Movement at the station

Posted on September 13th, 2011 in Medical Education by Kirsty

Well, movement from the Tasmanian Polytechnic to General Practice Training Tasmania for me at any rate.

I haven’t been back to this blog in a while, the gardenfarm one has been keeping my blogging fingers busy in the meantime.

I’ve uploaded some mindmaps from last week’s GPET11 (General Practice Education and Training) Convention to Flickr . Still getting my head around some of the terminology, the convention was invaluable for getting a sense of the larger landscape across Australia, and starting to form some links with other education research people.

But wait there’s more – at GPET11 mindmaps

Looking forward to 3 days of RecentChangesCamp

Posted on January 27th, 2011 in not yet categorised by Kirsty

For info about the event see –

Here’s my intro post – what I’m hoping to get out of it

Intro and Questions for RecentChangesCamp 2011 Canberra from Kirsty Sharp on Vimeo.

Trawling through memory banks for Visual Basic

Posted on December 14th, 2010 in not yet categorised by Kirsty

It’s been a while since I had any use for Visual Basic, but recently it came in very handy to help solve a crazy workflow issue for a colleague.

The problem:

Basically some form letters need to be prepared on a regular basis but the database spits them out as flat text files. No fields, no delimiters, not even regular spacing between different records in the file. So to tidy up the files it has been a manual process to copy and paste from a .txt file into a .doc file, format and tweak so they fit in the plastic windows of the envelopes. All thanks to a new computer system that hasn’t got it quite right yet from that perspective. Paul, our new team member, spotted this crazy workflow and decided there must be a better way. Perhaps mail merge or similar? But what to do when the data is not presented in a logical framework?

Enter Macros and Visual Basic to the rescue!

We worked out the steps that needed to be completed, used a fair bit of Find/Replace and a bit of basic formatting. The only stumbling block depended on being able to input the date. In our macro recording of course the date information in the Find/Replace was hardcoded into the macro. Useful for today but won’t work tomorrow. Input boxes were needed. I couldn’t for the life of me remember what the code or syntax was but I knew it was possible. So a quick googling later, we have a working solution. I think the first time I experimented with macros and visual basic was back in 1994 or 1995.

We need to test the new process for a week, and get some others to test also to make sure we can transfer the solution.

Update: Process has been tested and today (14/12) is being rolled out to other staff members.

I’m a happy geek. Nice to know some skills stick around a lot longer than you think they will. Yes, I am feeling pretty pleased with myself.

eBook Exploration

Posted on November 5th, 2010 in not yet categorised by Kirsty

This idea and exploration was kicked off by exploring what we wanted from a first foray into iPad app development. With the change in Apple’s rules about using flash for app development we could now consider doing app development work in house.

As a team we talked about what materials we already had at our fingertips and also which teams either had, or would soon be getting iPads for student use. The Health Services team were a key target as there have been several elearning innovations projects with them in recent times and iPads were on the horizon. Jacquie highlighted the many videos and a Policy & Procedure manual in use by the team, Anita wondered out loud about PDFs with embedded video, and Google then answered a whole series of questions. iBooks on the iPad can display .epub files that have video embedded using the new HTML5 <video> element.

Basically we had to combine the instructions from a few sites for the overall process

And Liz Castro writing at for the video part.

It took a few goes to get the steps in the right order but we got there.

Next week I’ll run am initial training session on how to work through this process with my team which will mean documenting the steps a little more and also typing up the html code so we can copy and paste it easily.

Oh, and yes, you can use any word processor that will do the export as filtered html with heading styles, and any html editor that allows you to manually edit the code element.

The output can be viewed in iBooks after transferring via iTunes, and we wait to see which other ebook readers will support the embedded video.

Elearning Innovations Progress Meeting: iQTI projects

Posted on October 28th, 2010 in Learning tech by Kirsty

Colin Ogden kicked off the current project updates with a quick talk about using the iQTI player for workplace assessment and how it has simplified his work as a workplace assessor. No paper checklists, no separate digital camera, no laptop. He did a comparative day with one teacher using old methods, and another assessor using iQTI on the iPhone, and there was a significant time saving, which means you can spend more time with the student rather than on paperwork. You do have to explain to supervisors in the workplace what you are doing – iee you’re not just standing there sending text messages! Also you need to get signed release forms for taking photos, both from students as well as employer for taking photos in their workplace (eg you will probably need a formal agreement on what can be photographed such as specific workplace practices). A user guide has been developed which helps teachers use the iQTI tool. Option to send the evidence gathered both back to institute, employer and student which helps with keeping people informed.

Janet Fearns talked about the project with the drilling team also using the iQTI player. They also found the simplicity of everything being in the one device very practical in the workplace.
Shared Services Learning Technologies are the gatekeeper in providing the access to the app, it is not yet available directly on the iTunes store.

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