Minutes 11/08/06

Minutes 11/08/06

University of Virginia School of Medicine
Principles of Medicine Committee

  1. Audiotaping or Videotaping medical school lectures for posting on the internet and/or podcasting: 

    In response to a medical student request (Greg Weaver) to audiotape medical school lectures, a vigorous discussion was held concerning the larger issues about posting medical lectures on the web. Issues discussed included:

     A.  Since we already post lecture handouts and lecture Powerpoints for all medical school lectures, what will be the value added of posting audiotapes or videotapes of the lectures?
     B.  Would audiotapes alone really be of much use when many lectures are heavily image-oriented?
     C.  Will the medical students use the audiotapes or videotapes for study and review purposes or as a replacement for attending the lectures?
     D.  Should we delay posting the lectures on the web and/or as podcasts until a certain period after a lecture is held?
     E.  What will be the effect on attendance at lectures? [Part of an on-going discussion about lecture attendance in medical school]

    John Jackson discussed some information on these issues he obtained from the recent AAMC annual meeting.  Some schools found only a modest drop in attendance when providing lectures on the web.  Some schools delayed release of lecture videotapes or provided them just before the exam.

    Decisions coming out of this discussion:
     A.  We will pursue this issue further.
     B.  If we do this, it should be done by medical education and should utilize one of the commercially available software products that can automatically record the audio and all visual materials utilized within a lecture (Powerpoint slides, digital videos, etc.).
     C.  With consultation from Bob Bloodgood and John Jackson, Doug Clarke (2nd yr class president) and Greg Weaver will prepare a survey about this topic and administer it to the 1st and 2nd year medical student classes. This survey will collect data about whether medical students want lecture videotapes made available, how many would utilize them and what they predict would be the effect on their attendance at lectures.
     D.  John Jackson will evaluate available software packages and will prepare a sample videotaped medical lecture, hopefully in time for the January meeting of the Principles of Medicine Committee.

  2. Proposed change in wording of Exam Policy:

    The current policies posted on the web are as follows:

    Exam Administration Policy:
    Exams are offered only at designated times as set by the Principles of Medicine Committee. Exceptions for compassionate need or illness resulting in postponement of the exam are to be determined by the Office for Student Affairs (see Delay of Examinations for details). No student is permitted to take an examination before the regularly scheduled examination.

    Delay of Examinations:
    Examinations may be delayed only for reasons of illness, or under unusual circumstances for compelling personal reasons. In all instances, approval to delay an examination must be obtained from the Sr. Associate Dean for Education or Assistant Dean for Student Affairs. Students who seek to delay an examination for medical reasons must also be seen by a physician, preferably at Student Health. When approval is given to delay an examination, it is the student's responsibility to schedule a time with the course director for the examination before the next exam, or in the case of final exams, before the start of the next semester. 

    Dean Pearson has long had an informal but consistent policy that a rescheduled course examination can not be made up until after the end of the current exam period (ie. after the exams in the other courses have been completed).  It has recently come to our attention that this was not stated explicitly in the published exam policy.  The Principles of Medicine Committee has been asked by the Office of Student Affairs to discuss and vote on a proposal to add this explicitly to the published policy.  The rationale for this policy clarification is that, if a student must miss a scheduled exam and then were to reschedule the exam at a time between two other previously scheduled exams, this might seriously affect the student's performance on those other exams (or on all of the exams).  A number of course directors argued against this change and argued for flexibility in this regard.  After considerable discussion, the Principles of Medicine Committee voted 1 in favor and 13 opposed to amending the exam policy as suggested by the Office of Student Affairs.

  3. Discussion of the draft policy on Compensation and Funding Expectations and its possible impact on medical education. 

    The Dean's Office has distributed a draft of a policy on "Salary Support and Compensation Expectations for Faculty" that sets guidelines for reducing the salaries of tenure track and tenured  basic science faculty who fail to recover 50% of their salary from external research grants.  The increased pressure that this policy is likely to place on tenure-track and tenured basic science faculty to maintain and/or increase their research grant income and salary reimbursement is very likely to be an strong incentive for basic science faculty to focus most or all of their efforts on research and hence act as a disincentive for basic science faculty to become or to remain involved in medical student education.  This could have a major impact on delivery of medical education in the first two years of the curriculum.  The matter was discussed by the committee but no action was taken.  Course directors were encouraged to express their opinions on this matter to their department Chairs.

  4. Uses for the Large Learning Studio in the new Claude Moore Medical Education Building. 

    4th year medical student Reed Poole organized a meeting of medical students and 1st and 2nd year course directors on September 27, 2006, to discuss possible uses for the Large Learning Studio in the new medical education building and how this may influence the design of the building.  The minutes of this meeting were distributed by e-mail to the entire Principles of Medicine Committee. 

    There are three basic instructional scenarios used by the 1st and 2nd year medical courses:


    A class period can be entirely lecture - in this case, course directors and students expressed a preference to use a traditional lecture hall.


    A class period van be entirely small group - course directors (such as for PoM1, PoM2 and Cells to Society) have expressed a preference to use individual small group meeting rooms, such as the rooms recently built into the Health Sciences Library, for sessions that are entirely in the small group format.

     3. One could switch between whole class presentation and small group activities within the same class period - this is the one teaching scenario for which course directors and students saw a clear use for the Large Learning Studio.  But the clear corollary is that the Large Learning Studio needs to be designed to be able to accommodate both lecture format and small group format with easy and fast interconvertability. 

    The faculty and students attending this meeting expressed a clear consensus that the default configuration for the Large Learning Studio should be in a lecture format and that the furniture should be easily moveable, small square or rectangle tables that would accommodate small groups with a size of 3 and 6 students

  5. Updated assessment data from the study of the impact of the new curriculum (performance, satisfaction, attendance and wellness data for the Class of 2010).

    Bob Bloodgood presented updated data from the continuing assessment of the impact of the new curriculum.  The Class of 2009 was the first class under the new curriculum.  Comparison of the 1st semester for the Class of 2009 (using Class of 2007 as the control group under old curriculum) showed no decline in attendance, no decline in course performance, but a definite decline in satisfaction and in "wellness".  The Principles of Medicine Committee and the Curriculum Committee took several actions to make changes in response to this 1st semester decline in satisfaction and "wellness": 1) change in scheduling of the community service requirement for the Exploratory (now called Social Issues in Medicine), 2) changes in scheduling of the Gross Anatomy course, and 3) Elimination of the Pass with Distinction (Cumulative Honors) component of the Pass/Fail Grading System in years 1 and 2.  These changes (rather the 1st 2 changes since the 3rd has not yet gone into effect) appear to have made an impact.  Assessment of the 1st semester of the 2nd class under the new curriculum (Class of 2010) has shown a clear rebound in the satisfaction data and the "wellness" data; the academic performance data and lecture attendance data continue to be unchanged.  Some examples of the assessment data are shown below.  The lecture attendance data has been separately e-mailed to the Principles of Medicine Committee.

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The next meeting of the Principles of Medicine Committee will be held on Wednesday, January 10, 2007, at 2:00 PM.