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Academic and Student Services

Knowledge Now

Videos, briefs and in depth modules for educators

Mentoring and Career Advising for Your Students

April 2022


  • Define “mentoring” and “advising”
  • Explore essential skills to serving as a mentor or advisor
  • Review resources available to aid in the advising process
  • Discuss challenges in the current Match environment

Competency & Coaching

February 2022


  • Differentiate between competencies and objectives
  • Increase participant familiarity with competencies for the new medical school curriculum
  • Write objectives that map to competencies
  • Relate competencies to coaching

How to Thrive Through Curriculum Change: Strategies for Faculty

January 2022


  • Review anticipated changes coming with the revised School of Medicine curriculum
  • Understand what a growth mindset is and how it influences one’s ability to navigate change
  • Explore resources available to support faculty through change

Case-Based Learning

November 2021


  • Define “Case-Based Learning” as it applies to medical education
  • Explore how case-based learning is used at other institutions
  • Discuss what case-based learning may look like in the School of Medicine’s revised curriculum

If You Build It, They Will Learn | Course & Program Design Best Practices

October 2021


  • Review the backwards design approach to program and course development
  • Explore design sprints for collaborative planning
  • Discuss the role of professional learning communities
  • Examine approaches to assessment for quality improvement

MythBusters Teaching Edition

September 2021


  • Explore common myths and beliefs in higher education
  • Discuss evidence to support or refute these myths
  • Identify strategies to incorporate best practices in higher education

Copyright in the Classroom

May 2021

Highlights include:

  • Overview of Fair Use
  • How to share resources with your students
    • Resources covered by MCW Libraries subscriptions
    • Resources not covered by MCW Libraries subscriptions
    • Open Access resources
  • Where to learn more

Facilitating Productive Meetings

April 2021


  • Determining purpose and developing an agenda
  • Facilitating productive discussion and active participation
  • Developing and assigning subsequent action
  • Conducting appropriate follow-up

Knowledge Now Session Video Archive


The State of Medical Education with Dr. Joseph Kerschner (Video) | March 2021
Highlights include: Learner well-being; Student debt; Transition to residency; Student diversity

Leadership Skills for the Educator (Video) | February 2021
Objectives: Define leadership and management; Summarize common leadership styles; Explore qualities of effective leaders; Discuss personal and interpersonal leadership skills development

Providing Effective Feedback (Video) | January 2021
Objectives: Define feedback as it relates to the educational setting; Explore types of feedback used in education; Develop skills used in providing feedback


Learning Across Generations (Video) | October 2020

Online Teaching Tools (Video) | August 2020
Objectives: Brightspace Learning Management System; Microsoft Teams; Video Conferencing; TopHat Audience Response System; Panopto Recording Capture

Instructional Strategies for the Digital Classroom (Video) | May 2020
Objectives: Review creating digital content; Discuss organizing content for learner-centered teaching; Explore pacing information and the learner experience; Establish digital classroom etiquette; Discuss managing breakout groups; Review engagement in the digital classroom

Writing for Publication (Video) | February 2020
Objectives: Review the writing process; Self-assessment of writing styles; Address common carriers to successful writing; Strategize ways to make the publication process effective

Active Learning Session (Video) | January 2020


Educator Portfolio (Video) | November 2019

Educational IRB (Video) | October 2019
Objectives: Define “human subjects research” as it relates to educational projects; Explain research categories and the IRB approval process; Discuss what happens after IRB approval

Scholarly Product (Video) | September 2019
Objectives: To crystalize plans, strategies and steps that advance educational projects into scholarship to benefit you, your colleagues, your field, and your learners.

