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Policy

Guidelines to Optimize Learning in Large Group Sessions

Categories: Faculty undergraduate learning management UGME

Updated on:

Introduction

This document provides guidelines for the delivery of course material in large group sessions within the College of Medicine’s Undergraduate Medical Education (UGME) program. These guidelines were prepared based on research and input from student and faculty groups in the College of Medicine. Student feedback centered on receiving a consistent experience across courses and across sites with regards to communication and course materials design and delivery.

Information Systems

Information systems used within the UGME to manage the information related to learning needs include:

  • One45 is the online curriculum management tool and system of record (see #2 below) that is used for all UGME courses
  • Blackboard is a web-based course management system that makes it easy for instructors to provide material to the students. Blackboard allows the instructor to:  
    • Communicate with students
    • Provide an online access point for distribution and submission
    • Provide a platform for student group collaboration
    • Deliver online quizzes
  • TopHat is a class audience participation system. It is allows the instructor to design course material that the students can interact with and respond to in real-time during lectures.  Using this tool, the instructor can get detailed feedback about the students’ engagement with and understanding of the course material.
  •  ExamSoft this software system allows the college to facilitate locked down, closed book, computer based exams.

Familiarize yourself with academic and technical support services both within the College and the University.

System of Record

One45 is the main source of and the system of record for all academic and curricular information in the College of Medicine. One45 captures and schedules the curriculum. 

The information housed within one45 includes:

  • Program, course, module, and session learning objectives
  • Times, places, and facilitators of the learning sessions
  • Session details –  i.e. contact hours, type of session, mandatory, recorded lecture
  • Course materials – syllabi, handouts, rubrics

Education is about identifying what you want students to learn, providing the experiences for them to learn it, and figuring out if they learned it.” – one45 website

  • A more detailed description of one45 and its role managing the curriculum and associated materials is located here.

Curriculum Content

Objectives

Course, module and session level objectives are tied to the Program Learning Objectives.  The Program Learning Objectives are based on the current CanMEDS roles and can be reviewed here.

Learning objectives are statements of what the students will be able to do when they have completed the learning session.  Session objectives are designed to fit with the overall course objectives. Students’ exams will be based on these objectives.

Course, Module, and Session Level Objectives must be uploaded to One45 and available for students well in advance of and no later than the commencement of the entire course. Exceptions would be considered on a case by case basis and reviewed by Curriculum Committee.

Objectives must drive the teaching and learning of each session; that is, faculty must teach to the objectives. Objectives are developed by the Module or Course Director and Chairs and must be approved by the Curriculum Committee.

  • Declare Objectives - faculty are asked to declare the objectives for each lecture at the commencement of class.
  • Exam Questions – faculty are frequently asked to prepare short answer or multiple choice questions for each lecture to address the stated objectives. These questions are to be provided to the module director to be included in the bank of questions for student assessments.

Changes to Objectives

Changes to objectives, no matter how small or large, must follow the Curricular Change Request process. Instructors should consult with their Module/ Course Director or Course Chair about any proposed changes to objectives for sessions they are teaching.  The Module/Course Director or Course Chair will work with the Curriculum Specialist in seeking approval for changes.

The Curricular Change form must be completed and submitted any changes are being proposed to the session, module, or course level objectives. Likewise, the form requests that the new objective is aligned with the other objectives in the course. For example, session objectives must align to module objectives, module objectives must align to course objectives, and course objectives must align to Program Learning Objectives.

Once the form is completed in consultation with the Curriculum Specialist, it will be forwarded to the Curriculum Quality Review Sub Committee and then the Curriculum Committee for review. The form is then reviewed and discussed, saved in the College’s Curricular Change repository, and new objectives are added to course syllabi, One45, roadmaps, and matrices as appropriate.

