Teaching innovation

Find out how we use innovation in our teaching.


Online audio / visual lectures

We have recently introduced a new teaching method in some pharmacology teaching. Students are provided with a narrated video of the material prior to the teaching session. Subsequently, a workshop is held to discuss the video in which students can raise any questions. The same material forms the basis of a KUiz (see above), reinforcing the student’s learning.

Synoptic projects

Synoptic projects are a form of assessment that encourage students to integrate an entire year’s learning. For example, in the second year, students simulate the process of drug discovery and development. Students are provided data about the pharmacological function of a novel compound and use this to propose its use as a novel medicine. To do this, students are required to integrate knowledge from all parts of Stage 2 of the MPharm, including medicinal chemistry, analytical chemistry (with regard to chemical characterisation and broader aspects of quality assurance), formulation and manufacture of medicines. This integrates learning in pharmacology, pharmacokinetics, medicinal chemistry and pharmacy practice.

Small group teaching

In the third and fourth years, students undertake a detailed study of a particular subject area (“option topics”). These are usually conducted in small groups of 5-10 students. The formats used may vary from group discussions of published scientific papers, student presentations of material they have studied independently and the production of web pages.

Inter-Professional Education (IPE)

Students take part in interprofessional activities during all four years of their MPharm. In the first year, students collaborate with students from medicine, nursing, physiotherapy, midwifery, biomedical science and social work to design a poster following a patient's journey and look at where each profession has a place in the care of a patient In the second year students take this further and look at cases where interprofessional collaboration has failed and undertake a root cause analysis of a significant failure in the NHS. Students then complete a report on the failure and make recommendations to be implemented in future to avoid similar mistakes. This work is entirely student-directed with minimal facilitation from tutors. In the third year, students use the Values Exchange (see below) to exchange ethical viewpoints with other healthcare professionals. In the fourth year, students use the therapeutic knowledge they have already obtained to teach physiotherapy students about the safe and effective use of medicines. In turn, they are also taught by physiotherapy students about how physical therapies can be used to improve patient outcomes in various disease states such as arthritis, cardiovascular problems and neurological conditions. Students work collaboratively on real patient case scenarios to improve their knowledge and foster interprofessional understandings which will serve them well in the workplace. Further research is being undertaken to evaluate whether or not mobile phone technology can be harnessed to facilitate interprofessional education.

Values Exchange

Running in all four years of the programme, the Values Exchange enables students to develop their ethical awareness and decision-making skills in a supportive and collaborative environment. Students first develop their own response to an ethical challenge, in a structured 3-step process, and then share their thoughts with others. The Values Exchange feeds back to students information from multiple perspectives that allow students to see how their views and decisions compare with those of others. The Values Exchange is also used to facilitate inter-professional education and students from different disciplines, and indeed countries, can learn about and from each other.

Blogging for awareness of current developments

In their final year of study, pharmacy students share newsworthy developments in pharmacy and health care. The posts are moderated and re-shared with the year group if they meet predetermined criteria. Students can then comment on posts and develop discussions on issues in practice. When responding to news stories from the lay press students have to apply their knowledge of the evidence base as they would when presented with a patient in practice demanding the latest miracle cure reported by the Daily Mail. Students negotiate the criteria for marking their contribution to this activity in the assessment phase of the activity. In 2012-13 approaching one thousand posts and comments were contributed to the blog on over 200 different news topics.



Keele University Postgraduate Pharmacy Courses are delivered as distance learning courses. Course material is provided in written format. Over the last two years, we have been converting all of our modules into an online format. Online delivery increases flexibility of learning and allows us to link students to other online resources to consolidate their learning. Most of our modules are now accessed via Keele’s Learning Environment (KLE). Students have provided very positive feedback on this development indicating that it is very user friendly and convenient to have all the study materials in one place that can be accessed at any time. More recently we have produced module workbooks as iPDFs to allow students to make notes within the workbook as they are studying.


We now provide key presentations relating to our programmes as podcasts available on the KLE. Some of the podcasts form part of the course induction material, others are to help students to approach the course assessments. The use of podcasts allows students to access the information wherever and whenever is convenient for them. It also allows them to listen as many times as they need to.


We have recently introduced the use of Webinars to our courses. These allow us to present material and run workshops as we would at a face-to-face study day, but without the need for students to travel to Keele. The first of our webinars evaluated well, with students and tutors commenting that the use of a webinar encouraged them to focus more deeply on the tasks set than they would otherwise have done on a face-to-face study day. Students also commented that the time saved in travelling to Keele was beneficial.

School address:
School of Pharmacy and Bioengineering
Hornbeam Building
Keele University

Research centre address:
School of Pharmacy and Bioengineering
Guy Hilton Research Centre
Thornburrow Drive
Tel: +44 (0) 1782 674988

Jack Ashley building accessibility

Undergraduate enquiries:
Email: enquiries@keele.ac.uk
Tel: +44 (0)1782 734010

Postgraduate enquiries:
Please contact the CPD4ALL team:
Email: phab.postgraduate@keele.ac.uk


Keele Centre for Medicines Optimisation (KCMO)
Tel: +44 (0)1782 733831 / 734131

The Virtual Patient project enquiries:
Contact our Digital Development team:
Email: pharmacy.digital@keele.ac.uk