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Jane's cloud for H800 design narratives: blood analysis

Cloud created by:

Jane Irwin
4 April 2013

Title:  Making a video of biochemistry practicals for science, veterinary and medical students


I demonstrated an experiment on blood analysis, wrote the storyboard and script and narrated each step of the experiment in a video made for the National Digital Learning Repository (NDLR).



The experiment was carried out in a biochemistry laboratory in the veterinary school in Dublin. Its purpose was to show students how to measure the packed cell volume (PCV) of a blood sample using a capillary tube, centrifugation and a haematocrit reader, measurement of haemoglobin in a lysed blood sample and how to measure albumin in a plasma sample. Each experiment was carried out slowly and each step was narrated. It was recorded by our learning technologist using a video camera and supported by two members of technical staff.



We were trying to make a video of a set of experiments for uploading to the NDLR as part of a suite of 9 practical classes incorporating different experiments that could be adapted by use for biochemistry educators anywhere in the world. Success was measured by (a) feedback from our peers in Ireland to the resource and (b) uploads and feedback from other biochemistry educators.



  1. Designed storyboard and script
  2. Organised chemicals and assistance from technical staff, as well as assistance from our learning technologist, who did the filming
  3. Ensured everything was in place before we started (with assistance)
  4. Carried out the experiments one by one, with filming as we went. It took longer than expected as some shots had to be repeated and we had to substitute some chemicals for others that gave the same colour change (we had run out of the relevant chemical).
  5. Editing of the film footage was then carried out to remove segments that were not required and ensure correct sequencing and ‘flow’ to the video. Some of the script also had to be re-recorded as it was unclear or in some places slightly garbled.



The expected outcome was a video of approximately 8 minutes illustrating how to measure the PCV and assay albumin and haemoglobin in blood. This was accompanied by a practical manual explaining in step-by-step fashion to students how to carry out the experiment, as well as a manual for technicians explaining how to make up the chemicals required for the experiment. This was then uploaded, after extensive editing by our learning technologist, onto the NDLR website (available at ). The software used to make the package was Articulate. The software was intended to be available to other biochemistry educators. As of 2 April 2013 there were 102 views, 52 of which were from the Russian Federation. It was also presented at a symposium organised by the NDLR in Dublin in May 2012 and attracted some interest from other delegates.



I discovered that making an educational video is a complex procedure that took far longer than I anticipated. Careful preparation is essential and no matter how well one understands the topic, it is inadvisable to assume that words will come from nowhere! Editing also takes quite a lot of time.



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