Curriculum Delivery for large group sessions or clerkship seminars

Creation

  • For lectures, the presentations and handouts must be submitted to the Course Administrator at least 5 working days prior to the session so they can be posted to one45.
  • The session objectives must be listed as part of the introduction to the session
  • If the presentation uses PowerPoint or a similar medium, please see the UGME PowerPoint template for guidance. The presentation should:
  • Cover no more than 1 slide per minute, so the students can follow and absorb the content
  • Consider the level of the students (e.g. 1st year vs 4th year) and include what is most essential for students to learn at this level within the scope of the objectives.
  • Focus on “teaching less, better” to help students learn core concepts well, recognizing that they will revisit most topics again during their training.
  • Provide references/sources of images, videos and additional content whenever possible to assist students in referring to and using content for learning.
  • Provide separate files for images, videos and other media where necessary/possible to facilitate annotation and learning.
  • Follow copyright guidelines when using content (media/text) created by other authors. More information is available on the University copyright management page.
  • Include a slide that explains/spells out all acronyms and short-forms used in your slide set.
  • Save your PowerPoint as a .pptx file as this format is recognized by the most recent software students’ use.
  • Students like to prepare for lectures by reviewing the slides and any materials that accompany the session.
  • Pre-reading should be focused, with specific directions given (e.g. references, links, page numbers) and have the actual amount of time estimated for pre-reading indicated.
  • Instructions on required pre-reading should be sent to the Course Administrator at least 1 week ahead of the session for distribution to students.
  • Student routinely type their notes within the PowerPoint slides, so presentations should be prepared with a white background on slides to facilitate printing notes and be in a modifiable format for handouts (e.g. PowerPoint or Word, not PDF)
  • More info on effective PowerPoint presentations is available on this wiki page.

Handouts

When creating handouts, the following guidelines will assist the students in managing the files associated with their sessions

  • Consistency in file formats within the same Course/Module.
  • Standardized handout naming to indicate module/session type/date or other relevant information.
  • Limited corrections and updates to files which have been previously uploaded to one45. If possible, corrections or additions should be provided as a separate addendum document. This will save students the additional cost of reprinting the entire notes file.
  • If handouts or other content is housed on BBLearn, a link that content must be provided in the appropriate area on one45 so students can easily access it.

Required Readings

Not all material can be presented during class time.  If students are to prepare for class by doing some reading ahead of class time, the readings need to be provided to the UGME admin assigned to the module.  The information to access the readings must include a list of specific page numbers and expected time required to complete the pre-readings.

The Best Practices for Increasing Reading Compliance in Undergraduate Medical Education document (attached) provides guidance for designing reading assignments.

Recording

Presenters are strongly encouraged to have their sessions video-recorded and made available for student viewing. Audio-recording is an option for presenters who prefer not to have their session video-recorded.   The recordings are released on a secure website through the course’s Blackboard page after consent to share has been received.

Videocaptured sessions are not intended to be a replacement for attending a session, but rather an additional resource for learning. Students use videocaptured sessions to help them better understand concepts. Many students report this helps immensely with their learning.

Communication

  • Important information to communicate to the students includes lecture updates, class announcements.
  • All non-course-related announcements should be sent to the UGME office for large scale dissemination.
  • The email feature provided through one45 can be used to ensure that all students within the class or college receive a specific communiqué.

Schedules

  • The module teaching schedule needs to be complete and accurate before the start of the upcoming term. This schedule should be submitted in advance to the UGME office.
  • The one45 schedule should always contain up to date information for date, time, location, student group, and lecturer.
  • All schedule changes should be reflected within the one45 curriculum schedule.
  • Any last minute schedule updates such as the date/time or location should be immediately sent to the UGME office (medicine.ugme@usask.ca). Last minute schedule updates are those which occur within 48 hours of the scheduled session.

Distributed Medical Education (DME)

Some curriculum is delivered to medical learners at more than one site at a time through the use of videoconferencing technology. The barriers of distance and technology put participants at a disadvantage. The guidelines below have been demonstrated to enhance the learning experience for learners and instructors and have become part of the collection of best practices.

  • The presenter needs to stay in front of the microphone and in front of the camera so the students at the second site can see and hear the presenter.
  • The presenter needs to ensure that each site hears questions or comments from other sites by asking students to use their desk microphones or by repeating the questions first then answering the question/comment.
  • The presenter should periodically check to ensure everyone (at all sites) can still hear & see everything.
  • The presenter can remind participants about the importance of their involvement.
  • TopHat or other interactive strategies can be used to engage students in the learning.

For Foundations courses, a laptop will be set up on the podium at both the Regina and Saskatoon sites.  This will allow students to ask questions of the lecturer at the other site during breaks or after the lecture without having to “buzz in” using the classroom microphone system.

Disclaimer

This document and the guidelines enclosed are the responsibility of the Curriculum Delivery Subcommittee (CDSC).

Please forward suggestions or feedback to the CDSC.

College of Medicine, University of Saskatchewan – 2012 CC BY‐NC‐SA  ‐ Curriculum Delivery Subcommittee Learning Management Guidelines – v2.0

Version 3.1 October 2019