A ‘learning-by-doing’ treatment planning tutorial for medical physicists

  • J. Meyer
  • B. Hartmann
  • I. Kalet
Educational Note


A framework for a tutorial for treatment planning in radiation oncology physics was developed, based on the University of Washington treatment planning systemPrism. The tutorial is aimed at students in Medical Physics to accompany the lectures on treatment planning to enhance their theoretical knowledge. A web-based layout was chosen to allow independent work of the students. The tutorial guides the students through three different learning modules, designed mainly to enhance their understanding of the processes involved in treatment planning but also to learn the specific features of a modern treatment planning system. Each of the modules contains four units, with the aim to introduce the relevantPrism features, practice skills in different tasks and finally check the learning outcomes with a challenge and a self-scoring quiz. A survey for students’ feedback completes the tutorial. Various tools and learning methods help to create an interactive, appealing learning environment, in which the emphasis is shifted from teacher-centred to student-centred learning paradigms. In summary,Prism lends itself well for educational purposes. The tutorial covers all main aspects of treatment planning. In its current form the tutorial is self-contained but still adjustable and expandable. The tutorial can be made available upon request to the authors.

Key words

education in medical physics Prism treatment planning system self-guided tutorial open-source software learning methods 


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Copyright information

© Australasian College of Physical Scientists and Engineers in Medicine 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Physics and AstronomyUniversity of CanterburyChristchurchNew Zealand
  2. 2.Institut fär PhysikMartin-Luther-Universität Halle-WittenbergHalle (Saale)Germany
  3. 3.Department of Radiation OncologyUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA

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