It is like having our own library of 170 000 volumes that is constantly being updated

17 July 2023

The digital knowledge network of the University of Pécs Medical School, PotePedia, supports the work of students and teachers with new services and new opportunities. The results of the latest development of the second-generation medical education learning material system provide effective support for the 3500 students from around 80 countries who come to study medicine at the Medical School in Pécs, which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year.

"PotePedia, the cloud-based storage for the training material of the Medical School in Pécs, has come a long way. It has been developed and fine-tuned by a team of developers for four years based on feedback from the departments, and it is still unique in terms of medical education in Hungary", said László Fekete, Head of the School's Digital Marketing Office, also the coordinator of the learning material development project and the developer of the digital tool aimed at on the one hand summarising and updating the knowledge of medical education in Pécs and developing the learning culture on the other hand.

As he said, PotePedia, which connects the contents in a similar way to Wikipedia, is an integral part of the medical information technology ecosystem that the UP Medical School is developing in a coordinated way for digital well-being in the context of the PotePillars strategy’s learning culture development.

These include the School’s website, the intranet, the School's teaching technology tools - such as the internal streaming system or POTEcho, the quick and easy feedback system for communication between students and teachers  - and the POTE+ mobile app, which will be available on the App Store and Google Play from June after being finalized by the development team and will be ready for use from the autumn semester.

According to László Fekete, the knowledge network developed by the School, which not only responds to the needs of the 21st century but goes beyond them, has become the complete digital storage of the training material of the long-established Medical School in Pécs. Thousands of lecture materials, notes, handouts, and videos are available to the students, providing the basis for effective learning and successful exams.

"We imagine it as if we had a library of tens of thousands of volumes, where books are constantly updated, and when you sign in, you are always presented with the latest, up-to-date version of the given learning material. There are now nearly 170,000 files on PotePedia, organized in 7-8,000 folders and taking up more than 1 terabyte of cloud storage. This core curriculum is constantly being expanded and updated, but the so-called second generation of PotePedia, based on a modern approach to learning culture through teacher-student collaboration, is also available," he explains.

The state-of-the-art learning material system based on a new approach is complete for basic and preclinical subjects, but thanks to the very dynamic development, it is planned to include the clinical subjects by the end of the autumn semester of the 2023/2024 academic year. "The latest research put the half-life of data sets describing medicine at roughly half a year. At this rate of development, it is perhaps more obvious how important it is to keep the learning materials up to date in a 6-year training program," says László Fekete.

Question banks, learning materials using 3D technologies, new levels of collaboration

The project leader undoubtedly highlighted the up-to-dateness of the knowledge base as the most important aspect but stressed that this is just the beginning, as student feedback accompanying the entire curriculum and the opportunities for face-to-face and workshop-like teacher-student collaboration will bring a new approach and a new level to our education.

He pointed out that more emphasis will be put on individual learning and self-evaluation by developing question banks, not only in the classical test form but also embedded in videos and audio materials. At the same time, the work of teachers will be supported with more qualitative and quantitative data than ever before on the ways in which students use the learning materials provided to them and how effectively.

"There are several improvements in the system that can greatly improve the quality of education. Our teachers can see how students process their course materials - which can be accompanied by tests and follow-up questions - and how many minutes on average students spend studying them, all of which can provide useful feedback in the future," said the head of the Digital Marketing Office of the Medical School in Pécs.

PotePedia will feature new technologies, such as one of the most exciting demonstration areas, 3D, but will also host the content of the campus-wide streaming system, as well as technological support for the administration of lectures. The greatest current challenge in the development is to provide a better user interface to manage and connect the large and diverse digital landscape of disciplines according to needs and functions, and will provide interactive and customizable dashboard and mobile application support for PotePedia users.

"Besides the up-to-date accessibility, perhaps the most important innovation is that the digital learning material system of the Medical School in Pécs now collects the feedback of our students in order to improve the system and user experience further, but above all to provide our teachers with this feedback in order to support the learning process and comprehension, and improve the results of exams", emphasizes László Fekete.

Examples of the latter include the possibility of giving feedback directly to the authors of the course materials and the possibility of asking the teacher of the given subject within each course material. It is also expected that the teacher collaboration toolbox (stand-alone subject areas) will be opened, which could function either as workshops or as internal professional backgrounds.

Front page photo:

Máté Lorencz

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