University of Virginia School of Medicine
Principles of Medicine Committee
- 1st year exam schedule. On behalf of the 1st year class, Andrew Pfeiffer requested that the order of exams for the Spring portion of the 1st year be changed. It was noted that medical students prefer the exam, that they predict to be the most difficult, to come first in each exam period.
The order of exams for Spring 2007 is:
Exam Period 1 Neuroscience Human Behavior Physiology/CTS Exam Period 2 Physiology/CTS Human Behavior Neuroscience
The requested change for coming years is:
Exam Period 1 Physiology/CTS Human Behavior Neuroscience Exam Period 2 Physiology/CTS Human Behavior Neuroscience
The Principles of Medicine Committee approved this change, contingent upon the approval of all of the affected course directors. The three course directors approved this change, which will be made for the 2007-2008 schedule. The medical students recommend keeping the 1st semester/1st year exam schedule as it is currently.
- Implementation of Audio-Recordings of Lectures:
At previous meetings of the Principles of Medicine Committee, the following decisions had been made:
a. We would proceed with an experiment in audiorecording 1st and 2nd year lectures.
b. Audiorecordings of lectures would be posted to course web sites under the same location as Powerpoint presentations are currently posted.
c. Audiorecordings would be posted so as to be available only within UVa and through the ProxyServer.
d. Course directors would not have to do anything. John Jackson would buy and install the necessary equipment in the two lecture halls and hire medical students to do the recordings and post the audiofiles to the course web sites.
e. Course directors have the option to opt-out of lecture recording on behalf of their entire course.
At its February, 2007, meeting, the Principles of Medicine Committee decided to ask all course directors to poll their faculty about what they thought about audiotaping lectures and whether they preferred: 1) recording all lectures and then sorting out which would be posted to web sites or 2) determining first which lectures would be recorded and then recording only those. In the meantime, Bob Bloodgood took this matter to the Curriculum Committee.
A wide variety of feedback was received. Some courses, like epidemiology, were fine with recording and posting all lectures. Some courses, such as Pharmacology and PoM2, were fine with recording all lectures and then sorting out, after the fact, which would be posted. Some courses, such as Pathology and Psychiatric Medicine, pointed out specific categories of content (such as the Medical examiner lectures and presentations on physician impairment) that could not be recorded. Others pointed out that anything involving a patient should not be recorded, much less posted to a web site. In many courses, the individual faculty feedback ranged widely from absolutely forbidding recording of any of his/her lectures to being fine with recording and posting all of his/her lectures. In the Pathology course (which has a large number of both MD and PhD lecturers), most MDs liked the idea of posting lectures while most PhDs did not like the idea of posting lectures. A number of faculty members raised concerns about lecture attendance; one faculty member=s comment included: AThis is the 2007 version of the cassette recorder (remember the old joke about when the paid Note Taker eventually became the only student to attend the class and then he left his tape recorder and the next day the professor left a tape recorder with the lecture and the only thing left in the lecture hall were the two tape recorders...@. The Curriculum Committee seemed cool to the idea of recording everything and then sorting out afterwards what is to be posted.
It was decided that we will audio record only those lectures for which prior permission has been obtained from the lecturer for posting to web sites. John Jackson's office will prepare a weekly schedule of lectures to be recorded and posted. All course directors need to send John Jackson, or his designated representative, a list of which lectures are to be recorded, at least a week ahead of time. Ideally, it would be useful if course directors would do this for the entire course at the time they finalized the schedule and send this information to John Jackson all at once. For the benefit of the medical students, it was suggested that this information be incorporated into the master schedule that is distributed to all medical students and course directors at the beginning of each segment of the curriculum. We will look into this possibility. It was decided that course directors can remove the lecture audiofiles from their web sites as soon as the course ends, if they so choose. It was pointed out that there are benefits to the medical students to leaving these lecture recordings on the web sites for use in preparation for USMLE Part I and for reference and review when taking later courses in the curriculum, or even during Clerkships. It was pointed out that student questions asked during lectures are unlikely to be recorded unless the lecturer repeats the question; lecturers should be encouraged to do so. A question was asked as to who holds the copyright on the lecture recordings. John Jackson pointed out that the copyright belongs to the University of Virginia, as is the case with all educational products produced by faculty as a part of their employment (such as lecture handouts, Powerpoints, images put in the MMDB, exam questions).