Brightspace Learning Objects Repository (Video) | August 2019
Objectives: Define “Learning Objects Repository”; Outline use cases for working with the LOR; Explain how the LOR benefits users; Demonstrate how to work within the LOR

Narrative Feedback (Video) | May 2019
Objectives: Explain the role of written narrative comments; Identify common pitfalls to avoid; Discuss tips for providing written narrative feedback; Modify narrative examples to improve their overall quality

Cognitive Load Theory (Video) | April 2019
Objectives: Understand cognitive load theory; Review design principles we can use in our teaching to improve learning in the workplace

Educational Technology Updates (Video) | March 2019
Objectives: Highlight monthly feature in the OEI newsletter for continual Ed Tech updates; Review Panopto integration with Brightspace; Discuss Brightspace features and best practices; Review Doceri features and presentation integration; Provide opportunity for questions and answers

Giving Data Heavy Presentations (Video) | February 2019
Objectives: Review an example of a dense presentation; Discuss strategies for making a dense presentation more learner-friendly; Understand the role of pausing throughout a presentation; Redesign a dense presentation in an effort to improve learning and retention

Time Efficient Clinical Teaching (Video) | January 2019
Objectives: Define clinical teaching and discuss its complexity; Explore two models for clinical teaching; Identify the clinical preceptor’s roles; Review feedback, teaching tips, and TPI to prepare for success


Writing Test Questions (Video) | November 2018
Objectives: Recognize triggers that prompt an exam question review; Practice revising existing questions to conform to NBME standards; Write new questions using the NBME guidelines; Link questions to course content and global competencies

Facilitating Distance Learning and Communication (Video) | October 2018
Objectives: Identify common challenges to effective communication and meeting facilitation during video conferences; Anticipate and eliminate barriers to effective videoconferencing across campuses; Compare and contrast how social norms influence communication in-person and by videoconference; Relate videoconferencing best practices from the business world to regional campus communications; Consider future trends in distance communication

Using Brightspace to Enhance Teaching & Course Operations (Video) | August 2018
Objectives: Discuss various features of our learning management system (LMS); Highlight examples of current practices in the LMS; Address questions regarding ways to enhance your specific course(s)

Practicing Reflective Teaching (Video) | March 2018
Objectives: Define reflection; Discuss reflective practice; Assess personal stage of reflection; Explore the continuum of self-reflection

Identifying & Maximizing Your Teaching Style (Video) | February 2018
Objectives: Define “teaching styles”; Discuss influences on teaching styles; Assess your teaching style preferences; Examine factors that contribute to successful teaching

Using Technology to Enhance Teaching Effectiveness (Video) | January 2018
Objectives: Define “educational technology”; Explore various tools available at MCW; Discuss how educational technology can enhance teaching and learning

Engaging Your Learners: How to Encourage Student Interest and Active Participation in Your Classroom

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Knowledge Now Brief

April 2022: Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs): MOOCs are free online courses available for enrollment to anyone. Common uses of MOOCs include career development, college preparation, and supplemental learning. Use of MOOCs in medical education include continuing medical education (CME) opportunities, medical knowledge acquisition, and examination preparation (such as MCAT prep).


Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) in Medical Education (PDF)
(Source: Association of American Medical Colleges)

February 2022: Competency-Based Medical Education (CBME)

Competency-Based Medical Education (CBME): CBME is a formative form of assessment with an emphasis on lifelong development of knowledge and skills. The process focuses on defined observable behaviors, or competencies, that result in desired patient-centered outcomes. Competencies involve components such as knowledge, skills, values, and attitudes.


January 2022: Implicit Bias

Implicit Bias: Unconscious thoughts and feelings in favor of or against one thing, person, or group compared with another. These mental associations affect the way we act and interact with others.

December 2021: Generation Z, or iGen

Generation Z, or iGen: Born between 1995 and 2012, Generation Z represents the newest generation of health sciences students. This generation has grown up with the internet and social media, being used to easy access to information. For that reason, this generation is also known as iGen, or the internet generation.

This generation has never lived without the expansive amount of information made available through the internet. Some characteristics of members of iGen include:

  • Aversion to taking risks
  • Less likely to defer to authority figures, such as church or government officials
  • Much more tolerant of others (different races and ethnicities, sexual orientations)
  • Less independent

This generation of learners expects to be an active part of the learning process and seeks to integrate their educational and personal experiences seamlessly.


