Bradford sets up virtual optical practice

The virtual practice is fully kitted out

The ophthalmic dispensing team at Bradford College have set up a simulated optical practice to provide students with a taste of life in everyday practice.

“What better way to give students real-life work experience other than to organise work placements or encourage them to get part-time jobs in practice?” said Maryna Hura, lecturer in ophthalmic dispensing at the college.

“An alternative would be to introduce an optical practice to the Bradford College, which has been on our ‘to do’ list for some time. Finally, this year the idea has become a reality.”

The new virtual practice doubles up as a classroom, but has the atmosphere of a working practice setting with frame bars, marketing posters, patient leaflets, lens demonstration kits, glazing and dispensing equipment, focimeters – all contributing to the overall feel of a working practice. The room is complete with a reception desk, waiting area and even a couple of plants.

“It is envisaged that this practice will help contextualise students’ learning, especially for full-time students who may be unfamiliar with a modern practice structure,” explained Maryna.

“The team would like to thank Stepper Eyewear for providing the point-of-sale material, together with an exciting range of 30 frames, and educational support in relation to frame design and materials.

“Additionally, we would like to thank Essilor and Hoya for the lens demonstration sets and supporting material, all enhancing the practice atmosphere and student experience.

“Software support and networking have been kindly provided by Optix Software, in collaboration with the College’s IT support team, to allow students experience realistic optical database systems.

“The student feedback has been positive: both the College and students appreciate the ongoing support provided by these industry leaders that help underpin vocational learning,” Maryna concluded.

Photographs by Mark Hickton.