My MRP Research

Process and Progress
Image of MRP GUI development

GUI Development

I have learned a lot about design since coming to BMC. I had not been formally taught about good design principals prior to the program and having some guidelines has been truly valuable. It gave me rules and vocabulary to describe why something was aesthetically pleasing. I am still learning a lot and trying to experiment with different colour palettes and layouts.

The GUI development for my MRP was quite enjoyable to work on. For this portion I had consulted quite a few resources such as the Google Materials guide and the usability.gov site. I could spend hours on those pages. I often find myself looking for those specific design layouts and interactions in other applications on my devices now. I hope to use these principals and guides to design a tool that is intuitive and allows students to utilize actions that are familiar to them from other applications.

Image from Vesalius Trust Application

Vesalius Trust Scholarship Application

Today is the deadline for the Vesalius Trust Scholarship application. The opportunity to potentially present your work in front of your peers is an exhilarating prospect. The winners will not be announced for some time - however I wanted to reflect on the experience. Applying for this scholarship helped my MRP process in a lot of ways. It allowed me to think about my project and research in the greater context of our field and how we as biomedical communicators contribute. Visualization is such an integral part of scientific research. The visualizations we create can be representations or metaphors to propel understanding of complex topics, and that really helps in driving forth further research that keeps building upon itself. I feel now that I am a small, yet necessary component of a greater movement driving future innovation.

Image of MRP Development Timeline

Content Inventory and Timeline

It was time to create a content inventory and timeline. I found this process to be quite daunting when I began, and yet it is very necessary. It was difficult to give an endpoint to tasks that you had never completed before. As designers, we also tend to nitpick for hours on perfecting our work, especially when you start out in a new field and are experimenting. It was great practice in practical time management and learning to measure out times for tasks. Over the next eight months, I will need to balance my time between research, design, testing, and evaluation of the project with participants whilst coordinating with the schedules of my committee and the undergraduate courses. It is a necessary skill that will serve me well in future endeavors.

Image of notes taken during committee meeting

Committee Meeting

What a productive meeting! This was my first meeting where I've had a tangible product to work from, namely the wireframe I previously created. Although my project will change considerably as a result of the meeting, I am far from discouraged. The discussions and ideas generated in the meeting were pivotal in setting clear direction and expectations from everyone involved. There is a vast amount of combined knowledge and passion from my committee members and the collaboration today was very exciting to participate in.

I am going back to the drawing board with a clearer understanding of my goals and tasks. My goals and content felt very generalized up until this point, and it is now more refined. Some more research on higher education pedagogy and the biology curriculum with these new goals in mind will be helpful as well.

Image of MRP Wireframe

Wireframe

Up to this point I had not considered in depth what my project would look like. I've always had a general idea, but it's a different matter to describe it in words. Creating the wireframe created questions I had not considered about functionality and allowed me to realize that there was a lot of gaps in my project that I would need help filling.

Initially I considered having a homepage that would be more macro scale such as an organ. I would then zoom into more microscopic levels, until finally reaching the molecular level to contextualize the information in a system that was familiar to students. An example was using the kidney and zooming into the level of diffusion in the glomerulus and tubules, displaying how altering pressure would alter the rates. This would also be able to illustrate the concept of Brownian motion. After meeting with my primary supervisor, we reached the conclusion that this would be taking away from the essence of what I was trying to create, and was more focused on physiology than molecular proceeses. I'm on a different path now with my wireframe and still have many details to iron out. It's certainly helpful that I set my committee meeting this week to receive input.

Image of Scope Document Title Page

Scope Document

The scope document was an expansion of the project proposal in many ways. It was helpful in outlining the goals and objectives to work towards prior to jumping into the design. The design is there to support those goals and I will be keeping those in mind as I work to complete my project over the coming months. I am sure this document will be altered as I progress and receive feedback; it will be good to keep me grounded so I remember the overall purpose of what I am working towards. The goal is to create a tool that allows students to teach themselves and undergo conceptual change by correcting prior conceptions of molecular processes. Everything else I create and design such as interactiveness, intuitiveness, layout, and so forth will be working towards that goal.