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UCAN Newsletter 2/2014
Dear UCAN Partner,
This newsletter is special in two ways: Firstly, it is the 1st newsletter published under our new name UCAN. We have seized this opportunity to switch to an HTML newsletter format that allows you to browse through the topics like on a website.  Secondly, the community of UCAN Partners are about to create their 10,000th exam with the ItemManagementSystem. Which partner will it be? We'll keep you informed!
Your UCAN Team
Coming up: the 10,000th IMS exam!
Watch out for a very special occasion: the 10,000th IMS exam is coming up soon. Which Partner will break through the 10,000 mark?
Four times 'welcome' to our new Partners
A warm welcome goes to our 4 new Partners, the University Hospital Halle (Saale) and the medical specialists societies SGI, FMCH and SGORL.
UCAN Partners Meeting 2015 in Göttingen
We are happy to announce that the next UCAN Partners meeting will be held from 9th to 10th February 2015 at the Universitätsmedizin Göttingen (UMG).
UCAN at the AMEE 2014
UCAN will be at the AMEE 2014 in Milano, Italy. Especially for our English-speaking partners the UCAN booth is a good contact point to approach us with your concerns.
ESICM: Trailblazers for tOSCE
As the first organization in Europe, ESICM has carried out a tablet-based oral examination with tOSCE in seven European cities simultaneously.
Up-to-date with the UCAN Forum
The UCAN Forum is the central place where we regularly publish important information on software updates and publications. Subscribe to the forums and stay up-to-date!
Passwords for the UCAN-Tools
The IMS credentials are your key to all UCAN tools and resources.  How to set up a secure password - and what to do if you lose it.
New tOSCE version released
We have published a new version of tOSCE, our tablet-based OSCE system. The version comes along with new features and more flexibility for the users.

Assessment of international medical graduates

The aim of the symposium was to develop joint recommendations for the assessment of language- and knowledge skills for foreign doctors in order to establish equal opportunities for students from Germany and abroad.

Coming up: the 10,000th IMS exam!

The number of exams created with the IMS is rapidly approaching a very special mark: currently the IMS exam pool already contains 9,588 exams. Sometime soon one of the UCAN Partners will create the 10,000th exam. When the Medical Assessment Alliance set sails 8 years ago with just three partner faculties, we were confident to be on the right track - but such a rapid development definitely goes beyond all expectations. We would like to use this opportunity to thank all of you for this unprecedented collaboration. We are excited to see which partner will break through the 10,000 mark. And this is just a warm-up: 2016, our alliance has its 10th anniversary.
number of exams conducted with the IMS since June 2014: who will be no. 10.000?
The IMS item figures also reflect this success: from January to June 2014 alone 25,875 new questions were entered into the IMS. Totally, there are more than 184,000 questions stored in the pool – which makes it the largest of its kind.
amount of items stored in the IMS from 2007-2014 [June 2014]
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Four times "welcome" to our new Partners

In the past six months 4 new partners have joined us: the Medical Faculty Halle (Saale) is the twentieth German medical school to join UCAN. Halle has already designed and successfully carried out the first exams with the IMS.

In addition, 3 further medical specialists societies have joined during the first half of the year. With the Swiss Society of Intensive Care Medicine (SGI), the Swiss SGORL and the Federation Medicorum Chirurgicorum Helvetica (FMCH) more and more medical specialist fields use UCAN tools for their assessment programs.
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UCAN Partners Meeting 2015 in Göttingen

By popular request the next UCAN Partners meeting will not be held in Heidelberg but at the venue of a different partner faculty, instead. We would like to thank the University Medical Center Göttingen that they agreed to accommodate all of us for the 8th Parters meeting to be held on 9-10th February 2015. We will send more details later in the year.
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UCAN at the AMEE 2014 in Milano

As in the years before, UCAN will have a booth at the AMEE 2014 in Milano. Our booth (N14) will be located in the exhibition hall between the cafeteria and the poster area in Hall C of the conference center. We will be there from August 30th to September 3th. Especially for our English-speaking partners this is a good opportunity to discuss their concerns with us. We would therefore like to encourage you to contact us in advance to arrange for longer meetings. But, of course, feel free to just drop by any time. We are looking forward to seeing you all in Milano.

Write to us now and fix a meeting at the AMEE: Ajit Thamburaj
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ESICM: trailblazers for tOSCE

As the first institution ever the European Society of Intensive Care Medicine (ESICM) conducted a tablet-based oral exam at seven major European venues simultaneously. Using the IMS for the exam creation and tOSCE for the delivery on tablets, ESICM assessed the practical skills of more than 200 examinees.   

