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NOSM’s eLearning Initiatives Awarded 2008 ORION Learning Honour

Posted on November 11, 2008

The Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM) has been selected the ORION Learning Award recipient of 2008. In responding to the unique challenges of Northern Ontario, NOSM has created an innovative distributed model of education that integrates the latest in broadband technologies and eLearning initiatives to assist in the delivery of its distinctive curriculum.

The ORION Learning Award recognizes the achievements of faculty, students and/or staff in organizations in the implementation of initiatives that make use of ORION and advanced networks to promote and facilitate successful examples of innovations in teaching, learning and training. NOSM received this award at a ceremony held at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre on November 4.

Dr. David Topps, NOSM’s Director of eLearning, was on hand to accept the award on behalf of NOSM. “Wherever they are in Northern Ontario, NOSM learners and instructors can avail themselves to a wide range of eLearning technologies that are designed to advance both the learning process and educational content,” he said. “The Northern Ontario School of Medicine is extremely honoured to be recognized for its eLearning achievements.”

NOSM’s innovative eLearning initiatives include:

Virtual Patients: Game-based patient simulations that allow multiple cases to be rapidly developed and shared between multiple organizations.

Health Services Virtual Organisation (HSVO): A project to create a sustainable research platform for experimental development of shared ICT-based medical services across health services organizations across Canada.

The Northern Ontario Health Information Network (NOHIN) library: A distributed resource with access to over 2,500 full-text medical journals, multimedia resources and learning objects, provides additional online resources such as Online House Calls to support learners and a new open source Web 2.0 library information system.

Virtual Educational Research Services Environment (VERSE): A project that uses virtual reality, 3D visualization and hapto-visual (“virtual touch”) interfaces to clinical simulations.

Northern Ontario Simulators in Health Education Network (NOSHN): Provides distributed access and use of tools such as virtual patients and simulators to education institutions across 1 million square km of Northern Ontario.

Pan-Northern Database (PaNDA): A custom-designed, network-enabled database for coordination of educational opportunities and resources across the health-care education community that was designed through collaboration with partner institutions.

iAnatomy: High-resolution 3D anatomy images based on a large library of real anatomical dissections. Developed collaboratively with Stanford University Medical Media & Information Technologies.

PocketSnips: Brings high-quality educational materials by text and video to learner’s Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs), including information on specific procedures.

Praxis & Red Panda: Studies on the use of PDAs as communication, data capture and reference devices in a distributed educational environment, focused on the clinical learning of NOSM’s residency programs but drawing information from across the School.

NOSM Team Sites: A set of online collaborative tools that support NOSM’s research teams, enabling central sharing of large documents, files and multimedia.


The Ontario Research and Innovation Optical Network (ORION) is Ontario’s ultra high-speed research and education network which connects all of Ontario’s universities, most colleges, several medical and other public research facilities and a growing number of school boards to one another and to the global grid of research and education networks.