First-Year Medical Student Feedback Regarding the Addition of Online Learning Modules to the Curriculum

Sato, Danielle
Ramos, Anna-Kaelle
Goo, Connor
Ko, Caleb
Kasuya, Richard
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Introduction: The first year of the medical student curriculum at the John A. Burns School of Medicine consists of four blocks. The first block–MD1: Health and Illness–is a 9-week introduction to Problem-Based Learning (PBL) and foundational sciences. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, MD1 introduced online modules (pre-recorded lectures assigned outside of scheduled lecture times) for fall 2020. While student ratings of MD1 were mostly favorable, students expressed specific concerns regarding online modules in MD1 mid-course evaluations. Comments included, “we feel overwhelmed by the length and content in addition to the scheduled lectures we already have” and “we were not huge fans of the online modules”. Additionally, “Q&A and review sessions” corresponding with each online module were scheduled in the second half of MD1 to provide dedicated time for students to meet with instructors. The formats of these sessions were left to the discretion of the instructor, resulting in high variability. Students were surveyed to elaborate their thoughts towards online modules and review sessions. Although this project was done in the context of MD1 online modules, we hope to extend the recommendations to all lectures in the pre-clerkship units. Objectives: The purpose of this study was to identify strengths, areas of improvement, and suggestions regarding online modules assigned in MD1. Methods: A quality improvement online survey was administered in October 2020 to 77 students in the JABSOM Class of 2024. Quantitative and qualitative questions were newly developed based on feedback from the MD1 mid-course evaluations and addressed areas including preferred presentation style, lecture reviews, effective characteristics, and overall sentiment of the online modules. Patterns among the qualitative responses were identified by the authors to recognize student preferences. Results: The survey was completed by 63 (81.8%) students. Of note, 100% of enrolled students earned passing scores on MD1 end-course exams. Students rated their overall feelings about the online modules 5.9±1.5 out of 10. The majority (55.6%) of students preferred practice questions provided and discussed in pre-recorded lectures. Student comments suggested the most effective review session formats were based on instructors’ practice questions or overviews of key lecture slides. Respondents also reported the most effective lectures had exam-like practice questions with explanations and direct connections to MD1 PBL cases. Additionally, respondents recommended scheduling in specific time blocks to watch pre-recorded lectures during school day hours, to more closely mimic live, in-person lectures. Discussion: The prevalence of online learning in medical school curricula has increased, perhaps due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We surveyed the JABSOM Class of 2024 about their MD1 online learning experience and consolidated feedback to the following recommendations. (1) Regarding content, we recommend lecturers (a) relate the material to PBL cases and (b) discuss clinical examples. (2) Regarding practice questions, we recommend lecturers prepare and discuss practice questions during their lectures. (3) Regarding review sessions, we recommend lecturers prepare a summary of both (a) testable, key concepts and (b) additional practice questions. We propose these changes and practices can lead to improved learner satisfaction while maintaining the high standard of learner performance outcomes that faculty and students share. Target Audience: Students and educators, JABSOM Office of Medical Education
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