On the 8th of March 2023 our student project group met at Hae in Maastricht to visit the Making Clinical Sense exhibition Seeing ‘Normal’ created by Q. Annie Zeng as well as attending a making workshop hosted by Marijke Kruithof and Anna Harris. The exhibition and our workshop were both centred around the human eye. First we took a good look at the exhibition which we found, after some collective reflection, incredibly well curated and very enjoyable. This was mainly due to the multisensory input that was present, as well as a creative and efficient implementation of academic literature.
After having seen the exhibition we were ready for the workshop. We were all told to bring things that can be found around the house that could be used to make an educational object relating to the eye. Here is where the first implications that have to be kept in mind when creating a DIY medical database, the goal of our student project within the larger Making Clinical Sense study, presented themselves.
Materials that ‘can be found around the house’ vary a lot. The materials that were brought in differed quite a bit, ranging from coffee capsules to cereal boxes. Of course, the selection of materials that are available around the world vary even more. This made us question how we should tackle this issue while making the database. We came up with a location tag for every object so that the materials used could be put into context. In addition to this, we thought of an ‘alternative materials’ variable that could facilitate materials that could be used as substitutes of the original ones to better suit the local availability.
The object that I chose to create was an eyeball that could be used to perform part of an eye exam. The plastic ball was a little bigger than the human eye but that did not matter. The goal of this workshop was not to produce an excellent object that could be used in class but to discover what goes into making an object like this.
While I was eagerly drawing veins inside of my makeshift eyeball Anna asked me how I decided to put what veins where, which leads me to another important point, learning goals. The goal that I had in mind for my object was to be able to successfully perform the exam in which the veins inside the eye do have a function. I based the location of the veins on both a picture of the eye and a more simplified drawing that Marijke showed me. Therefore the veins I drew had a position that was somewhat accurate to a real eye.
The learning goal of performing the exam could be done but my object would perhaps not qualify for a realistic anatomical model. Later while deciding the variables to be used in the database we discussed this and thus came up with three kinds of learning goals: practice of skill, visualisation and anatomical accuracy. This would make it easier for users of the database to look for models that could fulfil the purpose of their class.