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Context and setting

  1. Top of page
  2. Context and setting
  3. Why the idea was necessary
  4. What was done
  5. Evaluation of results and impact

The pedagogical approach in medical education seems to have witnessed a paradigm shift within North American institutions. Medicine, an inherently innovative discipline, appears to have resisted any Luddite reluctance and embraced the global Web 2.0 possibilities. The Faculty of Medicine at the University of Ottawa has committed itself to being at the vanguard of technological innovation over the past decade. Established as the nation’s only bilingual medical school, the innovative advances have been designed to facilitate the parallel Anglophone and Francophone educational streams. In view of its historically rote subject matter, the Division of Clinical and Functional Anatomy has implemented podcasting (using digital media files) to complement an ever-expanding integrative curriculum and to synergise the student learning experience.

Why the idea was necessary

  1. Top of page
  2. Context and setting
  3. Why the idea was necessary
  4. What was done
  5. Evaluation of results and impact

The Faculty of Medicine has reformed its medical curriculum from a conventional discipline-based approach to an integrative, objective-based curriculum. This has involved a reduction in core lecture hours and an increased emphasis on student self-learning and case-based clinical application. The challenge to comprehensively address learning objectives in human anatomy spurred the development and deployment of podcasting to supplement the fundamental delivery of key content. The aim was to advance the technologically progressive focus of the new curriculum and improve the learning scope of human anatomy while maintaining the autonomous student-centred ideal.

What was done

  1. Top of page
  2. Context and setting
  3. Why the idea was necessary
  4. What was done
  5. Evaluation of results and impact

Anatomy lecturers developed podcasts in French and English as online learning resources to augment student learning capacity. Distinctive podcast lectures reviewing previously presented subject matter and emphasising fundamental concepts were made available online to medical students in Years 1 and 2 in advance of each anatomy laboratory session. The podcasts were easily accessible through the Division of Anatomy’s internal website and were also available on iTunes uOttawa for maximal convenience and usability. Online surveys were constructed to help determine the utilisation patterns and potential benefit of the learning resource. The surveys were administered after specific teaching units to assess the podcast quality and to help improve student efficacy in the acquisition of educational fundamentals.

Evaluation of results and impact

  1. Top of page
  2. Context and setting
  3. Why the idea was necessary
  4. What was done
  5. Evaluation of results and impact

Samples of Francophone Year 1 (n = 42) and Anglophone Year 2 (n = 49) students were used to assess the impact and plausibility of the curricular podcast integration. The notable results of the survey illustrate a positive reception on the part of the participants for the supplementary resource, with 92% of responses indicating the podcasts were ‘very helpful for self-paced learning’. With respect to student utilisation, 89% of the respondents deemed the podcasts an excellent resource for studying anatomy, and 79% embraced the use of the podcasts in examination preparation. The resounding response and student amalgamation of the resource into various independent learning paradigms has increased the demand for more Web 2.0 resources in the teaching of human anatomy and other medical disciplines at the University of Ottawa. The learning return on the relatively inexpensive capital investment is encouraging for the future development of podcasts as a staple resource in human anatomy education.