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Earlier this academic year, Clinical Laboratory Science assistant professor Shawn Luby was awarded a UNC/Adobe Course Development Grant. The program provides incentives ($1,250 awards) and a support program for faculty members interested in creating course assignments that help develop students’ digital media-authoring skills.

The program is part of a larger University initiative to promote digital literacy, composition, and communication across the curriculum. Adobe’s powerful suite of authoring tools available at no cost to instructors and students at UNC.

Clinical Laboratory Management Project: Designing and Implementing Clinical Laboratory Communications

With support from the UNC/Adobe Course Development Grant, students in the division’s Clinical Laboratory Management course were introduced to and received training in digital design concepts and platforms, aimed at enhancing traditional laboratory focused communications and supporting the development of lab led public health materials.

Students were challenged to create a hypothetical COVID-19 testing laboratory, including development of the organization’s name and mission, accreditation agencies, Laboratory Information System (L.I.S) and compatible instrumentation.

Next, students developed a web-based, interactive “Employee Welcome Page” highlighting the mission, employees, community served, funding, accreditation agencies, instrumentation, L.I.S and other organizational information.

The project aimed to provide a new model for employee communications by highlighting the relationship between institutional decisions and the ability to successfully provide laboratory services to the community in a format that was both visually engaging and purposefully meaningful for future employees.

Finally, students developed lab led public health materials that focused on educating the public around COVID-19 related topics, including vaccine hesitancy and development. The materials were then shared on the Division of Clinical Laboratory Science social media pages.

Sharing Results and Student Work

Luby presented the topic “Incorporating Digital Design and Communication Strategy in the Clinical Laboratory Curriculum” at the Clinical Laboratory Educators Conference (CLEC) in March. He explained various digital design and content creation platforms and highlighted the power of design strategy in laboratory communications.

“In general, medical laboratory scientists have had limited direct contact with our patients and the public, and the pandemic has really required us to step out of the lab and actively engage in public health conversations,” said Luby. “The student projects are a great example of both the benefit of laboratory developed education materials and the power of incorporating design strategy into our clinical communications.”

Complete student projects are presented collectively here: