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Incorporating case studies into a physiology course to encourage integrative thinking.
Maureen Knabb, Department of Biology, West Chester University of Pennsylvania, West Chester, PA, 19380
Learning physiology is challenging because students need to assimilate an understanding of organ systems as well as content from other disciplines in order to apply their learning to solve problems.  To encourage integration and application of physiological concepts, students constructed and answered questions from 6 instructor-designed and 2 student-designed case studies.  The instructor-designed cases represented recent newspaper reports (3) or invented stories (3) and were presented either in-class (3) or online via a Blackboard discussion board (3).  Initially, the instructor helped the students identify 3 relevant questions that were designed to achieve integrative thinking but less instructor input was necessary over time. Assessment was based on written group responses to questions, multiple choice exam questions, and student perceptions of their learning. There was no significant difference between performances on lecture content versus case-based multiple choice exam questions. An end-of-semester survey indicated that all students enjoyed using case studies and an online format was slightly preferred (53%). Some students favored the news-based cases (33%) and the majority (80%) preferred constructing their own questions. Most students (83%) enjoyed developing their own cases and agreed that case studies extended their understanding of course content and encouraged inter-system as well as interdisciplinary thinking. These results indicate that case studies can be incorporated successfully to develop integrative thinking in physiology.
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Hey Maureen, I think you want to say up front that your goal was to compare student performance on topics with only lecture vs. topics with case studies. Otherwise it kind of seems like you don't have a hypothesis up front. Otherwise, it looks good. :)
Posted 16:08, 14 Feb 2009
Hi Maureen, I agree that you could be more explicit with the goal of your study, it seems to jump in very quickly into the guts of it. Did you give lectures as well as the case studies - a brief description of how the course was constructed would help me understand your project. The sentence that compares results for MCQ for lecture material and case-based material is comparing 2 different parts of the syllabus taught in the 2 different ways - is this correct? A nice compact study.
Posted 08:51, 15 Feb 2009
Hi Maureen. I agree with Jenny's comments. Darn that Jenny is on the ball! She has been making helpful comments to all it seems!!
Posted 12:54, 16 Feb 2009
Hi Maureen,
Your abstract is direct and easy to follow. The suggestions above are great. Cant think of anything they missed. Sherri
Posted 10:59, 17 Feb 2009
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