You are here: Home / Stories / CALRAD - principles of radiation protection of patients

CALRAD - principles of radiation protection of patients

by Jennifer Wilson published Sep 01, 2014 02:05 PM, last modified Jun 08, 2015 02:07 PM
I was involved with both the Information Technology Training Initiative (ITTI) producing Guide authoring system training materials - with Dr J.D. Baty and then with Dr R.A. Lerski I was involved with a project CALRAD, in the area of Medical Physics and Ionising Radiation regulations. This was under the Teaching and Learning Technology Programme.

The two projects I was involved with were at the University of Dundee. For future interest, these projects really did aim to both improve learner experience, with eg Case Studies, but the thrust of the programmes was very much to reduce the need for lecturers or teaching time. But some snippets to place these in time context ! I used to be sent to send an email to a different department. It was very difficult to log on - all a text based MS DOS ? screen. The email would never go first time. But that was still very advanced ! This was probably around 1993.

We made very early use of trying to capture video using a video board in the computer. The first clip we did was a snippet of Coronation Street ! The board was from Creative Labs I think. Our programme CALRAD was pretty good in my opinion and was validated for use in Medical Physics by the NRPB (National Radiological Protection Board). It was a finalist in the European Academic Software Awards in 1998. And I proved that it did actually teach - I published this result in the ALT-J Journal Vol 6 Part 1. However we thought we were clever forcing users to have to use a screen resolution of 640 x 480 pixels so that they would view it in full screen. We hard-wired it into the programme so you couldn't start it unless that was your screen resolution. So sorry to everyone afterwards, it seemed a good idea at the time ! But it just shows how much technology changes and how quickly. In fact I believe Radiological regulations also changed at that time so at least there was another reason why our programme was probably only useful for a few years after it was produced !

And finally just remembering how the judges at the European Academic Software Awards included students and they could not believe that we had not written for the internet. But the internet was not widely used when we started our project in around 1994. And certainly not for training materials. A large project like this has to just base what it plans to do on what exists at the time, but in the world of computing, certainly at that time, things changed rapidly ! Also...I see your list of personalities but you do not list two main people involved in these projects - I cant remember their surnames but there was a Prof Brian ..... from St Andrews - he was Irish ! And used to keep me sane on train journeys back from conferences with Dr Baty ;-) and there was Sarah ..... who was a probably up and coming civil servant ? who ran the TLTP ?