This presentation gave a step-by-step approach to Rush’s methods.

“In light of technology advances, what I am doing is simple and basic,” Rush says, “although I had to deal with quite a learning curve. Until recently, I didn’t know much about digital cameras. I also didn’t know that much about PowerPoint presentations, or using the Smart Room equipment in the classroom.”

The basic tools Rush uses include an Optio 450 Pentax digital camera, a computer with CD burner and an x-ray viewbox. Sherman provided the necessary equipment, and a colleague helped him master PowerPoint. Another helped him with the production of the CDs. Trial and error provided expertise, and enthusiasm grew out of classroom transformation.

After watching Rush’s faculty presentation, Associate Professor of Clinical Sciences Bill Fehl, D.C., approached Rush for some initial mentoring. Soon Fehl was also caught up in the process of transforming his classroom presentations.

The x-ray department is now also in the process of building an x-ray repository of digital images from x-rays obtained in the health center. A repository of digital images in other courses unrelated to x-ray will provide similar advantages to other instructors.