College of Medicine Implements Peer Instruction in New Curriculum

The new College of Medicine curriculum will be implemented in less than a week and faculty and staff are working to ensure the transition occurs on time and successfully.

Peer Instruction (PI) will play an important role in the pre-clinical, integrated systems-based curriculum, so faculty, staff and students gathered virtually, Wednesday, July 15, for a PI simulation to better understand the method of teaching.

PI, which emphasizes active learning, is the primary learning modality for the new curriculum, being led by Sonja Harris-Haywood, M.D., associate dean, and Jennifer Hillyer, director of faculty development. A student-centered approach, PI requires students to prepare outside of class by doing pre-class readings. When in class, the instructor engages students by asking prepared questions guided by the following process:

  • Instructor poses question based on students' responses to their pre-class reading
  • Students reflect on the question
  • Students commit to an individual answer
  • Instructor reviews student responses
  • Students discuss their thinking and answers with their peers
  • Students then commit again to an individual answer
  • The instructor reviews student responses and decides whether more explanation is needed before moving on to the next concept

Students Have a Say

To help gain a PI-student perspective, the College of Medicine selected four rising second-year students to serve as Curriculum Change Initiative fellows over a five-week period during their summer break.

Alexandra Glaser, Sanjay Jinka, Jonathan Seok and Caitlin Villers were selected through an application process and assisted Douglas Moses, M.D. ('95), associate dean for admissions and student affairs, with the following tasks:

  • Reviewing PI questions for understanding from the student perspective
  • Rating the difficulty of PI questions
  • Helping to edit questions to improve readability
  • Participating in a PI simulation workshop to take place prior to the start of the M1 year

Dr. Moses noted, “The PI model of instruction has been used in higher education since the late 1990s and more recently has been adopted by several medical schools. We are excited about implementing PI at NEOMED, tailoring it to our students with their input.”

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