November 2021: Microaggression

Microaggression: “a comment or action that subtly and often unconsciously or unintentionally expresses a prejudiced attitude toward a member of a marginalized group (such as a racial minority).”

Microaggressions are damaging because they are related to someone’s membership in a marginalized group. They are typically casual and unintentional, which can make them difficult to recognize and address. Microaggressions often manifest as compliments or jokes which contain a veiled insult. Suffering from microaggressions has been shown to result in depression, anger, decreased productivity, and difficulty with problem-solving.


October 2021: Antiracist Institution

Antiracist Institution: “An institution that has committed to identifying and changing its role in the systemic accumulation of disadvantages for one group(s) to the advantage of another group(s), based on persisting racist beliefs, with a sustained focus on racism that impacts BIPOC.”

The Medical College of Wisconsin is committed to becoming an antiracist institution. Numerous initiatives have and are taking place to advance this commitment. This includes work being done to foster antiracist learning environments for our trainees.

View the MCW Anti-Racism, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Glossary

September 2021: Learning Communities

Learning Communities: Lenning et al. (2013) define a learning community as an “intentionally developed community that exists to promote and maximize the individual and shared learning of its members. There is ongoing interaction, interplay, and collaboration among the community’s members as they strive for specified common learning goals” (Lenning, et al., 2013, p. 7).


  • Lenning, Oscar T., Denise M. Hill, Kevin P. Saunders, Alisha Solan, and Andria Stokes. 2013. Powerful Learning Communities: A Guide to Developing Student, Faculty and Professional Learning Communities to Improve Student Success and Organizational Effectiveness. Sterling, VA: Stylus.
  • Center for Engaged Learning
August 2021: Student Mistreatment

Student Mistreatment: According to the AAMC’s Graduation Questionnaire, “Mistreatment either intentional or unintentional occurs when behavior shows disrespect for the dignity of others and unreasonably interferes with the learning process. Examples of mistreatment include sexual harassment; discrimination or harassment based on race, religion, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation; humiliation; psychological or physical punishment; and the use of grading and other forms of assessment in a punitive manner.” (2011)

May 2021: Technology-Enhanced Learning (TEL)

Technology-Enhanced Learning (TEL): This term refers to the application of technology to teaching and learning. In a broad sense, TEL refers to education that occurs through electronic communication and computerized technologies. Effective TEL pairs an instructor’s pedagogical understanding with appropriate technological tools to achieve desired learning outcomes.

April 2021: Independent Learning

Independent Learning: This term refers to activities in which responsibility for learning transitions from the instructor to the learners themselves. It is a process that occurs under the guidance of an instructor to ensure activities remain within the scope and limitations of the program, going from more structured to increasingly self-directed. Independent learning activities serve to prepare learners for self-directed learning later in a curriculum or in professional practice.

March 2021: Cultural Humility

Cultural Humility: Cultural humility is defined as an interpersonal approach that is “other-centered” regarding the person’s cultural identity and what is important to that person. It is an approach that combines a lifelong commitment to self-reflection and self-critique that strives to fix power imbalances and develop partnerships and relationships with those that advocate for others.

2020 Briefs

December 2020: Generation Z
This generation includes individuals born between 1995 and 2014. Known as being “technoholics,” this generation represents the first to grow up with technology present throughout all aspects of their lives. This generation favors visually enhanced methods of teaching and technology-enhanced learning.

November 2020: Learning Environment
The term ‘learning environment’ refers to the locations, contexts, and cultures in which learning takes place. It allows us to think beyond the basic classroom experience and take into account how individuals within a learning experience interact with and treat one another.

October 2020: Professional Identity Formation
Professional identity formation (PIF) refers to internalizing the core values and beliefs of a given profession. Beyond skills and competencies, PIF is a developmental process through which an individual identifies with and espouses what it means to be a member of their chosen field.

September 2020: Curriculum
Lessons and academic content comprising a course of study is referred to as a curriculum. A curriculum provides an outline of what should be taught and informs the system of assessment to ensure content is learned. In general, there are three types of curriculum: subject-centered, learner-centered, and problem-centered.

