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New MTs

CanScribe course, my opinion - CantScribe

Posted: Dec 5th, 2019 - 11:19 pm

Hello to new/potential MTs who are considering CanScribe as their educator. I am writing to tell you that I am about halfway through the course, and am pretty dissapointed. I wish I had taken the course through a proper college.

At first I thought I was frustrated because perhaps my learning style was not a good fit to their teaching style, or maybe I'm not as smart as I like to think I am. I'm not afraid to admit I'm a little less sharp than I used to be, and I certainly do make mistakes. I've maintained a 90+ average, but have been getting more and more frustrated over time.

Eventually I started venting to my partner, who is a university-educated teacher. After checking it out, she quickly confirmed that the course is poorly done, and wondered if they had in fact consulted a professional educator at all when compiling the course.

The content itself is reasonably good. Most of the problems lie with the quizzes, tests, and practice transcriptions, which of course take up most of your time as a CanScribe student. Here are a few of the issues:

1. The course material is not searchable by keyword. If you want to look up a particular point in the course you have to surf around using the table of contents and flip through the section, page by page. I have been copy-pasting each page of the course into a doc file so I can search the content by keyword when I need to look something up.

1. Word match exercises. Vague descriptions that could apply to two or more of the words in the list are common. You are left to guess which one they want you to choose. At least three times a word or acronym has shown up that we had not yet been taught. In 2 out of the 3 cases, the word or acronym was listed on the VERY NEXT PAGE (which is not accessible until you have finished the quiz). 

2. Tests and quizzes. Many of the tests and quizzes use "trick questions" and nearly-identical words with vague definitions that are different from the content actually provided. For example, the following multiple-choice: "Procedure to repair a damaged vein". Options were Venoplasty or Angioplasty. Those procedures are very similar, and that definition could apply to both of them (but is not an optimal description of either). This was one of many possible examples.

3. Practice transcription quality. Flat out terrible, both when using my studio-quality reference headphones, and/or the crappy stethoscope headset CanScribe sent me. When I asked my friend who is an MT, she told me that not once in her career has she heard transcriptions of such terrible quality as what they give us to practice with. CanScribe says they're training us to develop our "listening ear" but all it does is waste time as you play back the audio over and over at different speeds, trying to make out the words. If they wanted to train our ears they should let us hear the words in clear audio at least a few times before making us try to recognise them through static and digital artifacting. It's tough enough when the audio is dictated by a rushed doctor with a thick accent who is reading a report while eating their lunch in a busy environment... add garbled static and digital clipping to the mix and it's almost impossible, and damned frustrating. 

4. Transcription key inconsistencies. The transcriptions we are given to practice with are pulled from the real world, which is great. Unfortunately, the answer key is based on the original MTs work, who of course complied with that particular client's account specifics. Those are not always the same as the global account specifics we are told to use in the course. As such, the answer keys do not always follow the account specifics we are given. In other words, you might have done it "correctly" as per the course, but still get marked wrong. 

5. Transcription key errors. Again, the key is based on the original real-world transcription, and it doesn't seem like they've spent much time checking to see if they original MT got it right. Multiple times I have caught them out on the same crap they try to catch us out on... ie. "hypo" vs "hyper", verb tense errors, etc. Again, even if you got it right, you are marked wrong because your answer is different than the key's version. If one of the diligent instructors grades it, you won't get points deducted, but if it's a "self-graded" transcription (which most of them are), then you have to figure it out for yourself; and if you get a lazy instructor checking your work, they will just assume that the key was right and you were wrong, and deduct marks. 

6. Outdated transcriptions. Most of the transcriptions that have dates in them seem to be from around 2008ish. No biggie, except that on at least 5 different practice transcriptions so far there have been references to medications that are no longer in use in North America (according to Drugs.com, which is a major reference source in this course). One of them even has a "tricky bit" in it where you are supposed to note that the dosage on a particular medication is incorrect, but the proper dosage range was not given in the course material, and is no longer available on Drugs.com. Failure to flag incorrect medication dosage is cause for major point deduction. This is neither fair, nor educational.

These are just a few of the issues I've noticed. There are others, but I think you probably get my point. I want to be clear that am not writing this to slag any of the instructors at the school, as they have all been very helpful and supportive. I am sure they are doing their best with what is probably a frustrating situation for them as well. Still, I personally do NOT recommend taking the MT course from CanScribe, unless or until they overhaul the course in a major way.


Frustrated CanScribe Student



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