Dr. Claudia Krebs:
Academic YouTube Star Sparks Worldwide Learning
My med students always felt overwhelmed at the amount of information they had to learn about brain anatomy. There’s a documented thing called neurophobia and it refers to how scared students and practitioners are of symptoms that relate to the brain, because they feel they don’t understand it very well. I wanted to get my students past that, by presenting the information to them in a more engaging way. So I worked with MedIT to make a series of videos that explain parts of the brain in detail. I tasked my students with watching the videos before the lecture, so that they’d come prepared to go deeper. When they got to class, they took a quiz on the concepts and then got down to work applying the material for greater understanding. The experience flipped traditional education upside-down; instead of me telling them what they needed to know, they learned it on their own time and then we worked together to apply and deepen that knowledge in class.
We were getting hits from all around the world. While most of them originated in the US, Canada, Australia and Europe — as would be expected — I also had people in Iraq and Bangladesh emailing me about the videos. I gave a talk about this project at the Faculty of Medicine in Lund, Sweden, and then a couple professors approached me and asked to collaborate. I was invited back as a visiting scholar. I’ve presented at SANORD, a conference for Nordic countries about how we can improve public health in sub-Saharan Africa through open access to education. And I’m collaborating with researchers in Glasgow, Lund and Amsterdam who want to produce anatomy media, too, so that we can offer a broader spectrum of content. It’s not just for students, either; this is useful for the life-long learning of health care practitioners everywhere. And it’s particularly valuable in places where there is a need for high-quality instruction but where they’re experiencing brain drain, like in parts of Africa. My goal is to engage educators in these areas of the world in order to prevent that from happening. If we can collaborate, we can engage and build capacity locally.
Professor Claudia Krebs helps her undergraduate neuroanatomy students learn the course content.
Warning: Some users might find this content disturbing.
It’s our social responsibility as a publicly funded institution to share our knowledge. At UBC, we’re lucky to have the budget to create these informative, engaging videos, and our team at MedIT is just incredible with scripting, shooting and editing to make the videos really come alive. I could never do it without them! By sharing these videos widely, we can really improve medical education not just for UBC students but for those in other places, too. We’re passionate about open education and are reaching out to universities in developing countries to create partnerships. One of the main foci of the United Nation’s post-2015 agenda is to have more digital information available as open education resources. Now we’ve got a network of collaborators interested in creating digital media in anatomy education and we’re working together to create a repository of resources that can be shared.