The institution has already been using UCAN’s ItemManagementSystem for the creation and management of the written part of its “European Diploma”. Now it has kick-started its project to deliver the oral part on tablets with tOSCE. Totally, more than 30 examiners used tablet-based checklists for the assessment of 216 examinees in 7 different European cities (Amsterdam, Barcelona, London, Copenhagen, Prague, Vienna, and Zürich).  

While the preparation and simultaneous delivery of such a pan-European exam needs thorough preparation, tOSCE has shown to offer many advantages for the workflow of such transnational exams: No documents need to be sent by post across Europe, which always includes various risks. The electronic transmission of the data also enhances the speed, which enables institutions to get immediate feedback on the exam.

Whereas in many locations the exam was delivered with tOSCE running online (connected to a server), in Vienna the entire exam was conducted offline. This is possible due to the special system architecture to support maximum mobility for the exam delivery.
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Passwords for the UCAN Tools

Passwords for web applications have to be as safe as possible. Many UCAN tools can be used online, which is why during a workshop at the last partner meeting we decided together on guidelines for the IMS credentials. As a consequence, from now on (new) passwords have to meet the following criteria:
  • The password must be at least 8 characters long and not identical with the first or last name of the user.
  • The password must not be the same as the user name or any other UCAN passwords.
  • When resetting your password, the new password has to be different from the old one.
  • No combination of keys situated next to each other on the keyboard (e.g. 'qwertzui "or" asdfghjk ") can be used.
  • German "Umlaute" (ä,ü,ö,) must not be used.
Tip: Your IMS password automatically synchronizes with the UCAN forum overnight. Examinator users can synchronize their login details with the IMS credentials. In case you have forgotten your password, you can now automatically reset it to a new password in the login area of the IMS.
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Always Up-to-date with the UCAN Forum

Besides the newsletter and the website, the UCAN Forum is the main communication channel between the UCAN team and the UCAN Partners. Software updates, bug fixes, events and other important information for partners are documented there. We therefore highly recommend that Partners visit the Forum from time to time and subscribe to the content.

You can log in to the Forum with your IMS credentials at https://www.ims-m.de. The forum is divided into three main forums: 1. software tools, 2. meetings / conferences, and 3. publications. These main forums are divided into thematic sub-forums (e.g. "IMS", "scanner-based tests with KLAUS", tOSCE etc.). Especially for Admins it is highly recommendable to subscribe to the main forums, especially the software tools (see picture). Thus you will get a daily or weekly summary of the new entries (including all sub-forums).

In the “software tools” Forum you can also find a changelog for the IMS and the Examinator. You can subscribe to these threads in order to get automatic messages on any IMS / Examinator updates.
Tip: The small flags next to the topic title indicate the language of a forum post.  We try our best to always post in English and German.
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New tOSCE version mit extra features

As requested by many partners we have implemented 8 new evaluation modes for tOSCE besides the already existing checklists and global ratings. The evaluation mode can be selected at the creation of an OSCE exam in the IMS and then be used on the tablet to assess the examinees. The modes range from grade scales (e.g. grade 1 to 6) over checklists and global ratings to individual rating scales.  

In addition, question points and the total points can be hidden on the tablet, if desired.

With the new version it is now possible to also use an RFID scanner instead of QR codes (for logging in stations or students). Thus, for example student ID cards could be used to identify the students at the OSCE station.

Another new feature is the possibility to push messages to certain tablets from the server. An administrator can then communicate with other people in your team through the tablet. Especially when the server is not installed locally but for example a UCAN server is used, it is now possible to give fast remote support to the technical team via this communication channel.

The complete documentation of results including screenshots and comments are now digitally signed in order to prevent forgery. 
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Assessment of international medical graduates


On 24.June 2014 UCAN was present at a German symposium on the assessment of international medical graduates (students that studied medicine outside of Germany). The aim of the symposium was to develop joint recommendations for the assessment of language- and knowledge skills for foreign doctors in order to establish equal opportunities for students from Germany and abroad as well as to ensure patient safety through standardized testing criteria for all.

First, the two international experts Prof. Dr. John Norcini (Philadelphia) and Dr. Ara Tekian (Chicago) reported how International Medical Graduates are assessed in the United States.  

In the plenary session, Prof. Dr. Markus Huber-Lang (Universitätsklinikum Ulm), Dr. Jürgen Hoffart (Landesärztekammer Rheinland-Pfalz) Eike Makuth (law department of the Bundeszahnärztekammer), Jutta Dillschneider (lawyer from Heidelberg), Dr. Patrick Boldt (Ärztekammer Nordrhein), Dr. Antje Beppel (Federal ministry of health) and Maryam Shariat-Razavi (IQ Network BW) gave inputs from their respective fields of expertise.

Afterwards, the participants met in three working groups and started to outline first steps and recommendations.
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Editorial: Konstantin Brass, Ajit Thamburaj, UCAN