Teaching Matters

PS6 R4 Virtual projects: A learning and teaching strategy for maintaining connections during and post COVID-19

Back to program

Teaching Matters 2020 | Presentation Details | 1 December 20201 Dec 2020


Virtual projects: A learning and teaching strategy for maintaining connections during and post COVID-19


  • Sarah Prior, Tasmanian School of Medicine, CoHM*
  • Phoebe Griffin, Tasmanian School of Medicine, CoHM
  • Lauri O’Brien, Tasmanian School of Medicine, CoHM
  • Pieter Van Dam, Tasmanian School of Medicine, CoHM*


Digital connections

Presentation Type

Showcase Presentation


Room 4




The Tasmanian School of Medicine Clinical Redesign courses are designed to deliver work-integrated learning in partnership with healthcare organisations to deliver workplace projects in real time. COVID-19 has disrupted teaching and learning in postgraduate health and medical education, and in work integrated learning more generally. Our students faced disruption both to their education and their workplace commitments. In response to these ongoing challenges a long-term strategy was developed for supporting students both professionally and academically. Based on the literature (Biasutti & El-Deghaidy, 2015) available in the area of on-line work integrated learning, a suite of virtual projects were developed for students unable to undertake a workplace project to complete the course requirements. These projects are set in a virtual “made-up” health service; designed to reflect current Australian health service provision; and provide a context in which students can develop problem-solving skills through data gathering and analysis, exercises and planning implementation of appropriate interventions. The characteristics of a problem-based learning approach, using problems as a stimulus and focus for student activity (Boud & Feltti, 1998), enable students to meet the course learning outcomes through real-world scenarios with data adapted from previous redesign projects. The virtual projects are sufficiently flexible that students can tailor them to their own needs, experiences and interests; with the teaching team facilitating this individualised learning approach. This provides an environment that encourages creativity and critical reflection, which can be adapted to a wide variety of learning styles (Fire & Casstevens, 2013). Once sufficient numbers of project completions are reached, an evaluation study will take place.


Biasutti, M., & El-Deghaidy, H. (2015). Interdisciplinary project-based learning: An online wiki experience in teacher education. Tech. Pedagog. Educ., 24(3), 339-355.

Boud, D., & Feletti G. (Eds.) (1998). The challenge of problem-based learning. Psychology Press.

Fire, N., & Casstevens, W. J. (2013). The use of cultural historical activity theory (CHAT) within a constructivist learning environment to develop core competencies in social work. J. Teac. Soc. Work, 33(1), 41-58.

Back to program