Minutes 03.12.09

Minutes 03.12.09

University of Virginia School of  Medicine
Curriculum Committee

Pediatric Conference Room, 4:00 p.m.                       

Present (underlined) were: Gretchen Arnold,  Dan Becker, Robert Bloodgood, Megan Bray, Eugene Corbett, Thomas Gampper, Wendy Golden, Donald Innes (Chair), Keith Littlewood, Veronica Michaelsen, Mohan Nadkarni, Chris Peterson, Jerry Short, Linda Waggoner-Fountain, Bill Wilson, Mary Kate Worden, Jason Franasiak, Kira Mayo, Jason Woods, Debra Reed (secretary) Guest: Animesh Jain

  1. Announcement:   Clerkships will be asked to complete a Clerkship Review Short Form and present the data to the curriculum Committee over the next two months.

  2. Writing Learning Objectives.  Veronica Michaelsen distributed a copy of a handout from the University of Tennessee written by Raoul A. Arreola, Ph.D. entitled "Writing Learning Objectives."  This document outlines clearly what a learning objective should be; the difference between a GOAL and a learning objective; why learning objectives are important and specifics on how to write learning objectives.   A link to this document is now posted on the Curriculum website: Writing Learning Objectives.  Learning objectives are important to direct student learning but are equally important to faculty for determining curriculum content and devising the best way to teach material. The difference between the use of action verbs such as "label, outline, compute, categorize, formulate" and the passive non-functional verbs such as "understand, know, be aware of, be able to" was discussed.  Objectives must be written as they will be evaluated. Levels of competency will vary depending on where the student is in their education.  

    The developers of the Next Generation Medical Curriculum require current and accurate objectives for each section in order to complete their task.  The varied depth and breath of objectives available from national organizations  (i.e. GRIPE, NBME, etc) as well as the difficulties in coordinating the objectives from all the disciplines in each system was discussed.  It was suggested that the groups look at other medical schools with systems based curricula for lists of objectives.  The Committee also discussed the level of detail necessary for the objectives. Ultimately the organizers of the various systems must meet and work out their differences - coming up with a manageable set of objectives for each of the systems as well as the Foundations course. Objectives should be written and agreed upon by the development groups by Summer 2009.  Then it can be determined how to best assess and learn the objectives.     

    Veronica Michaelsen and two other part time people being hired in Medical Education will be available to help the systems developers outline their objectives. 

    Students at the meeting confirmed that learning objectives are a valuable learning tool.  They focus the student on important points and help guide their study.  

    Continuing Education Seminars on writing objectives for faculty in the Principles of Medicine and Clinical Medicine Committees will be arranged as part of an upcoming meeting.  The program will be expanded to include other teaching faculty.  

    Students at the meeting also noted that faculty should be made aware that the systems based approach to medical education will not require less work from the students but rather more focused and in depth work.

  3. Handouts - are they necessary?    The discussion progressed from the objectives issue to whether handouts are necessary in the new curriculum and if so, how much is enough - how much is too much.  The students at the meeting asked "how much time do you want students to spend in the new curriculum searching for information and how much time learning information?"  Some self-learning, i.e. searching for information, is helpful but the handouts do help focus the student's studying.   The possibility of allowing students to create and edit handouts with faculty supervision was discussed briefly.

Donald Innes