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Intercalated BSc in Medical Education

This BSc in Medical Education was the first of its kind in the UK, and aims to prepare graduates to become tomorrow’s medical educators – not only skilled and reflective teachers, but also those who will become more deeply involved with medical schools, their courses and their curricula.

The rationale for the programme emanates from the need to equip medical students with knowledge of educational principles, and teaching skills. This emphasis is reflected in the policy documents and medical curricula. For instance, teaching is increasingly highlighted as an essential professional role for doctors by both the General Medical Council and the British Medical Association.

We aim to help you understand the theories behind teaching and learning, where education finds itself in society, and for you to develop practical skills in teaching. Our experience is that through the course, graduates become much more confident teachers and learners with an expertise that they did not have before.

To a certain extent you may already be very knowledgeable about education, through the wealth of learning experiences you have already undertaken in both formal and informal settings. Most students will also have taken part in teaching, either here in the medical school, or elsewhere.

During the year you will meet some experts in education, some from Barts and The London, and others from elsewhere. We are fortunate that they come and give us the benefits of their expertise and wisdom. Students also attend the annual ASME and AMEE conferences during their year here and most students will submit posters for AMEE based on their dissertation projects.

Summary of course units

ME1. Fundamentals of Education

Module Lead: Jon Fuller and Devina Raval

The literature on higher education in general, and medical education specifically, is large and can be confusing; it encompasses different scientific approaches, different philosophical views, and different research methods. Educationalists may be psychologists, sociologists, teachers, doctors, basic scientists and so on. This leads to a body of knowledge which approaches medical education from many different perspectives. This block will give you the knowledge and skills required for you to navigate through this world effectively and efficiently, making sense of any conflicts that you find.

This block has three main aims – firstly, it will provide you with a clear overview of the different frameworks with which to analyse issues within medical education, including perspectives from cognitive psychology, sociology, educational philosophy – this will provide you with a road-map for the rest of the year. Secondly, it will provide you with a head start on developing and honing your teaching skills and finally it will provide you with the skills necessary to read, analyse, and synthesise the educational literature, and to construct your own scholarly papers.

ME2.Theory behind teaching and learning

Module Lead: Esther Murray and Sandra Nicholson

How do we learn? In which contexts do students best learn and why? How does the transition from student to doctor occur? Medical education is underpinned by a large body of research evidence, ranging from understanding the structure and function of memory, through understanding the various internal and external factors that can affect learning, and how medical professionalism develops.

You will leave this block with a clear understanding of major educational theory derived from both sociocultural and psychological backgrounds, and how it can be applied to promote successful learning.

ME3. Teaching Methods, Teaching Skills

Module Leads: Jon Fuller and Devina Raval

What is the best approach to teaching clinical skills? How can you improve your lecturing? How about facilitating small group learning or role-play? What about e-learning?

During this block you will develop the knowledge and skills to deliver a range of different teaching sessions, and to choose the most appropriate method for a given topic and situation. You will develop the tools necessary to continue to develop your effectiveness as a teacher, and to help others develop.

ME4. Assessment, Evaluation, Quality & Curriculum

Module Contributors: Dason Evans, Nimesh Patel and Clare Penlington

How can teaching, or even a whole curriculum, be judged to be of an appropriate quality? What are the known pitfalls and biases in student evaluations? How can student learning be assessed, and what choices are there to make when choosing assessment methods?

This block covers assessment, evaluation and concepts of quality assurance, and curriculum analysis. It will enable you to choose and design appropriate assessment tools, to fairly evaluate your own and other's teaching, and to conduct a formal curriculum analysis.

ME5. Issues and Methods in Educational Research & the Research project

Module Leads: Celia Woolf, Esther Murray, Clare Penlington and Clare Morris

This block introduces students to important issues in educational research, such as ethical approaches, surfacing the unspoken assumptions that may shape the design of a research project, the strengths and weaknesses of different approaches to research, and the extent to which findings from educational research can be generalised beyond the place(s) where it was conducted. The block encompasses several research traditions, including qualitative studies, quantitative studies and practitioner research. Practical workshops will introduce students to contrasting ways of collecting data, analysing data and communicating your findings.

The individual research project allows you to practise what you have learnt in the other BSc blocks and to experience the management of a small study form beginning to end. Staff provide suggested project titles and also work with students’ own suggestions. Each student project is allocated one or two supervisors, depending on the requirements of the project. Sometimes two or three students work on different aspects of the same research topic. Each must submit an independent project report.

Examples of research undertaken include:

  • comparisons of teaching methods
  • investigation of students study skills
  • investigation of effects of anatomy teaching
  • investigation of student attitudes
  • feedback from OSCEs.

Students are encouraged to submit an abstract of their project for a poster presentation at an international medical education conference (the abstract will be co-authored with the project supervisor). Most abstracts are accepted and students benefit from the experience of presenting their work to an international audience.

Examples of projects from 2014/15:

  • A Crash Course in Metacognition: Evaluation of a 5-week study skills programme for struggling students in the first year of medical school. Abstract available here [PDF 208KB]
  • Exploring final year medical students’ educational experience and perspectives on Do Not Attempt Resuscitation (DNAR) decision-making.
  • What are the potential challenges facing medical students with specific learning difficulties, and what support can be put in place to assist them?
  • An evaluation of the current patterns and practices of Education Supervision in Postgraduate Medical Education in England.
  • Google Glass: Hindrance or help to communication skills teaching?

Further information

For more information, please contact the course leader, Dr Esther Murray
Email: e.murray@qmul.ac.uk
Institute of Health Science Education
Centre for Medical Education
Old Medical College Building
Turner Street
London
E1 2AD

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