Technology follows Pedagogy: A novel use of online, live and virtual small group activities for a new learning-objective, competency-based curriculum

May 22, 2018 8:00 AM – 9:15 AM

James McGee, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
Peter Drain, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

The Laboratory for Educational Technology blended novel and existing education technologies to support our new Biomedical Masters Program’s curriculum organized by learning objectives and competency assessment rather than by topic and teaching events.

Program: Masters in Biomedicine

Course: Methods and Logic in Biomedicine


WEEKLY – 5 primary learning objectives (LOs) per week

  • ONLINE (2 hours) self-directed, self-paced learning modules, organized by LO, associated with a quiz for each objective.
  • CLASSROOM (2 hours) active learning session organized by LO; live quizzes, problem solving, and discussion.
  • VIRTUAL SMALL GROUPS (2 hours, 10 students) via web conferencing and course LMS students create two new MCQs for each LO and write a summary explanation of each LO; facilitated by online faculty.

 METHODS: This course required a LO-based data structure and an interface for faculty/student content development and delivery, along with online communication and data collection that did not interrupt the learning flow. Solutions included 1) a LO-driven LMS, 2) quiz authoring tightly aligned with LOs, 3) an interface for student-generated content, and 4) integrated commercial ARS and web conferencing software.

We continuously tracked and reported pre-class, in-class and post-class competency assessments related to each LO as an indicator of both learner and teacher performance. Effective student-authored questions were collected and organized for use in subsequent years.

RESULTS: We will review the outcome of the various solutions used, how faculty and students interacted with these technologies and share preliminary data on the effectiveness of this novel approach.