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Helping post-graduate residents become better teachers

The way students learn is constantly evolving and ensuring that the School of Medicine’s residents are prepared for their teaching responsibilities is the ongoing focus of a blended learning program.

Developed by the team of professors from the School of Medicine, Lindsay Davidson, Michelle Gibson, Stephen Mann, along with Lynel Jackson, Instructional Design and Training, Education Technology, Faculty of Health Sciences, and Sheila Pinchin, Manager, Educational Development and Faculty Support, Faculty of Health Sciences, the program addresses one of the major challenges in medical education – ensuring that post-graduate residents are well prepared for their role as teaches and supervisors of undergraduate medical students in clinical settings.

"Faculty and staff from the School of Medicine receive the Educational Technology Award, one of six Principal’s Teaching and Learning Awards."
A team of faculty members and staff from the Faculty of Health Sciences won the Educational Technology Award, one of six Principal’s Teaching and Learning Awards. From left: Dr. Lindsay Davidson; Lynel Jackson; Dr. Michelle Gibson; Dr. Stephen Mann; Sheila Pinchin; and Principal Daniel Woolf. (University Communications)

The result is a “backbone” of four online modules that provides first-year residents, who have only recently graduated from medical school themselves, with the tools and background they need to succeed as teachers and mentors for undergraduate students. The modules are linked with a two-day symposium that provides some “face-to-face teaching,” that reinforces the materials, Dr. Davidson explains.

For their work on the program, the team received the Educational Technology Award, one of six Principal’s Teaching and Learning Awards. The award recognizes the innovative use of technology to enhance teaching and learning at Queen’s. An award is available both for faculty and/or staff.

“I think that people are recognizing more and more that medical education starts in medical school but it continues right through into practice,” Dr. Davidson says, adding that residents do an enormous amount of teaching and supervision of undergraduate students in the clinical setting. “What we are recognizing more than anything is that relationship is a really important influence and can really impact on the student’s experience. Yet, before this program was introduced, when you graduated from medical school you really hadn’t learned much about teaching and supervising junior learners. So really this was an initiative to solve that problem.”

By completing the modules residents gain information on wide range of topics including  medical student course objectives, best practices in supervising trainees, effective ways of providing feedback as well as other tips to succeed as a clinical teacher.

Once the program has been completed the modules remain accessible to the residents so they can review the modules throughout the residency, which can last from two to five years.

Building upon the success the modules have been reused and repurposed for faculty members, says Dr. Davidson.

“We have regional faculty members because we have students who are placed in hospitals all over the province and those faculty members” she says. “So we are reusing the modules with some small revisions to introduce those faculty to ‘this is what the Queen’s medical program is like, this is what the objectives are, this is what we expect students to do,’ those sorts of things.”

The Principal’s Teaching and Learning Awards, created in 2015, recognize individuals and teams who have shown exceptional innovation and leadership in teaching and learning on campus. The awards are administered by the Centre for Teaching and Learning (CTL).

The Educational Technology Award is sponsored and coordinated by Information Technology Services. Nominations for the 2017 are currently being accepted. All nominations should be sent electronically in PDF form to the chair of the selection committee via stacey.boulton@queensu.ca no later than Tuesday, Aug. 1, by 4 pm.

For more information about the award and the nomination form and process, visit the CTL website.