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Concept: Curricula


Online learning initiatives over the past decade have become increasingly comprehensive in their selection of courses and sophisticated in their presentation, culminating in the recent announcement of a number of consortium and startup activities that promise to make a university education on the internet, free of charge, a real possibility. At this pivotal moment it is appropriate to explore the potential for obtaining comprehensive bioinformatics training with currently existing free video resources. This article presents such a bioinformatics curriculum in the form of a virtual course catalog, together with editorial commentary, and an assessment of strengths, weaknesses, and likely future directions for open online learning in this field.

Concepts: Education, Educational psychology, College, Internet, Course, Curricula, Course catalog


BACKGROUND: Problem-based learning (PBL) has become the most significant innovation in medical education of the past 40 years. In contrast to exam-centred, lecture-based conventional curricula, PBL is a comprehensive curricular strategy that fosters student-centred learning and the skills desired in physicians. The rapid spread of PBL has produced many variants. One of the most common is ‘hybrid PBL’ where conventional teaching methods are implemented alongside PBL. This paper contends that the mixing of these two opposing educational philosophies can undermine PBL and nullify its positive benefits. Schools using hybrid PBL and lacking medical education expertise may end up with a dysfunctional curriculum worse off than the traditional approach. DISCUSSION: For hybrid PBL schools with a dysfunctional curriculum, standard PBL is a cost-feasible option that confers the benefits of the PBL approach. This paper describes the signs of a dysfunctional PBL curriculum to aid hybrid PBL schools in recognising curricular breakdown. Next it discusses alternative curricular strategies and costs associated with PBL. It then details the four critical factors for successful conversion to standard PBL: dealing with staff resistance, understanding the role of lectures, adequate time for preparation and support from the administrative leadership. SUMMARY: Hybrid PBL curricula without oversight by staff with medical education expertise can degenerate into dysfunctional curricula inferior even to the traditional approach from which PBL emerged. Such schools should inspect their curriculum periodically for signs of dysfunction to enable timely corrective action. A decision to convert fully to standard PBL is cost feasible but will require time, expertise and commitment which is only sustainable with supportive leadership.

Concepts: Education, Physician, Educational psychology, College, School, Curriculum, Curricula, Educational philosophy


The Institute of Medicine’s Future of Nursing report advises nursing education programs to integrate and embed leadership content within all areas of prelicensure nursing curriculum. This critical literature review synthesizes the state of the science of leadership curricula in prelicensure baccalaureate nursing education programs from 2008 to 2013. Gaps are identified and discussed.

Concepts: Education, Social sciences, Nurse, State, Curriculum, Curricula, Curriculum studies, Liberal arts


The authors began a curriculum reform project to improve the experience in a Renal Physiology course for first-year medical students. Taking into account both the variety of learning preferences among students and the benefits of student autonomy, the authors hypothesized that adding digital chalk-talk videos to lecture notes and live lectures would improve student knowledge, course satisfaction, and engagement. The authors measured performance on the renal physiology exam before (the traditional curriculum) and for 2 yr after implementation of the new curriculum. During the traditional and subsequent years, students took a Q-sort survey before and after the Renal Physiology course. Satisfaction was assessed based on ranked statements in the Q sort, as well as through qualitative analysis of student commentary. Compared with the traditional curriculum, mean scores on the renal physiology final exam were higher after implementation of the new curriculum: 65.3 vs. 74.4 ( P < 0.001) with year 1 and 65.3 vs. 79.4 ( P < 0.001) in the second year. After the new curriculum, students were more likely to agree with the statement, "I wish other courses were taught like this one." Qualitative analysis revealed how the video-based curriculum improved student engagement and satisfaction. Adding digital chalk-talk videos to a traditional Renal Physiology course that included active learning led to improved exam performance and high levels of student satisfaction. Other preclinical courses in medical school may benefit from such an intervention.

Concepts: Scientific method, Improve, Education, Educational psychology, Qualitative research, Quantitative research, Student, Curricula


Teaching ethics in public health programmes is not routine everywhere - at least not in most schools of public health in the European region. Yet empirical evidence shows that schools of public health are more and more interested in the integration of ethics in their curricula, since public health professionals often have to face difficult ethical decisions.

Concepts: Health care, Education, College, Curriculum, Curricula, Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics, Curriculum studies, Applied ethics


To impart principles of antimicrobial stewardship (AS) and infection prevention and control (IPC), we developed a curriculum tailored to the diverse aptitudes of learners at our medical center.

