An Artistic Active-Learning Approach to Teaching a Substance Use Disorder Elective Course.
ABSTRACT: Objective. To incorporate an artistic, multimedia approach to teaching within a substance use disorder (SUD) elective course to intellectually, visually, physically, and emotionally engage Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) students in learning and applying clinical and legal SUD topics. Methods. Faculty members created a two credit-hour SUD elective course that required students to engage in visual, linguistic, and performing art forms, including acting, screenwriting, choreography, dancing, artwork, writing movie reviews, writing book reports, writing journal reflections, create-your-own-adventure storytelling, speech writing, examination writing, policy writing, and creative thinking in an escape room gaming environment to learn about SUD and related topics. Results. Student learning and perception of the activities was evaluated using faculty-created analytic rubrics, pre- and post-intervention tests, student feedback, and student responses on standard course evaluations. Students performed well on the graded assignments. Pre- and post-intervention tests administered for the escape room activity demonstrated an increase in scores from 56.7% to 94.9%. Student feedback and course evaluations revealed student engagement with subject material and enthusiasm for creative applications, critical thinking, and collaborative aspects of the activities. Conclusion. The PharmD students consistently rated the interactive class format highly on course evaluations and reported having the perception of simultaneously learning and having fun. Pharmacy instructors are encouraged to incorporate creative projects and activities in courses to enhance student learning experiences and increase student motivation to engage with the material, their classmates, and other professionals.
Project description:For many students in the health sciences, including doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) students, basic and clinical sciences often appear detached from each other. In the infectious disease field, PharmD students additionally struggle with mastering the diversity of microorganisms and the corresponding therapies. The objective of this study was to design an interdisciplinary project that integrates fundamental microbiology with clinical research and decision-making skills. The Emerging Microbe Project guided students through the identification of a microorganism via genetic sequence analysis. The unknown microbe provided the basis for a patient case that asked the student to design a therapeutic treatment strategy for an infected patient. Outside of lecture, students had two weeks to identify the pathogen using nucleotide sequences, compose a microbiology report on the pathogen, and recommend an appropriate therapeutic treatment plan for the corresponding clinical case. We hypothesized that the students would develop a better understanding of the interplay between basic microbiology and infectious disease clinical practice, and that they would gain confidence and skill in independently selecting appropriate antimicrobial therapies for a new disease state. The exercise was conducted with PharmD students in their second professional year of pharmacy school in a required infectious disease course. Here, we demonstrate that the Emerging Microbe Project significantly improved student learning through two assessment strategies (assignment grades and exam questions), and increased student confidence in clinical infectious disease practice. This exercise could be modified for other health sciences students or undergraduates depending upon the level of clinical focus required of the course.
Project description:Just-In-Time Teaching (JiTT) active learning pedagogy is utilized by various disciplines, but its value in a professional pharmacy curriculum has not yet been demonstrated. The purpose of our research study is to implement and evaluate JiTT in a Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) program. The impetus in implementing JiTT into a PharmD curriculum was to provide students with an out-of-classroom learning opportunity to enhance knowledge-based skills. The current study summarizes the implementation of JiTT in four distinct instances: two iterations of the required courses "Integrated Microbiology and Virology" (Fall 2016 and Fall 2017) and "Integrated Immunology" (Winter 2016-2017 and Winter 2017-2018). JiTT included knowledge-based questions in multiple-choice format, integrated case studies, and student responses prior to the actual lecture session. After the conclusion of each course, students were asked to provide feedback on the utilization of JiTT by way of an anonymous survey. Following the Fall 2016 iteration of the Microbiology & Virology course, students found the integrated case studies to be beneficial (mean = 3.27 out of a maximum of 4, SD = 0.62), and their overall endorsement of JiTT was high (mean = 3.61 out of 4, SD = 0.50). For the other three courses included in this study, the primary dependent variable was the student's average rating of JiTT, rated on a five-point scale. Aggregating the scores from the Fall 2017 iteration of the Integrated Microbiology & Virology course and both instances of the Immunology course, students rated JiTT very favorably (mean = 4.17 out of a maximum of 5, SD = 0.77). Students' performances in JiTT-based courses were compared against non-JiTT-based courses. Analysis of assessment data for student's performance on knowledge-based questions showed JiTT was helpful for student learning and JiTT-based courses had more consistent exam scores compared to non-JiTT-based courses. The current results are a promising initial step in validating the usefulness of JiTT in a pharmacy program and lays the foundation for future studies aimed at a direct comparison between a traditional lecture style and JiTT pedagogy implemented into PharmD curricula.