Subject-centered curriculum is designed around subjects or disciplines, such as mathematics and biology. Learner-centered curriculum is designed based on student needs, interests and goals. Problem-centered curriculum is designed around developing learners’ ability to look at a problem and formulate a solution.

August 2020: Professional Development
Professional development encompasses various activities professionals employ to expand their knowledge, skills, and attitudes on topics related to their professional role and identity. It encompasses a wide variety of specialized training, formal education, and socialization into a professional environment.

May 2020: Conceptual Framework
A conceptual framework in education serves as a guide for how a program is designed, implemented, and evaluated. It provides a structure within which the philosophy of a program and an essential understanding of what it means to educate is housed, the foundation of which is educational research and theory.

April 2020: Online Learning and Emergency Remote Teaching
Online learning is a form of formal instruction that takes place using informational technology as the primary means of content delivery and engagement. Effective online learning takes approximately six to nine months of advanced planning using sound pedagogical design methods.

Emergency remote teaching is a temporary shift of instructional delivery to an alternate delivery mode based on crisis circumstances. Emergency remote teaching represents a rapid transition of content traditionally delivered in an in-person classroom setting to a fully remote teaching environment.

March 2020: Learning Community
A learning community is a group of people who share similar academic goals and meet on a regular basis to learn with and from one another. Learning communities support the alignment of organizational, program, team, and individual goals. Members of a learning community are accountable to one another to achieve shared goals.

February 2020: Assessment and Evaluation
Assessment is a collection of data as evidence of a learner’s progress and achievement. Assessment measures the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and/or beliefs of a learner in order to identify their level of performance and provide feedback on that performance and areas for improvement. It is diagnostic and formative in nature. Examples include using a question bank or taking an in-training examination to get feedback on one’s knowledge base to guide study efforts.

Evaluation is the collection, analysis, and interpretation of data on the performance of a learner to determine the degree to which they have attained learning goals. Evaluation assigns value to data in order to make a judgement based on established criteria. It is judgmental and summative in nature. Examples include taking an NBME examination for a course grade or taking a USMLE examination for licensure.

January 2020: Learning Objectives
Learning objectives are measurable statements that demonstrate the goals for a curriculum. Objectives work to provide a map for when and where knowledge, skills, and attitudes are taught. The Liaison Committee on Medical Education, or LCME, provides the following definitions:

  • Learning objectives: A statement of the specific, observable, and measurable expected outcomes (i.e., what the medical students will be able to do) of each specific component (e.g., course, module, clinical clerkship, rotation) of a medical education program that defines the content of the component and the assessment methodology and that is linked back to one or more of the medical education program objectives. (Elements 6.1, 8.2, 8.3, and 9.1). MCW refers to these objectives as course or event objectives.
  • Medical education program objectives: Broad statements, in measurable terms, of the knowledge, skills, behaviors, and attitudes (typically linked to a statement of expected competencies) that a medical student is expected to exhibit as evidence of his or her achievement of all programmatic requirements by the time of medical education program completion. (Standards 6 and 11; Elements 6.1, 8.2, 8.3, 8.4, 8.7, and 9.4). MCW refers to these objectives as Global Competencies (PDF).
2019 Briefs

December 2019: Bloom's Taxonomy of the Cognitive Domain
Bloom’s Taxonomy of the Cognitive Domain is a hierarchical ordering of intellectual skills used by educators and learners to organize educational experiences. Created by Benjamin Bloom in 1956, and revised by Lorin Anderson and David Krathwohl in 2001, the taxonomy is often used to classify learning outcomes and objectives.

The Six Levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy:

  • Remember: memorizing information
  • Understand: organizing and summarizing information
  • Apply: using information to solve problems
  • Analyze: using information to explain a problem
  • Evaluate: using information to make a judgement
  • Create: using information to design a new solution to a problem
November 2019: Educator Portfolio
An educator portfolio is a collection of documentation that provides evidence of your effectiveness as an educator. Used as part of the promotion process at MCW, a faculty member’s portfolio contains data and narratives that provide context for that data.

