Student project cases: a learner-centred team activity broadly integrated across the undergraduate medical curriculum

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Abstract

Background: Student Project Cases (SPCs) in the Monash University medical curriculum comprise a teamwork activity that emphasises interdisciplinary learning. SPCs provide a learning program contextualized within the broader medical curriculum, in which students research and present a medical disease. SPCs were introduced into the medical curriculum to integrate more active learning by creating a learning environment which: actively engages students in the learning process and encourages deep approaches to learning, promotes self-directed learning, develops the ability to work in teams, builds information gathering and processing skills, and develops presentation skills. Methods: The design of the SPCs requires students to: make decisions regarding the overall organisation of their group and presentations, communicate and work as members of small groups, research, identify, critically analyse, synthesize and integrate information, and prepare and communicate via written and oral presentations. To ensure effective and consistent assessment practices, an extensive series of simple and effective proformas were developed, including components of peer, self and staff assessment. Assessors utilise objective observations of student performance or achievement; numerical marks are independently based on specific descriptors aligned with learning objectives. The effectiveness of SPCs was evaluated through questionnaires, focus groups and informal feedback, involving both students and staff. Conclusion: The assessment proformas were successful learning aids for the students and allowed staff to critique student performance in a non-subjective manner. The SPCs are a successful active learning program which engages students and encourages deep learning and could readily be adapted by a diverse range of courses. The SPCs also develop graduate attributes of life-long learning skills including: capacity for inquiry and research, critical thought and analysis, problem solving,...
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e23 - e33
Number of pages11
JournalMedical Teacher
Volume30
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2008

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