Project description:BACKGROUND:In September 2011, the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, began offering a combined BScPhm/PharmD program to third-year students and postbaccalaureate graduates. Learning consisted of in-class teaching and Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experience (APPE) rotations. OBJECTIVE:To explore preceptors' expectations and perceptions of student performance in the APPE rotations of the new combined degree program. METHODS:A survey was distributed via email to 132 pharmacists from the Toronto Academic Health Science Network who had acted as preceptors for the combined degree program in academic year 2011/2012. The 17 questions were designed to gather information on preceptors' demographic characteristics and their expectations and evaluations of the combined-program students. Responses were analyzed qualitatively for common themes and quantitatively using sums and means. Survey responses were compared to identify alignment and discrepancies between preceptors' expectations and evaluations of students. RESULTS:The survey response rate was 48% (63/132). Most respondents (46 [73%]) were from a teaching hospital, and the same proportion (46 [73%]) reported being preceptors for a direct patient care rotation. Forty-four (70%) of the respondents expected students to be at the level of traditional PharmD students, hospital residents, or advanced-level Structured Practical Experience Program students, and 35 (80%) of these 44 respondents reported that their students met or exceeded expectations. According to survey responses, 31% of respondents (18/58) ranked students at the corresponding level of performance on the faculty's assessment form, while 62% (36/58) ranked students at a higher level (5 respondents did not complete the question). Only one-third of respondents felt that they personally had received adequate training before taking on preceptor duties for combined-program students. CONCLUSIONS:Preceptors' perceptions of the rotation and their expectations of students varied widely and were influenced by prior teaching and learning experiences. There was a disconnect between preceptor-specific expectations and preceptors' final evaluations of students. Training to standardize the expected level of performance and additional training for preceptors would further enhance the APPE rotations of the combined degree program.
Project description:We investigated some of the key features of effective active learning by comparing the outcomes of three different methods of implementing active-learning exercises in a majors introductory biology course. Students completed activities in one of three treatments: discussion, writing, and discussion + writing. Treatments were rotated weekly between three sections taught by three different instructors in a full factorial design. The data set was analyzed by generalized linear mixed-effect models with three independent variables: student aptitude, treatment, and instructor, and three dependent (assessment) variables: change in score on pre- and postactivity clicker questions, and coding scores on in-class writing and exam essays. All independent variables had significant effects on student performance for at least one of the dependent variables. Students with higher aptitude scored higher on all assessments. Student scores were higher on exam essay questions when the activity was implemented with a writing component compared with peer discussion only. There was a significant effect of instructor, with instructors showing different degrees of effectiveness with active-learning techniques. We suggest that individual writing should be implemented as part of active learning whenever possible and that instructors may need training and practice to become effective with active learning.
Project description:Writing assignments, including note taking and written recall, should enhance retention of knowledge, whereas analytical writing tasks with metacognitive aspects should enhance higher-order thinking. In this study, we assessed how certain writing-intensive "interventions," such as written exam corrections and peer-reviewed writing assignments using Calibrated Peer Review and including a metacognitive component, improve student learning. We designed and tested the possible benefits of these approaches using control and experimental variables across and between our three-section introductory biology course. Based on assessment, students who corrected exam questions showed significant improvement on postexam assessment compared with their nonparticipating peers. Differences were also observed between students participating in written and discussion-based exercises. Students with low ACT scores benefited equally from written and discussion-based exam corrections, whereas students with midrange to high ACT scores benefited more from written than discussion-based exam corrections. Students scored higher on topics learned via peer-reviewed writing assignments relative to learning in an active classroom discussion or traditional lecture. However, students with low ACT scores (17-23) did not show the same benefit from peer-reviewed written essays as the other students. These changes offer significant student learning benefits with minimal additional effort by the instructors.
