CPM Lab Updates for COVID-19 and Beyond!
Through a collaborative effort between the Division of Preclinical Sciences and the College's IT department, CPM received more than $500,000 from the CARES Act to improve and enhance the technology in preclinical instructional spaces. In the anatomy lab, new all-in-one medical grade computers with webcams have been installed at each cadaver station. The webcam is connected to an arm that extends up to 12 feet! While physical distancing only permits two students at each cadaver table at a time, those who are in the lab can livestream the dissection to the rest of their group members who are watching remotely in a breakout room in Collaborate Ultra. Students in the lab can interact with those elsewhere via the chat feature. Additionally, 43" ultra HD television monitors will be placed around the anatomy lab. Using the webcams, faculty and staff can project structures of interest in a cadaver to the screens around the room, rather than have students gather around one table.
Similar upgrades have been made in the microbiology/histology lab to enhance instruction administered remotely or while adhering to proper physical distancing. New all-in-one computers with webcams on extension arms are located at various locations on the lab tables so that students in the lab can livestream lab activities with their group members. As with the anatomy lab, 43" ultra HD television monitors have been placed around the space to allow for interesting findings at one station to be projected to the rest of the students in the lab.
Perhaps most exciting, a new mixed reality (virtual reality/augmented reality) laboratory has been created on the third floor of the college! The lab will serve to augment anatomy dissection instruction, as the number of students permitted in the anatomy lab is restricted due to physical distancing. Thirty Microsoft HoloLens 2 mixed reality headsets will be purchased, to be used in conjunction with the HoloAnatomy Software Suite.
With respect to general instructional spaces, a portion of the CARES funds have been used to purchase new Meeting Owl conference cameras to enhance remote instruction in the classrooms. The podiatric medical classrooms (a divisble modular space) will undergo a full technology buildout, with lecterns installed on both sides of the divisible room. Room and table cameras will be included to allow for recording of specific procedures in addition to didactic content. Finally, in order to support the technology updates, the network capabilities at the college were updated.
Jill Kawalec, PhD, Professor and Division Head of Preclinical Sciences, stresses that while the upgrades will support remote instruction and physically distanced learning, the improvements will continue to enhance preclinical instruction long after the pandemic has passed. "The new and upgraded state-of-the-art technology in the preclinical instructional spaces will further solidify CPM's position of excellence in training podiatric medical students", said Dr. Kawalec. "We believe that our students will benefit academically from the new technology and are excited for them to get started!"