Highlights of the WrightCurriculum
- From day one of medical school, students will be engaged in our local region as Community Health Advocates, working closely with community partners to help patients and their families navigate the health care system.
- Advanced Doctoring prepares seniors to step right into residency positions with the needed confidence to care for patients as part of an interprofessional team.
- All three phases integrate biomedical science with clinical practice.
- All three phases emphasize the enduring importance of the physician’s professional formation.
- Students receive frequent and regular feedback on their mastery of course and clerkship material and professional growth.
- A required scholarly project provides opportunities to explore important questions about science, public health, patient safety, ethics or the humanities and medicine.
The hallmark of an effective curriculum is the selection of teaching and learning activities, ones that promote mastery of information through problem-solving, provide frequent and useful feedback, and enhance life-long learning skills and attitudes. A decade ago, most of the classroom time at Boonshoft School of Medicine was lecture and lots of it. We then adopted and have championed Team-Based Learning (TBL) in many courses and clerkships and greatly reduced the “seat time” devoted to transmittal of information. TBL requires the student to come to class and be prepared to solve problems with a team of peers — basic content is mastered outside of class, and classroom time is devoted to using content to solve clinical case-based problems.
In the WrightCurriculum, we will continue to use TBL in both the Foundations and the Doctoring phases, but it will be integrated with two additional active and engaged learning strategies: WrightQ, which is our brand of problem-based learning, and Peer Instruction, developed by Eric Mazur at Harvard for physics education. As pioneers of TBL in medical education, we continue this innovative tradition with incorporating Peer Instruction as an integral part of our curriculum.
The “Q” in WrightQ is all about learning how to ask the right questions — ones that probe and lead to the understanding of the principles of pathophysiology underlying illness and disease and making informed, evidence-based decisions, including developing a differential diagnosis. Asking the right questions and curiosity are the two keys to self-directed and life-long learning. Working in small groups with a faculty facilitator, students investigate a clinical case, determine what information is needed to understand what is going on, then proceed independently to learn that information (e.g., physiology, anatomy, pathology) in order to come back and, with the group, share, explain, decide on what are the possible diagnoses and best therapeutic approach for the patient. Since the 2013-14 academic year, we have been field-testing and developing the WrightQ. In the spring of 2016, we will use it as the foundational instructional strategy in the second year course “Staying Alive.”
Peer Instruction is a very learner-centered strategy. Classroom time is devoted to solving problems that are presented as questions about specific case vignettes and/or diagnostic or therapeutic interventions, and out-of-class time is for mastering core content. Students use audience response devices to answer faculty generated questions, first as individuals, and then again after consulting with a peer nearby who has a different answer choice or idea. Faculty led teaching moments clarify student misconceptions that are illustrated through the Peer Instruction process.
With all three instructional strategies, the student receives frequent feedback on mastering course/clerkship learning goals and how he/she is contributing to teamwork.
Assessment and evaluation of progress in the WrightCurriculum will be multi-dimensional: multiple choice tests; peer feedback and evaluation; faculty preceptor feedback and evaluation; patient evaluations; objective standardized clinical exams (OSCEs); reflection assignments; e-portfolios; scholarly project.