Implementation of a consistent and structured approach to small class workshops: A case study in pharmacy education at Monash University

[Speaker] Nilushi Karunaratne:1
1:Centre for Medicine Use and Safety, Monash University, Australia

Background. Small class teaching forms an essential part of the pharmacy education at Monash University. Traditionally, tutorials and workshops are delivered in conventional classroom settings, with variable timetable scheduling and rotating tutors. In addition, setup of teams for group activities is variable from session to session and variability also exists in the development of workshop materials and in their presentation. One of the key features of Monash University's new Bachelor of Pharmacy (Honours)/Master of Pharmacy degree (also known as the Vertical Integrated Master's or VIM) is the implementation of a consistent and structured approach to small class teaching.
Methods. Units within the VIM were structured to allow workshops to take place weekly on the same day, time, and location. A pool of experienced facilitators were sourced for each unit and underwent further training to effectively facilitate specifically within the VIM, and were rostered such that each small class engaged with the same facilitator throughout the semester. Within workshops, students were allocated into teams of 4-5 and these teams remained consistent throughout the semester. Workshops took place in newly designed technology-enhanced learning spaces featuring collaborative pods with whiteboard table surfaces, mobile computers on wheels (MCOWs) being accessible to each pod, and a master room allowing AV control of surrounding learning spaces enabled by a 'patch-in' system. Workshop materials were developed in line with a 'best practice' template which included having Monash branded PowerPoint presentation slides to visually guide students, a 'running time sheet' to aid facilitators to effectively manage a workshop session, and time dedicated for 'closing of the loop' at the conclusion of each workshop to tackle common misconceptions and to link concepts covered within the session to the profession of pharmacy.
Results. The combination of these improvements and best practices have been applied to over 90 workshop sessions across 2 semesters in the new VIM degree in 2017.
Conclusion. Designing effective learning environments, providing students consistency in terms of timetabling, facilitator rostering and student grouping, together with improving instructional modalities has the potential to positively impact student-centered learning.

Advanced Search