Knowing what you need to know – Supporting your digital literacy in teaching

There is a national drive in Higher Education to support the digital literacy of teachers and students to ensure that we are maximising the resources available to us to function in today’s increasingly digital society.  Given the dizzying pace of technological output, it is a relief that the goal of digital literacies isn’t about having to know about everything and be using all the latest gadgets and gizmos (an impossible task even for Learning Technologists like me!).

Instead, it is about being aware of the full spectrum of areas in which digital technologies can have an impact. It is ensuring an understanding of the basic principles of how the most relevant tools can be used to support teaching, learning, administration, and research. It is equipping ourselves with the knowledge in which to make critical appraisal of technologies to make an informed choice for their inclusion in our practice, along with our existing knowledge and skills. It is more about why to use technology rather than how to. However, it can still feel like there is a lot to keep up with!

Digital literacies at BSMS

Here at BSMS we want to help our teachers navigate this digital world. We have recently launched a new self-assessment survey for our teaching faculty and course administrators to complete during May 2017. It is based on a framework from the University of Brighton and national guidelines, and has comprehensive links to relevant information for help. The goal is to help our course teams see where their strengths and weaknesses are and point them to resources to fill in the gaps. It will also be used to direct the BSMS Learning Technologies team in supporting our course teams in teaching.

If you are involved with teaching BSMS students, please do feel free to complete the survey and use the supporting information:

BSMS Digital Literacies Survey 2017 (teaching faculty)

Data collection and analysis is anonymous. Get in touch with me if you would like to know more (


External links:

Digital literacies at University of Brighton – the University is taking a leading position in HE with their digital literacies mapping and model. The BSMS model is a tailored version of this one (thanks to the CLT team!).

JISC Digital Capability Discovery Tool (Beta) – This new discovery tool from JISC gives you the opportunity to find out more about your own digital capability through a series of reflective questions across a very broad range

Using images for creating resources

  Jil Fairclough, Medical School Librarian and Technology Enhanced Learning Lead

The BSMS Library Service often gets asked to advise on what images can be used when creating online learning resources. Here is a quick guide on finding and using images.

Questions to ask yourself are:

  • Is it free?
  • Do I need to get permission to use?
  • Do I need to credit the image in a particular way?
  • Are there any restrictions on how I can use the image?
Creative Commons is a widely-recognised and easy-to-use means of applying copyright licence to works, including images

Copyright and Creative Commons

Copyright automatically subsists in content online or on paper. Images are copyright-protected works and include photos, illustrations, and other graphical representations such as graphs and charts. If you are sharing someone’s image, ensure that you are using it in-line with its license or with copyright regulations.

Anything with a ‘Creative Commons’ (CC) licence is normally OK for re-use. The CC licence provides a simple, standardized way to share and use creative work — on conditions of the owner’s choice. CC licences provide usage rights, varying from the default of “all rights reserved” to “some rights reserved.” For more information on CC licences see

Are you sure you have copyright to copy-and-paste that image from Google?

Beware Google Images

Google is merely a search engine which finds images from different websites all over the Internet; it does not mean these images are free to use as you will. While easy to do, it is not legal to re-use such images without obtaining the permission of the copyright holders of the particular material in question.

However, Google Images Advanced search allows you to filter out copyrighted material: Go to Google Images and then Settings (bottom right) > Advanced Search > Usage rights > Choose: ‘Free to use, share or modify, even commercially’ >you then search for images which are OK to re-use and modify.

Reverse Image Searches provide alternative ways to find images similar to an existing one and it is really easy to use: Either drag and drop an image into the search box, upload an image, or copy the URL of the image into the search box.

Finding Images

BSMS Libraries provide access to several online resources where images are available, see the BSMS Library website at:

There are also websites which provide freely available images, including:

A popular image bank that has a filter to search for copyright-cleared images
A repository for free public domain images. Download high quality HD photos or upload your own.
Contains historical images from the Wellcome Library collections. The Biomedical Collection holds over 40 000 high-quality images from the clinical and biomedical sciences. Contains some images available free under CC licenses and some available to purchase.
The NHS Photo Library is a comprehensive resource for the NHS and related social care organisations, providing access to cost-effective photography for use in their communication materials. Access to the library and use of the images is for NHS organisations and Public Health England, Department of Health and related Arm’s Length Bodies (ALBs) who hold an NHS or Department of Health email account.

For further information on using images, see the University of Brighton Images Subject Guide or the University of Sussex Copyright Information page

Physicians Associates at BSMS

  Dr Nikki Dearnley, Clinical Education Fellow, BSMS

In September 2016 BSMS opened its doors to its first intake of Physicians Associate students. As part of my role as a Clinical Education Fellow I am heavily involved in teaching on this course. When I explain to friends and colleagues what my job involves I often get a lot of questions about the role of a Physician Associate, so I am going to use this blog post as an opportunity both to answer some commonly asked questions and perhaps sell to you the benefits of teaching on this course!

What is a Physicians Associate?

Physician Associates are collaborative healthcare professionals with a generalist medical education. They work alongside doctors to provide medical care as a part of the multidisciplinary team. Physician Associates are dependent practitioners working with a dedicated supervisor, but are able to work independently with appropriate support. Physician Associates work within a defined scope of practice and limits of competence. They can:

  • Take medical histories from patients

    The first cohort of Physicians Associate students at BSMS, with course leader Dr Wesley Scott-Smith (front, third from right)
  • Carry out physical examinations
  • See patients with undifferentiated diagnoses
  • See patients with long-term chronic conditions
  • Formulate differential diagnoses and management plans
  • Perform diagnostic and therapeutic procedures
  • Develop and deliver appropriate treatment and management plans
  • Request and interpret diagnostic studies

Currently Physicians Associates are not able to

  • Prescribe
  • Request ionising radiation

How are we training our Physicians Associates at BSMS?

BSMS offers a 2 year postgraduate clinical diploma in Physician Associate Studies. This is an intensive course. The first year is mainly classroom based including clinical skills, anatomy and case based learning sessions. They have clinical attachments in General Practice 1 day per week. The second year is mainly hospital based, with clinical rotations in local trusts.  For more information see the BSMS website

What level do I need to pitch my teaching to Physicians Associate Students?

All of our Physicians Associate Students have a 2:1 or higher in biomedical sciences / healthcare degree. However their clinical experience is variable, and this needs to be taken into consideration when planning a session for these students. We generally aim to pitch our year 1 teaching at the level of a year 2/3 medical student. They are a motivated group who do prepare and read in advance for sessions. Do prepare for questions!

Why should I get involved in teaching Physicians Associates?

Teaching on the Physicians Associate course is very rewarding. You can be at the forefront of educating a rapidly growing profession, and the small cohort allows you to deliver personalised small group teaching to a motivated group of students.

If you are interested in offering teaching on the Physicians Associate course please contact Wesley Scott-Smith (course lead) on

Where can I find out more about Physicians Associates?

For more information on Physicians Associates the following links may be helpful:

Faculty of Physicians Associates