Concepts: Infectious disease, Developed country, Curriculum, Curricula


The Postgraduate Year (PGY) Program allows doctors-in-training to learn about the diagnosis, treatment and nursing of various common, general diseases. These items form the core curriculum and are mostly learned through caring for patients and clinical teaching. Doctors-in-training are evaluated for their knowledge through written tests or assignments, based on which the effectiveness of their training is also assessed; however, this generally produces a negative learning attitude among them. So we introduced the flipped classroom into PGY training program to change PGY students' learning behavior. Although the flipped classroom is highly valued and has been practiced by teachers in schools of various levels, very few attempts have been made until now to report the learning outcomes achieved through the flipped classroom by means of rigorous research methods. Therefore we tried to employed Ajzen and Fishbein’s (1980) theory of reasoned action and Bandura’s self-efficacy to predict and explain the participants' behavioral intention when participating in the core curriculum learning of the flipped classroom and to assess the change in students' learning behavior and learning effectiveness. From August 2013 to July 2014, 39 PGY students from the General Surgery of the Tri-Service General Hospital were selected as the participants of this study. The control group included 43 students of the previous year, that is, the year before the intervention of the flipped classroom. A comparative analysis was performed. The questionnaire’s related matrices indicated highest correlation between self-efficacy and behavioral intention (r = 0.491, P < 0.01), followed by attitude (r = 0.365, P < 0.01) and subjective norms (r = 0.360, P < 0.01.) All three showed positive correlations with behavioral intention; among attitude, subjective norms, and self-efficacy, the pairwise correlations also reached significance level. The flipped classroom can indeed change PGY students' the learning behavior from "passive learning" to "active learning."

Concepts: Scientific method, Psychology, Education, Educational psychology, Learning, Motivation, Curriculum, Curricula


Recent calls for educational reform highlight ongoing concerns about the ability of current curricula to equip aspiring health care professionals with the skills for success. Whereas a wide range of proposed solutions attempt to address apparent deficiencies in current educational models, a growing body of literature consistently points to the need to rethink the traditional in-class, lecture-based course model. One such proposal is the flipped classroom, in which content is offloaded for students to learn on their own, and class time is dedicated to engaging students in student-centered learning activities, like problem-based learning and inquiry-oriented strategies.In 2012, the authors flipped a required first-year pharmaceutics course at the University of North Carolina Eshelman School of Pharmacy. They offloaded all lectures to self-paced online videos and used class time to engage students in active learning exercises. In this article, the authors describe the philosophy and methodology used to redesign the Basic Pharmaceutics II course and outline the research they conducted to investigate the resulting outcomes. This article is intended to serve as a guide to instructors and educational programs seeking to develop, implement, and evaluate innovative and practical strategies to transform students' learning experience.As class attendance, students' learning, and the perceived value of this model all increased following participation in the flipped classroom, the authors conclude that this approach warrants careful consideration as educators aim to enhance learning, improve outcomes, and fully equip students to address 21st-century health care needs.

Concepts: Health care, Psychology, Education, Educational psychology, Learning, Curricula, Student voice, Education reform


In September 2012, the Health Resources and Services Administration funded 12 preventive medicine residency programs to participate in a 2-year project aimed at incorporating integrative medicine (IM) into their residency training programs. The grantees were asked to incorporate competencies for IM into their respective preventive medicine residency curricula and to provide for faculty development in IM. The analysis conducted in 2014-2015 used the following evidence to assess residency programs' achievements and challenges in implementation: progress and performance measures reports, curriculum mapping of program activities to IM competencies, records of webinar participation, and post-project individual semi-structured phone interviews with the 12 grantee project leaders. Key findings are: (1) IM activities offered to residents increased by 50% during the 2 years; (2) Accessing IM resources already in existence at local grantee sites was the primary facilitator of moving the integration of IM into preventive medicine residencies forward; (3) Among all activities offered residents, rotations were perceived by grantees as by far the most valuable contributor to acquiring IM competencies; (4) Online training was considered a greater contributor to preventive medicine residents' medical knowledge in IM than faculty lectures or courses; (5) Faculty were offered a rich variety of opportunities for professional development in IM, but some programs lacked a system to ensure faculty participation; and (6) Perceived lack of evidence for IM was a barrier to full program implementation at some sites. Grantees expect implemented programs to continue post-funding, but with decreased intensity owing to perceived faculty and curriculum time constraints.

Concepts: Medicine, Physician, Medical school, Medical education, Curricula


Community members are often the first to witness and respond to medical and traumatic emergencies, making them an essential first link to emergency care systems. The Emergency First Aid Responder (EFAR) programme is short course originally developed to help South Africans manage emergencies at the community level, pending arrival of formal care providers. EFAR was implemented in two rural regions of Zambia in 2015, but no changes were originally made to tailor the course to the new setting. We undertook this study to identify potential refinements in the original EFAR curriculum, and to adapt it to the local context in Zambia.

Concepts: Africa, New Zealand, First aid, Emergency medical services, Adaptation, Emergency, Curricula