Educators in a Dangerous Time: effective online healthcare education with Dr. Jackie Whittaker. Episode #423

  BJSM Friday Podcast #423

On the heels of a global pandemic, we have all been asked to quickly adapt to our new surroundings – in most cases our living room – and to carry on with delivering quality education. For many of us, this means scrambling to make our once classroom-based educational materials online-ready for the first time.

Where do we begin?

Dr. Erin Macri joins Dr. Jackie Whittaker in the latest BJSM podcast to share tips and tricks for both delivering and receiving effective, high quality online education. Dr. Whittaker has delivered online university-level education for over six years, and her experience and insight are invaluable during these difficult times.

Dr. Whittaker is a Canadian-trained Physical Therapist and currently works as an Assistant Professor in Department of Physical Therapy at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. Her main research interests lie in musculoskeletal rehabilitation, and in particular she aims to prevent and reduce the burden of knee OA in individuals following traumatic knee injury.


Dr. Jackie Whittaker


  1. Practicalities
    • Wired connection
    • Good webcam
    • Muting – background knowledge on the platform. Encourage instructors and students to practice or watch an instructions video, set up the platform for their personal preference prior to the first class, etc.
    • Front lighting > backlighting
    • IT support support availability (timely)
    • Test run
  2. One of the most important ways in which online instruction differs from in-person instruction is that there are fewer opportunities for students to express themselves, to have a voice – there is a real possibility for miscommunication. Some key points to consider are:
    • Typically, communication moves from being in-person where there are synchronous verbal and non-verbal cues to being through email where the two persons communication don’t have the benefit of the cues or having a real time conversation. This requires a different skill set.
    • Effective communication will depend on well thought out questions and responses. Students need to be able to clearly state their needs.
    • Instructors will often see a large increase in emails that they are receiving from students.
  3. Remind students that online discussions are not blogs or social media, and therefore students need to spend some time formulating their questions and any responses they provide (you might want to give out a few marks for quality of online posts).

Communities of Practice



  • Elsevier strategies for online learning
  • Creating new habits (the need to develop new habits around learning where the traditional triggers – walking into a lecture theatre – are now absent)
  • Focus and avoiding distractions (especially useful for students who now have to move their learning solely online, which is often designed to distract us).


  • Learning Management System (stick with what your institution has)
    • e-Class
    • Canvas – collaborate Ultra (up to 250 participants)
  • Recording Asynchronous Sessions
  • Discussion Groups
    • Institutions Learning Management System
  • Hosting Synchronous Sessions
    • Institutions Learning Management System
    • Zoom + Slido
    • Skype for Business

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