A Journey to England and Wales

October 1994

I have just returned from a very pleasant trip to England and Wales. While there I visited the schools of Pharmacy at the Universities of Bath, Cardiff, and Leicester.

At the University of Bath Drs Steve Moss (prsshm@bath.ac.uk) and Peter Redfern (prsphr@bath.ac.uk) with Keith Brown (prsknb@bath.ac.uk ) are coordinating the Pharmacy Consortium for Computer Assisted Learning (PCCAL). This is a centrally funded three year project to produce and provide computer assisted learning modules for the 16 Pharmacy schools in the UK. The funding provides for programmers in a number of the schools with the faculty of the schools acting as information resources. A common format has been followed in all the modules produced to date. Each module is prepared using Authorware for a '386 or better IBM PC. I have placed a list of the currently available modules on the WWW server at:

http://www.cpb.ouhsc.edu/mm/pccal.html

Steve and Peter plan to attend the AAPS meeting in San Diego. Stop by their booth and ask for a demo disk.

On completion of the Bath inspection and working my way out of the city it was a short drive to Cardiff. Here I visited David Temple (temple@cardiff.ac.uk), Director of the Pharmacy C.E. program for Wales. David was at the workshop in Austin last May. David has a large staff including an Assistant Director, tutors (to visit pharmacies throughout Wales), programmers, and secretarial staff. Quite an operation. Interestingly the majority of his funding is provided by the Welsh Home Office. C.E. material is provide free to the end-user pharmacist. Similar programs apparently operate in the other countries that make up the UK. The C.E. program has a large video tape library with material from many sources including tapes produced within the department combining computer animation or presentations with other video material. There is also a large collection of material available in printed form. Perhaps the most interesting delivery method is the approach used to provide computer assisted instruction. The tutors travel around Wales delivering the CAL material and a computer, on-loan, for the pharmacist to use. This provides a standardized platform for delivery of the learning material and the resource to use the CAL material at home or at work. CAL material is presently prepared using HyperCard but future work may use Director.

David introduced me to two other Faculty at the Welsh School of Pharmacy, Drs Bob Stevens (stevensRG@cardiff.ac.uk ) and Bob Sewell (sewell@cardiff.ac.uk). As part of the PCCAL project and separately funded through the ... they have produced a number of CAL packages using Authorware on the IBM PC. They use a classroom of 15-20 computers and the CAL modules to replace a number of animal experiments that were previously performed by students in the pharmacology teaching lab. There also had an intriguing Œtouch screenš set-up. The computer monitor is placed on a position sensitive platform. After calibration, any pressure on the monitor screen is translated into a Œmouseš click via the balance platform and the serial port of the computer. Very interesting.

After a brief stop in the land of the bard I arrived in Leicester. Here I visited Paul Hodg... and the school. Paul has been running Pharmacy Mail Exchange for a number of years and more recently started up the UUCP newsgroup sci.med.pharmacy. Paul has a long standing interest in computers and the Internet providing a valuable resource for Pharmacy. Paul showed me the two computer teaching labs in his building that are available to their students. Leicester is a member of the PCCAL group and uses a number of modules in their curriculum. A quick run down the M1 (what is that speed limit again) and I was ready for my return trip courtesy of American Airlines. Those frequent flyer miles do add up.

It was a quick, seven day visit but it gave a very useful insight into CAL and CE, preparation and delivery and other computer related issues. I hope by this brief report I can share some of my observations.

David Bourne (david-bourne@uokhsc.edu)