Program directors share their thoughts about the QEP implementation.
How has the QEP changed or impacted your program’s curriculum or teaching?
Brandy Greenhill, Clinical Laboratory Science: “The QEP provides ideas on how to better deliver our course material that promotes critical thinking from our students. In the case of the CLS program, we develop specifically blocked time to cover each critical thinking goal and allow the students to participate in an activity that reinforced the lesson. Our students become instantly engaged in the activities and through discussion we can see the critical thinking process in action. It is very exciting for us as instructors.”
Vicki Hopwood, Cytogenetic Technology: “QEP has changed the faculty in the Cytogenetic Technology program’s (CGT Program) way of thinking about student learning. In the past, the curriculum emphasis was on delivering the factual content required to master the field and pass the Board of Certification (BOC) combined with hands-on student laboratory activities. Since the implementation of the QEP, the faculty has had the opportunity to engage our students in classroom activities that have allowed the faculty to have immediate feedback regarding the students’ understanding of key cytogenetic concepts. The Program quickly realized that while in teacher led PowerPoint instruction, students would gain factual knowledge, that they did not always gain conceptual knowledge. Based on the initial year experience, the CGT Program is changing their curriculum to a blended curriculum for the 2012 – 2013 academic year. This will emphasize independent student learning of factual material followed by guided critical thinking activities geared to emphasize cytogenetic concepts and group interactions. Assessment of student factual learning will be aided by the use of Turning Point guided reviews so that student’s do not move on to new concepts without first mastering the initial concepts. Time has been made in the schedule for remediation with those students who need more time to master key concepts outside of the classroom. Student success and achievement is the cornerstone of the School of Health Professions goals. It is the CGT Program’s belief that this curricular change, influenced by the QEP, will raise the bar of both our student’s performance on the BOC and during their employment following graduation from the Program.”
Peter Hu, Molecular Genetic Technology: “It has allowed us to identify students who needed extra attention. By implementing the tools we have learned from QEP, the molecular genetic technology students as a whole are much more engaged in their day-to-day learning activities.”
Kameka Rideaux (for Shaun Caldwell), Radiation Therapy: “The QEP has provided us with a more concrete method of identifying and teaching critical thinking skills. Emphasizing critical thinking and clinical decision-making in our radiation therapy curriculum has enhanced our student’s ability to bridge the gap between clinical and didactic education. Based on QEP principles we have integrated the Virtual learning modules and Socratic questioning into our clinical curriculum to further engage students in their learning activities. In radiation therapy, it has allowed us to create more opportunities for student/teacher interactions inside the classroom and clinical environment.”
William Undie, Diagnostic Imaging: “In radiography, it is essential for our students to learn the techniques of critical thinking and problem solving, and how such skill can be used to evaluate radiographic images in the clinical setting. Over the past year, I encouraged many of the faculty members to incorporate these techniques in their classroom and lab activities. Students are required to maintain a portfolio, ask scientific questions, formulate hypotheses and design solutions for problems that are associated with inappropriate radiographic images. To familiarize students with this method, faculty members introduce the steps involved in the process at the beginning of the semester, using previous studies highlighting the impact it has in advancing scientific knowledge in radiologic sciences. They provide students the opportunity to ask and address their own scientific questions, by having them write short papers in which they utilize critical thinking inquiry. These papers are completed independently and occasionally in small groups to promote collaboration and diverse perspectives. Overall, many of the students have expressed satisfaction with this approach and the quality of knowledge they have gained in the process. We plan to gradually expand this teaching method in other clinically focused classes in the fall semester.”
What is your program’s faculty enjoying most about the QEP?
Mahsa Dehghanpour, Medical Dosimetry: “Medical Dosimetry program’s faculty appreciates the professional development opportunities they are given as part of the QEP. They feel that the critical thinking strategies they incorporate into their teaching have resulted in positive changes in students and better understanding of the didactic material. Faculty observes how small and large group discussions in the classroom help students comprehend the difficult concepts. They notice that students demonstrate higher order thinking in their treatment plan analysis and understand that medical dosimetry involves many critical thinking components. Faculty enjoys seeing students saying to one another ‘use your critical thinking skills’ when they are trying to solve a problem.”
What has been the most surprising thing about our QEP?
Mark Bailey, Histotechnology: “The improvement of our students’ ability to translate the didactic knowledge that they acquire in the classroom to the clinical laboratory setting.”
Stephanie Hamilton, Cytotechnology: “That old faculty can be taught new tricks (I am referring to myself only). I was looking for an additional example of one of the QEP skills and I read a snippet in the magazine for the National Wildlife Federation. It was about how brown owls outnumber white owls thus the authors concluded this was tangible evidence of global warming. I started thinking, but wait, maybe the white owls contracted a virus and are starting to decline in their population, or maybe they just aren’t mating, etc. Then I laughed to myself thinking that in the past I would have just accepted the explanation.”
Note: Links to documents within the Quality Enhancement Plan website are password protected and require a login to MD Anderson's Box system.