Digital Study Hall
When University of Michigan Medical School graduates began their residencies last summer, they put into practice what they’ve learned during lectures, clinic experiences and on their iPods.
For some years now, lectures for first- and second-year medical students have been available as MP3 downloads just hours after the lecture ends.
ENCORE, a group of educators working to develop an experimental new path towards a medical degree while augmenting the medical student curriculum, is looking closely at advantages digital media can offer for the teaching and learning environment.
The group’s work is part of a medical education initiative by U-M Medical School Dean James O. Woolliscroft, M.D., to refine the way we prepare students today to care for the world’s patients tomorrow.
The strategy is simple: Define what students are expected to know and do once they graduate, and design the program backward, says Rajesh S. Mangrulkar, M.D., associate professor of Medicine and Medical Education, and director of ENCORE.
“Go to lecture. Complete a self-directed study module. View a Webcast. There will be an expectation of what students need to know, but they will be mainly responsible for getting themselves there,” he says.
The new program, still a couple of years from implementation, shifts the focus of instruction to the learner instead of the teacher, while leaving room for close mentoring and supervision. Success in this type of curriculum relies heavily on students’ demonstration of what they can do as opposed to just measuring what they know.
The timing could change also. Medical students will see those first two years of lecture and discussion include more and earlier exposure to the clinical setting and reasoning drills that usually make up just the last two years of schooling.
With the motto, “Ensure Competence and Inspire Excellence,” ENCORE will be organized around a set of 126 clusters of patient symptoms, and work to create outcomes that students must be able to demonstrate.
Is a patient’s fatigue a heart problem or thyroid related? Is it a sign of anemia or depression? What ways can technology help me sift through information I need to know?
“These aren’t just expectations, but teachable skills,” says Mangrulkar.
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