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Workshop / Seminar

Highlighting Innovation: Presentations from the Regional Teaching Academy Conference

Animal Disease Biotech Facility (ADBF), 1855 E GRIMES WAY, Pullman, WA 99164

Room 1002 and Zoom

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About the event

College of Veterinary Medicine Teaching Academy

During this seminar, you will hear from three presenters who showcased their innovative teaching strategies at the Biennial Regional Teaching Academy Summer Conference. Join us to gain unique insights into fostering student engagement, leveraging technology, and enhancing assessment as a learning tool.

Training the Facilitator: Developing an eLearning module to enhance clinical teaching for a high-fidelity role-playing simulation Presented by Rachel Halsey, DVM, GCertEd (Research Methods) (WSU)

  • Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine (WSU CVM) Diagnostic Challenge (DC) was established in 1991 and continues to be an innovative educational approach to veterinary education. In this intensive program, students engage in multidisciplinary case-based learning in the context of high-fidelity role-playing simulations over the course of one week. During this time, the clinical facilitator plays a key role in creating an environment which supports students’ initiative to learn and take control of the situation. In order to develop these lifelong learning skills, the facilitators encourage students to go beyond didactic learning and apply their learning to real-world applications as early in the program as possible. Facilitators serve as guides, rather than providing answers to students as they navigate the educational process. A variety of backgrounds are represented among our clinical facilitators, including academic and private practice experiences. The facilitators of DCs volunteer their time but are often not completely prepared for the role of educators. Despite the fact that they possess the experience and expertise of their specific field or service, they are frequently not well prepared to communicate that information effectively to the students. In order to support inexperienced facilitators and to provide current resources for even the most experienced educators, professional development opportunities are essential. Taking this into consideration, we developed our first DC facilitator training module, based on Neher, et al. (1992), “A Five-Step “Microskills” Model of Clinical Teaching.” This asynchronous training module utilizes Articulate 360, a responsive eLearning platform. It is designed to guide facilitators through the article by emphasizing the key aspects, providing relevant scenarios, and opportunities for reflection

Coupling Science Communication Training with Immunology Content Presented by Philip Mixter, Ph.D. (WSU)

  • Undergraduate students learning about immunology are often instructed about applied concepts including vaccines. While they have knowledge of vaccines, few students are prepared to have deeper conversations about other issues influencing vaccine hesitancy. With an interest in equipping pre-professionals with more integrated skills to complement their scientific understanding, we sought to add current, evidence-based science communication skills near the end of an undergraduate immunology course, better allowing students to articulate their knowledge while adjusting to other people in their discussions. Using three 50-minute sessions coupled with active learning exercises, we worked towards the learning outcome of helping students have difficult holiday conversations about vaccines, specifically working to help them understand current science communication theories, the Health Belief Model and best practices for translating their immunology knowledge using evidence-based practices. Each session included some content delivered by short lecture followed by various activities, including case studies, role playing and reflections. Scholarly analyses of vaccine hesitancy and the backfire effect were also included. The culminating assignment was to respond to a difficult conversation scenario and submit a written form of the words they would use. Analyses of student products are ongoing. Student reflections indicated self-reported gains in the words for having challenging conversations, thus meeting one of the student learning outcomes. In summary, shifting this time normally designated for additional course content was impactful for the students. Combining communication training with science content is an effective fusion. Several noted that this helped them discuss vaccines during their Thanksgiving break conversations with family and friends.

Are students learning for the test? A three-stage process to enhance assessment as a learning tool Presented by Jeffrey Abbott, DVM, Ph.D. (WSU)

  • Can we extend the learning process from being something that occurs exclusively before an assessment, to instead also include the assessment and a post-assessment extension?Learners often enter a “binge and purge” cycle of learning that is capped with an assessment. Rather than learning ending at th e test, this innovation describes a three-stage process implemented in an immunology course with the aim to continue the learning process during and after the assessment. The three stages of the process were designed to engage the students individually and collaboratively. The first stage was comprised of “thought maps”, where the students hand wrote or hand drew important concepts from the current material. In addition to receiving credit for completing the thought map, students were able to bring their map as a reference to the assessment of the course content it represented. The assessment itself formed the second stage of the learning process. It was designed as a conceptual, case-based assessment, largely comprised of short answer questions followed by short essay questions asking students to explain their reasoning for their short answer responses. These types of questions required students to draw on the conceptual knowledge they had built and consolidated through the process of developing their thought maps. The third stage of the learning process was the opportunity for students to engage in a supplemental group retake of the assessment immediately following the assessment, to allow for revisiting the content with significant peer teaching. Student feedback revealed that these three components had a positive impact on their learning in the immunology course. Further, some students offered feedback on ways they had used the thought maps in other courses and made suggestions for how the three assessment components could be enhanced to benefit students in subsequent cohorts. This suggests that not only did the innovation extend the learning process during the immunology course as intended, but also may have positive impacts beyond what were hoped.


Rachel Halsey