Students' first impressions of a new, more integrated curriculum with increased self-directed study time

Dale, V. H.M. , Head, S. D. and May, S. A. (2008) Students' first impressions of a new, more integrated curriculum with increased self-directed study time. In: Excellence in Teaching Annual Conference 2008, London, UK, pp. 21-33.

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The Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine (BVetMed) curriculum at the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) has recently undergone transformation. This is in response to growing evidence in veterinary education that self-directed learning approaches result in more meaningful learning than traditional approaches characterised by rote memorisation. A new, more integrated curriculum, with a greater professional skills component, was introduced in October 2007. Using a modified version of the Delphi technique, an inventory of 92 statements with Likert scale ratings and 20 open text boxes was designed and distributed to students at the end of their sixth week, as part of the formative evaluation process. Responses were received from 181/210 students (86.2%). Students were most satisfied with lectures and practical classes, but felt that they needed clearer learning objectives, particularly in relation to personal study sessions, as well as better feedback from tutors in tutorials and directed learning sessions. Professional skills (including learning support) classes were viewed as of secondary importance to ‘content’ classes on body systems. There was strong evidence of students wanting to be given the information they felt they should know in order to pass examinations. Despite a diverse student population, students (particularly graduates) generally come into veterinary school favouring a traditional, surface approach to learning, with an emphasis on content rather than process. Even with a new course designed on a more integrated basis, these initial findings continue to highlight the need for well designed and extensive ‘scaffolding’, in terms of providing support for students as independent learners, and staff training to enable teachers to move students away from dependency acquired during previous secondary and HE experiences.

Item Type:Conference Proceedings
Additional Information:Proceedings edited by L. Gourlay and S. Saxby-Smith.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Dale, Dr Vicki
Authors: Dale, V. H.M., Head, S. D., and May, S. A.
Subjects:L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2361 Curriculum
College/School:University Services > Learning and Teaching Services Division
University Services > Student and Academic Services > Academic Services
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