General Guidelines for Creating Your Portfolio:

  • Keep your portfolio simple, succinct, and focused on examples that demonstrate your effectiveness as an educator.
  • Don’t use the portfolio to repeat information already available in your Curriculum Vitae (CV).
  • Use bullet points and graphics when possible; avoid long narratives that do not draw attention to your successes.

October 2019: Master Adaptive Learner
Master Adaptive Learner, or MAL, is a conceptual framework developed by Dr. William Cutrer and colleagues to guide medical educators in developing medical students’ skills in adaptive expertise, or their ability to learn and innovate to meet the challenges of modern clinical practice. MALs go through four general phases when learning in practice: Planning, Learning, Assessing, and Adjusting. This is an iterative process, one in which the learner moves amongst the phases as some questions are resolved and other questions arise.

The Four Phases:

  • Planning includes identifying a knowledge gap, selecting an opportunity for learning, and searching for resources to address the knowledge gap
  • Learning involves intense focus in which the learner internalizes new understandings and works to find the most effective way to resolve the cognitive dissonance that initiated the learning process.
  • Assessing occurs when the learner tests out what they have learned and forms an opinion as to its effectiveness.
  • Adjusting is the phase in which the learner takes their new knowledge, skill, and/or attitude and incorporates it into their routine practice.

Cutrer, W.B., Miller, B., Pusic, M.V., Mejicano, G., Mangrulkar, R.S., Gruppen, L.D., Moore, D. E. (2017). Fostering the Development of Master Adaptive Learners: A conceptual model to guide skill acquisition in medical education. Academic Medicine, 92(1), 70-75.

September 2019: Andragogy
The term andragogy is specific to the needs and motivations of adult learners. Popularized by educator Malcolm Knowles in the 1970s, the theory of andragogy is based on six assumptions about the adult learner.

  • Adults are more self-directed as opposed to dependent on others to learn.
  • Adults’ experiences provide a rich resource for learning new information.
  • Adults are more ready to learn if the topic is related to their social or professional role (immediate relevancy).
  • Adults are more problem than subject centered, preferring to learn information that is readily applicable to their lives.
  • Adults are internally motivated.
  • Adults need to know why they need to learn something (related to relevancy of information).

August 2019: Learning Management System
A learning management system is software that allows educators to organize and manage educational courses or training programs. Managing courses in a learning management system, or LMS, involves creating, changing, assigning, grading, and other administrative activities.

MCW currently has three learning management systems in place. Desire2Learn, or D2L, houses non-degree granting programs, such as graduate medical education and advanced practice provider programs. Brightspace, the updated interface for Desire2Learn, is used for degree granting programs, such as courses in the medical and pharmacy schools. PeopleFluent is used by Human Resources to manage personnel training and tracking.

May 2019: Flipped Classroom
A flipped classroom is one in which traditional lecture materials and content have been shifted outside of the classroom to reserve in-class time for content application activities (Australian Council for Private Education and Training, 2016).

In flipped classroom design, students complete pre-work (e.g., reading book chapters or articles, watching videos, listening to podcasts) and report to class prepared to discuss and work with the content. Application activities often involve small group work, in which students interact with one another and the material to foster deeper learning.

April 2019: Active Learning
Active learning refers to a broad range of educational approaches that seek to engage the learners in the educational process rather than have them serve in a passive role. In other words, active learning requires learners to interact with the material in meaningful ways. Such approaches often include students working together during class time but may also include activities such as individual work or personal reflection.

Unlike in a “traditional” setting, active learning requires students to do more than take notes and ask or respond to facilitator questions. However, incorporating active learning does not require the facilitator to abandon a lecture format completely. In fact, mixing in short active learning activities within a lecture can make that format more effective overall, allowing students the opportunity to check their understanding of a concept and seek clarification during the learning session.

March 2019: Standardized Patient
A Standardized Patient (SP) is a person trained to portray a patient in realistic and repeatable ways to simulate a specific medical condition or disease.

