Practical learning and classroom participation: Medical Devices and Diagnostics
Keywords: clickers, participation, discussion.
Number of students enrolled (Autumn session): 260
Medical Devices and Diagnostics is a third-year undergraduate subject offered to students studying Medical Sciences. The subject uses interactive lectures to introduce students to principles of operation of various medical technologies, including devices to monitor blood pressure, cardiac output, respiratory volumes and capacities, and blood oxygen saturation.
Each session is divided into sequences of ten minutes, providing mutual benefit to the lecturer and the students by managing lesson content and ideas in blocks. This lesson structure also helps students to focus on material deeply for specific periods of time.
At ten minute intervals the lecturer stops to ask 'wake up questions'. Students answer these questions using clickers, with results then streamed live to the whole class and discussed.
Practical components are also implemented as part of this large class subject, where the lecturer uses a medical device as part of class discussion. Students are asked to take their own measurements, which they then submit via the clickers. Results are shared with the class.
Why do we think it's successful?
Doing something while doing something: bringing a practical component as part of the topic discussion
The practical component is integrated into the lecture, offering students opportunities to experience the use of medical devices and reflect on the use of these devices in clinical practice. For example, the lecturer brings a medical device to class, which is small enough to be passed around, while the class is running. Each student takes their own measurement (e.g. blood pressure), sharing their personal results via Clickers. Students’ results are then plotted on a graph. The classroom graph with the variations in students’ measurements helps students in reflecting on the use of medical devices, how individual results are also likely to vary in the general population.
Photo credit: Andrew Worssam