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An evaluation of pharmacology curricula in Australian science and health-related degree programs.

Lloyd H, Hinton T, Bullock S, Babey AM, Davis E, Fernandes L, Hart J, Musgrave I, Ziogas J - BMC Med Educ (2013)

Bottom Line: The resultant data were analysed for similarities and differences in pharmacology curricula across the degree programs.Considerable diversity was found in the types of summative assessment tasks employed.Adoption of pharmacology knowledge-based learning outcomes that could be tailored to suit individual degree programs would better facilitate the sharing of expertise and teaching practice than the current model where pharmacology curricula are degree-specific.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: The University of Sydney, Sydney NSW 2006, Australia. hilary.lloyd@sydney.edu.au.

ABSTRACT

Background: Pharmacology is a biomedical discipline taught in basic science and professional degree programs. In order to provide information that would facilitate pharmacology curricula to be refined and developed, and approaches to teaching to be updated, a national survey was undertaken in Australia that investigated pharmacology course content, teaching and summative assessment methods.

Methods: Twenty-two institutions participated in a purpose-built online questionnaire, which enabled an evaluation of 147 courses taught in 10 different degrees. To enable comparison, degrees were grouped into four major degree programs, namely science, pharmacy, medicine and nursing. The pharmacology content was then classified into 16 lecture themes, with 2-21 lecture topics identified per theme. The resultant data were analysed for similarities and differences in pharmacology curricula across the degree programs.

Results: While all lecture themes were taught across degree programs, curriculum content differed with respect to the breadth and hours of coverage. Overall, lecture themes were taught most broadly in medicine and with greatest coverage in pharmacy. Reflecting a more traditional approach, lectures were a dominant teaching method (at least 90% of courses). Sixty-three percent of science courses provided practical classes but such sessions occurred much less frequently in other degree programs, while tutorials were much more common in pharmacy degree programs (70%). Notably, problem-based learning was common across medical programs. Considerable diversity was found in the types of summative assessment tasks employed. In science courses the most common form of in-semester assessment was practical reports, whereas in other programs pen-and-paper quizzes predominated. End-of-semester assessment contributed 50-80% to overall assessment across degree programs.

Conclusion: The similarity in lecture themes taught across the four different degree programs shows that common knowledge- and competency-based learning outcomes can be defined for pharmacology. The authors contend that it is the differences in breadth and coverage of material for each lecture theme, and the differing teaching modes and assessment that characterise particular degree programs. Adoption of pharmacology knowledge-based learning outcomes that could be tailored to suit individual degree programs would better facilitate the sharing of expertise and teaching practice than the current model where pharmacology curricula are degree-specific.

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A comparison of the relative proportion of in-semester and end-of-semester assessment across degree programs. Data are expressed as the median percentage of assessment across the courses surveyed in each degree program.
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Figure 4: A comparison of the relative proportion of in-semester and end-of-semester assessment across degree programs. Data are expressed as the median percentage of assessment across the courses surveyed in each degree program.

Mentions: These similarities in assessment are reinforced when the proportion of assessment during semester was compared with the value of the end-of-semester examination (FigureĀ 4). In general, the end-of-semester examination was worth 50-80% of the overall grade regardless of the program evaluated. Eight percent of courses surveyed had no end-of-semester examination (4 science degree programs, 5 pharmacy degree programs, 3 nursing degree programs) and 6% of courses were assessed by end-of-semester examination alone (9 medicine degree programs).


An evaluation of pharmacology curricula in Australian science and health-related degree programs.

Lloyd H, Hinton T, Bullock S, Babey AM, Davis E, Fernandes L, Hart J, Musgrave I, Ziogas J - BMC Med Educ (2013)

A comparison of the relative proportion of in-semester and end-of-semester assessment across degree programs. Data are expressed as the median percentage of assessment across the courses surveyed in each degree program.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3842843&req=5

Figure 4: A comparison of the relative proportion of in-semester and end-of-semester assessment across degree programs. Data are expressed as the median percentage of assessment across the courses surveyed in each degree program.
Mentions: These similarities in assessment are reinforced when the proportion of assessment during semester was compared with the value of the end-of-semester examination (FigureĀ 4). In general, the end-of-semester examination was worth 50-80% of the overall grade regardless of the program evaluated. Eight percent of courses surveyed had no end-of-semester examination (4 science degree programs, 5 pharmacy degree programs, 3 nursing degree programs) and 6% of courses were assessed by end-of-semester examination alone (9 medicine degree programs).

Bottom Line: The resultant data were analysed for similarities and differences in pharmacology curricula across the degree programs.Considerable diversity was found in the types of summative assessment tasks employed.Adoption of pharmacology knowledge-based learning outcomes that could be tailored to suit individual degree programs would better facilitate the sharing of expertise and teaching practice than the current model where pharmacology curricula are degree-specific.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: The University of Sydney, Sydney NSW 2006, Australia. hilary.lloyd@sydney.edu.au.

ABSTRACT

Background: Pharmacology is a biomedical discipline taught in basic science and professional degree programs. In order to provide information that would facilitate pharmacology curricula to be refined and developed, and approaches to teaching to be updated, a national survey was undertaken in Australia that investigated pharmacology course content, teaching and summative assessment methods.

Methods: Twenty-two institutions participated in a purpose-built online questionnaire, which enabled an evaluation of 147 courses taught in 10 different degrees. To enable comparison, degrees were grouped into four major degree programs, namely science, pharmacy, medicine and nursing. The pharmacology content was then classified into 16 lecture themes, with 2-21 lecture topics identified per theme. The resultant data were analysed for similarities and differences in pharmacology curricula across the degree programs.

Results: While all lecture themes were taught across degree programs, curriculum content differed with respect to the breadth and hours of coverage. Overall, lecture themes were taught most broadly in medicine and with greatest coverage in pharmacy. Reflecting a more traditional approach, lectures were a dominant teaching method (at least 90% of courses). Sixty-three percent of science courses provided practical classes but such sessions occurred much less frequently in other degree programs, while tutorials were much more common in pharmacy degree programs (70%). Notably, problem-based learning was common across medical programs. Considerable diversity was found in the types of summative assessment tasks employed. In science courses the most common form of in-semester assessment was practical reports, whereas in other programs pen-and-paper quizzes predominated. End-of-semester assessment contributed 50-80% to overall assessment across degree programs.

Conclusion: The similarity in lecture themes taught across the four different degree programs shows that common knowledge- and competency-based learning outcomes can be defined for pharmacology. The authors contend that it is the differences in breadth and coverage of material for each lecture theme, and the differing teaching modes and assessment that characterise particular degree programs. Adoption of pharmacology knowledge-based learning outcomes that could be tailored to suit individual degree programs would better facilitate the sharing of expertise and teaching practice than the current model where pharmacology curricula are degree-specific.

Show MeSH