  • SPs provide feedback on a learner’s performance from the perspective of the person they portray, related to interviewing skills and physical examinations. Learners also receive feedback on their ability to communicate empathically with patients.
  • SPs allow a learner to practice taking a complete and focused history of a patient, as well as practice physical exam techniques.
  • SPs continue to be a resource for practicing ultrasounds.
  • SPs not only assist with teaching, they also provide opportunities for assessing a learner’s performance.

February 2019: Simulation-Based Medical Education (SBME)
Simulation-based medical education (SBME) bridges classroom learning and real-life clinical experiences.

SBME is a powerful standardized, objective and measurable teaching method used to instruct and test all levels of learners from any healthcare discipline to increase their competency as healthcare providers.

Different modalities of simulation are used, depending on the learning objective:

  • Standardized Patients (SP) – Primarily used to train/test patient-provider communication skills. “SP’s” are also used to practice physical assessment, and as models for procedures such as ultrasound.
  • Procedural Task Trainers – Allow trainees hands-on practice. An extensive range of skills, from simple IV placement to central line placement and intubation, are taught with trainers.
  • Hi-Fidelity Simulators – Full-body manikins that mimic, at a very high level, human body functions. Used for immersive simulation experiences that provide a high level of interactivity and realism for the learner.
  • Hybrid Simulation – Combining two or more simulation modalities to maximize effectiveness of a training session. (e.g. displaying simulated “sick” patient vital signs for otherwise healthy SPs patients to heighten realism).

Customized learning experience – SBME accommodates a wide range of learners from novices to experts, and an array of skills including knowledge-in-action, procedures, decision-making, and effective communication.

Patient and student safety – The simulated environment allows learners freedom to make mistakes without patient harm. By seeing the outcome of their mistakes and then debriefing, learners gain powerful insight and the opportunity to practice to “get it right”.

The STAR Center’s Simulation Professionals and State-of the-art Simulation Lab – STAR Center staff put their years of experience to work helping faculty develop SBME solutions to meet the educational objectives for their learners. Whether that solution means a fully-immersive Hi-Fidelity scenario in our Simulation lab or a simple learning activity that utilizes simulation, the STAR Center and staff are here to help you.

January 2019: Self-Directed Learning
Self-directed learning, or SDL, is defined by the following components (LCME Standard 6.3):

  • Self-assess own learning needs
  • Identify, analyze, and synthesize relevant information independently
  • Appraise credibility of information
  • Share information with peers and supervisors
  • Receive feedback on their information-seeking skills
2018 Briefs

December 2018: Interprofessional Education (IPE)
Interprofessional Education (IPE) prepares MCW students to function professionally in the team environment, with emphasis on the following competencies:

  • Communication
  • Values and Ethics
  • Teams and Teamwork
  • Roles and Responsibilities

The goal of interprofessional programming is to foster a respect and appreciation for all future members of the healthcare team. IPE is founded on the principle that learning about, from, and with other professionals throughout one’s education contributes to an ability to operate more sufficiently on a healthcare team.

If you are interested in Interprofessional Education, OEI has an Interprofessional Education Coordinator to help! The IPE Coordinator collaborates with faculty to design and implement programming aligned with the goals of IPE. The coordinator will provide support through all stages of program development, including recruitment and communication with partner programs and students, and is an excellent resource to ensure that integrating IPE into your courses does not become overwhelming.

October 2018: Instructional Design
Instructional design is the strategic process of creating and improving instructional experiences. Using learning theory and educational research, instructional designers try to analyze learning needs within all MCW schools and set out to ensure that the needs can be both met and assessed. We are goal-driven and care about the responsibilities of the faculty and needs of all learners here.

Instructional design services can often be the conduit or bridge between faculty ideas and implementation. If an educator has an idea, whether it’s abstract, or a slight improvement, or maybe just the start of a concept, we pride ourselves on being able to hear them out and help them establish definable outcomes. We work closely with teams like educational technology, the library, faculty development, and the exam team to ensure that we’re aware of all possibilities that may be useful for the educational mission at MCW. While we’re often behind the scenes, we will meet with educators and students anywhere to ensure that projects meet deadlines and have an extra layer of quality assurance.