Guidelines for Curriculum Development

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Guidelines for Curriculum Development

The following guidelines are to inform our thinking as activities are developed for the Next Generation curriculum:

  • Learning objectives stem from and map back to the 12 UVA Competencies.

  • Each learning objective defines knowledge, skills, or behaviors and is a description of the desired outcomes in terms of audience, behavior, condition and degree. Learning objectives, taken as a whole, delineate the expectations for the level of student training, e.g. the Integrated Clinical Sciences, the clerkships, and the Advanced Clinical Training. Learning objectives must be well written in order to be of use. Help is available for anyone wishing assistance in writing learning objectives.

  • Students should be provided with resources to efficiently acquire the knowledge, skills, or behaviors specified in the learning objectives. This might take the form of assigned readings (e.g. a text, article or handout), a video, a live demonstration, etc. The library is available to help select references and can answer questions about access to online resources.

  • Adequate study time must be made available (~30 hours per week). We strive to keep a minimum of 3 free afternoons for study. An exception is for the graduate students. Although few in number, 7-8 MSTP graduate students need one afternoon a week for their classes and on occasion two afternoons per week. The first four weeks are all prior to Labor Day so they may all fall before Graduate School begins.

  • Learning activities should be based on the learning objectives. Structured class activities should be "slices" of the knowledge, skills, or behaviors expected of the student. Activities should be selected by the faculty with expertise to emphasize or illustrate key or difficult to understand points and to apply the knowledge, skills, or behaviors to medical problems, especially exercises which focus on analysis and evaluation. These structured classroom activities should fit within the designated time. Help is available with selecting activities that fit your objectives.

  • The primary purpose of face time with faculty is to develop critical thinking and learn to analyze and evaluate information and apply it in a setting that will benefit patient care and future expansion of medical knowledge. In structured activities students will practice working together in team-based activities that emphasize the collaborative nature of science and medicine. Furthermore the structured activities practice working together as in team-based patient care functions. By learning these skills in class, students will be better able to efficiently use their study time.

  • Learning should take place in a clinically relevant context. The students’ learning method should reflect the way they will practice the knowledge, skill, or behavior; as should the way they will be assessed.

  • Assessment of the student should sample the learning objectives, i.e. questions should be representative of the knowledge, skills, or behaviors expected of the student. One assessment item can cover more than one learning objective. Particularly when items are analysis- or evaluation- level.

  • Student assessment should reflect the emphasis on clinical relevance, integration, and on application, analysis and evaluation. Student assessment should 1) have as many USMLE-type clinical vignette questions as possible, 2) integrate questions across disciplines whenever possible, and 3) include as many high level (application, analysis and evaluation) Bloom’s taxonomy questions as appropriate for the student’s level of learning.  The faculty should be directed to the USMLE website to find example so of the clinical vignette questions. The USMLE also provides a guide to writing test questions:

  • Student assessment must include formative as well as summative components. The formative component should account for approximately 25% of the student’s grade. The formative component should be made up of small quizzes, short assignments, participatory exercises, etc. in which each component contributes only a small amount to the total grade, yet encourages the student to stay engaged and current with the material.