Project description:We present a model for the process of redesigning the laboratory curriculum in Introductory Organismal Biology to increase opportunities for meaningful inquiry and increase student recognition of their scientific skill development. We created scaffolded modules and assignments to allow students to build and practice key skills in experimental design, data analysis, and scientific writing. Using the Tool for Interrelated Experimental Design, we showed significantly higher gains in experimental design scores in the redesigned course and a more consistent pattern of gains across a range of initial student scores compared with the original format. Students who completed the redesigned course rated themselves significantly higher in experimental design, data collection, and data analysis skills compared with students in the original format. Scores on the Laboratory Course Activity Survey were high for both formats and did not significantly differ. However, on written course evaluations, students in the redesigned course were more likely to report that they engaged in "real science" and their "own experiments." They also had increased recognition of their specific analytical and writing skill development. Our results demonstrate that intentional, scaffolded instruction using inquiry modules can increase experimental design skills and sense of scientific ability in an introductory biology course.
Project description:Incorporating peer-review steps in the laboratory report writing process provides benefits to students, but it also can create additional work for laboratory instructors. The laboratory report writing process described here allows the instructor to grade only one lab report for every two to four students, while giving the students the benefits of peer review and prompt feedback on their laboratory reports. Here we present the application of this process to a sophomore level genetics course and a freshman level cellular biology course, including information regarding class time spent on student preparation activities, instructor preparation, prerequisite student knowledge, suggested learning outcomes, procedure, materials, student instructions, faculty instructions, assessment tools, and sample data. T-tests comparing individual and group grading of the introductory cell biology lab reports yielded average scores that were not significantly different from each other (p = 0.13, n = 23 for individual grading, n = 6 for group grading). T-tests also demonstrated that average laboratory report grades of students using the peer-review process were not significantly different from those of students working alone (p = 0.98, n = 9 for individual grading, n = 6 for pair grading). While the grading process described here does not lead to statistically significant gains (or reductions) in student learning, it allows student learning to be maintained while decreasing instructor workload. This reduction in workload could allow the instructor time to pursue other high-impact practices that have been shown to increase student learning. Finally, we suggest possible modifications to the procedure for application in a variety of settings.
Project description:Teaching large numbers of students can be a challenge for both teachers and students. Implementing new teaching strategies may be 1 way to address the problem. This article presents the impact of using Gagne's 9 events of instruction on student learning and course evaluations over a 3-semester period. Student evaluations indicated enhanced teacher mastery, effectiveness, and enthusiasm. Overall student final grades increased.
Project description:Here we describe a semester-long, multipart activity called "Read and wRite to reveal the Research process" (R(3)) that was designed to teach students the elements of a scientific research paper. We implemented R(3) in an advanced immunology course. In R(3), we paralleled the activities of reading, discussion, and presentation of relevant immunology work from primary research papers with student writing, discussion, and presentation of their own lab findings. We used reading, discussing, and writing activities to introduce students to the rationale for basic components of a scientific research paper, the method of composing a scientific paper, and the applications of course content to scientific research. As a final part of R(3), students worked collaboratively to construct a Group Research Paper that reported on a hypothesis-driven research project, followed by a peer review activity that mimicked the last stage of the scientific publishing process. Assessment of student learning revealed a statistically significant gain in student performance on writing in the style of a research paper from the start of the semester to the end of the semester.
Project description:The NIDA funded Substance Abuse Education, Research and Training (SARET) Program addresses the compelling need for health professionals prepared to engage in substance use disorders (SUD) research. The goal of this interprofessional project, structured by an Executive Committee of co-investigators from the disciplines of medicine, nursing, social work and dentistry, is to increase the skills of students from each discipline for interprofessional research collaboration and early career-development opportunities in SUD research. The development of web-based modules, interprofessional seminars and a model mentorship program were designed as well, for dissemination and evaluation by other health professional schools. The educational format is 6 interactive web-based learning modules, providing an overview of core content on Substance Use Disorders (SUD), summer or year-long mentored research experiences with NIH-funded researchers and small interprofessional seminars and site visits. Assessment consists of self-reported annual student learning outcomes and external editorial and advisory board project and curricular materials review. These reviews encourages the updating of materials and provide flexibility for participating "champions" at other schools who use the modules. Quantitative and qualitative outcomes of student research activities and data on dissemination of modules support the fit between project content and interprofessional teaching modalities. The learning modules are available without charge to individuals, students, faculty or health professional programs from the project's website.