Minutes 10.07.10

Minutes 10.07.10

Curriculum Committee Minutes 10.07.10

University of Virginia School of Medicine
Curriculum Committee
Minutes – 10.07.10

Pediatric Conference Room, 4:00 p.m.


Present (underlined) were: Gretchen Arnold,  Robert Bloodgood, Megan Bray, Troy Buer, Donna Chen, Eugene Corbett, Thomas Gampper, Wendy Golden, Donald Innes (Chair), Keith Littlewood, Jim Martindale, Veronica Michaelsen, Mohan Nadkarni, Linda Waggoner-Fountain, Bill WilsonMary Kate Worden,  John Hemler,  Christina PortalNicole White, Guests:  Selina Noramly, Tom Jenkins, Xian Zhao,  Long Vinh,   Debra Reed (secretary)  


  1. Handouts In The Next Generation Curriculum.  First year students, Long Vinh and Tom Jenkins met with the Committee the recent rumors circulating through the first year class that no handouts would be provided in the upcoming Systems units.  This rumor is unfounded.  Handouts will be provided as necessary for activities in the Systems units.    Not all activities, especially TBL activities, will provide a handout for the activity.  The School of Medicine is not trying to do away with handouts entirely but rather direct the use of handouts, learning objectives, and textbooks.

    A discussion of the recommended use of the handouts, learning objectives and required textbook reading ensued.    Some students complain that they only have time to read the handouts – all or part of the required reading is not done.  Other students use the learning objectives and handout for study but also cannot find time for the entirety of the required readings.  Many students find the handouts a more efficient way to study.

    Some faculty noted that the required reading in the textbook they have selected for their lecture/activity contains all the information a student should learn for the activity and along with their learning objectives should be a sufficient guideline for study.

    The required readings are an attempt by the School of Medicine to develop in the student’s lifetime learning skills necessary for their entire career.

    It was noted that Learning Objectives in the Next Generation Curriculum are better focused than those used in the previous curriculum and are an accurate outline of what a medical student should learn from an activity. 

    Chris Burns noted that in the Immunology portion of the MCM course coming up soon, handouts will be provided for all lectures, but not necessarily for all small group, engagement activities.  Students should view the handouts as the minimum requirement not the recommended requirement.

  2.   Molecular and Cellular Medicine (MCM).    Selina Noramly and Linda Waggoner-Fountain, Course Directors for the MCM course, reported what they have learned thus far in the new curriculum.  MCM is a compilation of at least nine different courses/disciplines.  There has been a large amount of integration of the disciplines thus far in MCM but work will continue to further enhance this integration.  Two formative and one summative online exams have been largely successful- some issues with equipment/software have been found and remedied.  Other issues with AV equipment in the Learning Studio and scheduling of rooms have been recognized and dealt with during the first months of the class.  The course directors have received a large amount of assessment data but unfortunately have not had the time to properly digest and deal with it as yet.  Some immediate issues that were noted by the students have been remedied but a larger full-scale evaluation of the data will have to wait until the course is over.  Some of the learning activities have been excellent and well received by the students. Others, due to technical glitches or lack of proper preparation, have not been well received.  Each activity will be looked at carefully before next year and suggestions made for improvement when necessary.  A system to provide this accumulated feedback to the teaching faculty will also be developed.

    Questions regarding the lack of recent faculty development activities for instructors in the Learning Studio were raised.  The MCM course directors would like to see more faculty development sessions in the Studio for those teaching in the latter part of the MCM course as well as the upcoming systems units.  These sessions should include faculty members who have used the equipment successfully and are willing to help those less familiar with the studio.   John Jackson will be contacted to arrange more faculty development session.

    The course directors have been impressed with the level of involvement by the students in engagement activities.  The level of clinical material in the first year of medical school has also been greatly enhanced.

    Differences in week-to-week reading/study requirements for the students have been noted and the course directors will try to even this out in the coming scheduled activities as well as for the coming year.

    Difficulties with assignments listed in Oasis have been circumvented temporarily by putting the assignments on the MCM course website.  John Jackson will be contacted to see if Oasis can be restructured to make this more user friendly. 

    Students have recommended packaging each week’s Powerpoints, handouts, learning objectives, and reading assignments in one pdf file.  The possibility of hiring a medical student to amass and package this information will be considered.  Difficulties in obtaining some parts of the package prior to the week’s learning activities would have to be overcome.

    The amount of active learning in MCM and plans to further enhance the active learning portion of the course were outlined.    Figuring out what worked and what didn’t will be considered in developing new active learning activities. 

    Time issues with activities being too short or too long will be reviewed before next year –with active learning some adjustment is always necessary to manage the activity in the time allotted.  Some professors were better at adjusting on the fly than others.  It is thought this will improve with repetition.

    Further integration of the curriculum in MCM was discussed.  The possibility of coalescing the MCM curriculum into units such as nutrition, infection and cancer was raised.  

    The Simulation Center in the new Medical Education Building is working very well.  The SIM Center has been able to have all students from one class participate in the SIM activity in one week.  Keith Littlewood envisions being able to offer activities to some students in the SIM Center during class and having live feeds to the classroom for input from the rest of the class.

  3. Addition to the minutes: Excerpts from a letter (10/08/10) to a first year student:

    "Let me start by stating that no one is talking about removing handouts from your education. The discussion has always been the proper role of handouts in the educational experience. It was decided early on that handouts would remain a part of the educational experience at the School of Medicine; however, it was decided to move from paper to electronic handouts.

    It is our belief that in most instances a well written chapter, article, or select set of pages from a text matched to and read along with well conceived learning objectives can be an efficient and lasting learning experience.  Following the readings with a true engagement activity in which the material assigned is applied to problem solving; then summarized with a focus on the key or most difficult objectives, completes the picture.

    In summary, handouts will remain part of the UVA educational environment.”

Donald J. Innes, Jr., M.D.