The discussion on recording and posting lecture recordings to course web sites morphed into a broader discussion of individual course director control. Some years ago, the Principles of Medicine Committee agreed to require that all courses have a web site and that all courses post all lecture handouts and Powerpoint presentations on the course web site; these can be posted in either of two ways: accessible only within UVa (and through a proxy-server) or open to access by anyone. Howard Kutchai objected to the requirement that course directors have to post specific content on course web sites and proposed a motion that course directors have total control over whether they choose to post lecture handouts, Powerpoint presentations, audiofiles of lectures or any other content to course web sites. Although no vote was taken on this motion, there seemed to be a consensus of the course directors present to accept this motion.
Revision of Course Evaluation Form Used by the Medical Students to Evaluate Courses:
Led by Melanie McCollum, the group had a spirited discussion of whether changes should be made in some of the questions on the course evaluation form used by the medical students to evaluate the courses. It was pointed out that the open-ended questions provide much more valuable information to course directors than the quantitative questions. Concerns were expressed about ambiguities in the wording of questions such as #4 (The content of the course was challenging). In that case, ambiguity hangs on the word Achallenging@ and whether students see this as a positive or negative thing about a course. In terms of Question 1 (The objectives of the course were clear), it was felt that it was more important to know if the course objectives were Aappropriate@ than if they were Aclear@.
It was pointed out that the Office of Medical Education tracks course evaluation data over time and across courses, but these data are primarily based on the Aoverall course grade@ (question 6). This question needs to stay in the evaluation and should not be altered. Jerry Short pointed out that the LCME wants to see a standardized evaluation used across courses in the curriculum. Currently, individual course directors are allowed to add questions to the basic evaluation instrument, but not to delete questions. It was also pointed out that our course evaluation is not currently tied to the 12 objectives of the curriculum.
It was decided to have a sub-committee of the Principles of Medicine Committee (chaired by Melanie McCollum) study the current course evaluation form (and the current faculty evaluation form, if they wish) and report back recommendations to the Principles of Medicine Committee.
Bob Bloodgood presented the latest lecture attendance data (see below), which are being collected as a part of the continuing assessment of the new curriculum. Note that these are self-reported attendance data.
The Class of 2006 (graded; old curriculum) and Class of 2007 (P/F; old curriculum) showed a similar pattern of constant high attendance for the 1st three semesters of medical school with a big drop in the 4th semester. In contrast, the Class of 2009 (P/F, new curriculum) showed the same, high attendance for the 1st two semesters but the big drop came in the 3rd semester, with another drop in the 4th semester (to a record low). The committee has previously discussed possible reasons for the 2nd year drop in lecture attendance: presence of more scheduled activities in the afternoons; preparation for USMLE Part I; cumulative exams). The trend in dropping attendance in year 2 of the medical curriculum should be kept in mind when considering changes (such as posted recorded lectures on web sites) that might further affect lecture attendance.
Scantron forms for exams: Course directors should be careful to continue to utilize the blue Scantron forms (and not the new green Scantron forms) until May 1st.
Minority contributions to medicine and medical research: The Committee discussed the letter from 2nd year medical student Tim Frazier encouraging faculty to discuss, when appropriate, the contributions of minority physicians and medical researchers within the 1st and 2nd year courses. The Curriculum Committee will be addressing this issue and is organizing a group to look at issues related to the history of medicine within the curriculum. The Health Sciences Library has offered to help course directors identify appropriate content in this area.
Formaldehyde training for 1st year medical students: Because of safety concerns, Melanie McCollum, course director for Gross Anatomy, has asked that the Curriculum Committee make formaldehyde training mandatory for all 1st year medical students. At their March 3, 2007, meeting, the Curriculum Committee mandated this annual formaldehyde training for 1st year medical students.
The next meeting of the Principles of Medicine Committee will be held on Wednesday, April 11, 2007.