University of Queensland Pharmacy School joins in on Pharmatopia – giving students a three-dimensional virtual world tour of pharmacy.
University of Queensland Pharmacy School is one of 10 universities from around the world that has collaboratively developed an innovative pharmacy learning resource using online virtual reality platform ‘Second Life’.
Initially developed by the Monash University Pharmacy School, the university created a virtual island called ‘Pharmatopia’, which is divided into four zones, each with specific teaching and learning objectives including a manufacturing zone, clinical zone, community zone and industrial zone.
University of Queensland Pharmacy School lecturers, Ms Jacqueline Bond and Dr Sally Firth, who have been involved in the development of ‘Pharmatopia’, introduced University of Queensland Pharmacy School’s first-year pharmacy students to ‘Pharmatopia’ for the first time this semester as part of a virtual laboratory class.
Ms Bond said the virtual reality resource allowed students to practice pharmaceutical calculations required for the compounding process.
“Calculations are presented as prescriptions from virtual patients, phone enquiries or ‘chats’ with virtual nurses, doctors and patients,” Ms Bond said.
“Students select the required ingredients from an extensive selection of drugs and raw materials and measure out the correct amount or provide other dosage related data as prompted.
“It’s a much more fun way to learn calculations than the way we were traditionally taught and it’s been a very exciting project to develop.”
The ‘Pharmatopia’ project brings together expertise from each of the university collaborators in a shared practice model, in which each university builds a teaching module on the virtual world, and then shares it with the rest of the ‘Pharmatopia’ community.
University of Queensland Pharmacy School‘s contribution to ‘Pharmatopia’ is a virtual compounding dispensary located in the manufacturing zone.
Lecturer at the University of Queensland Pharmacy School, Dr Sally Firth, said she saw great potential in the virtual reality resource assisting her students in their studies.
“The virtual environment provides real-time feedback on a student’s progress, and allows students to practice an exercise many times without consuming actual resources, occupying laboratory space or needing the guidance of a tutor,” Dr Firth said.
“The online platform also allows for communication between students within the virtual environment, providing an opportunity to work together to solve problems.
“The project is currently in its Beta phase, and will continue to expand as new practice environments are added, but it seems that the sky is the limit for this revolutionary new learning model.”
“Whether this is in the classroom, library or home, students can complete as many exercises as they want in a safe, anonymous and non-judgemental environment.”
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Learn more about the University of Queensland Pharmacy School
Learn more about the Monash University Pharmacy School