360 image of a hospital ward

Amongst the various media assets we produce to support and enhance education, 360 virtual tours is one that is growing in popularity. Whether it’s to view on Youtube, Thinglink or upload onto a VR headset, 360 images and videos empower learning. They enable students to experience and access places, from a classroom or the comfort of their own homes, that may not be readily available to them in real life. 360 degree media allow students to learn within a safe environment and to prepare themselves prior to experiencing the real thing.

This capacity to prepare students is reflected in a recent project we produced for Dr. Debbie Thackray (Faculty of Health Sciences). She secured funding from Health Education England for the Clinical Placement Enhancement Project (CPEP). The CPEP project is aimed at Allied Health Professional students with a view to provide them support when preparing for their first clinical placement. The project is a result of recent student feedback to help ‘take the mystery out of the clinical setting before going onto placement’. Students want to be familiar with the hospital and clinical environment before stepping into the physical space.

Debbie is a member of the Thinglink pilot Teams channel headed by James Allen, Learning Designer of the Digital Learning team, and asked for help in creating the 360 resources. Our proposed solution was to capture several 360 images to create a virtual tour of three separate environments; a Community setting, a Hospital ward and a private Out-Patients clinic.

Below is a quick explanation of how the 360 images for the CPEP project were used in two different ways to support learning.

360 Learning resource for a community setting

This resource is created using two 360 images; the front door and inside the lounge of the patient. The aim of this resource is to familiarise students of what to expect when making home visits.  This resource is used as a case study rather than a virtual tour. Hotspots were placed on objects around the room to provide more information and outline issues to look out for and to consider prior to deciding the ‘state’ of a patient. This type of resource is an invaluable training tool as it enables the students to learn within a safe environment both for patient and for student. The contextual case study can be tailored to different circumstances so that students are armed with the knowledge to deal with many situations they may come across in real life.

360 image Frailty Case Study

Southampton General Hospital ward.

Another way of using 360 images is to create a virtual tour. This type of resource is useful when access such as a hospital ward is restricted, or if the student had visited the ward before and would like to use it as a familiarisation tool in the comfort of their own home without the pressure of ‘being in the way’. This 360 tour enables students to view a busy ward where they can explore how an actual ward is laid out. Navigation markers are used around to move from one area to another, and focus points are dotted around the scenes which contain beneficial information to trainee AHP students. This type of 360 will hopefully boost the confidence of AHP students who will be placed in hospital settings.

360 Hospital ward

Production process

The 360 images were captured using a 360 Go Pro Fusion camera. These were then stitched together using the Fusion Studio and uploaded to Thinglink to form the virtual tour. Focus points are added that can include text, images, URLs or videos.

Feedback from students.

Since the resource was launched, 20 students provided feedback about the media resource and gave a score of between 4 and 5 (out of 5) on the production quality of the resource, and 3 to 5 (out of 5) on how effective the media resource was in explaining the curriculum content.

Here are a few comments from student about the resource:   

Students feedback

If you would like more information on how to create 360 environments email us at: digital-learning@soton.ac.uk, or if you would like to have a go yourself, view the various equipment that we hire out to support Education.

Media’s interesting project for June

Mimi Lee


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