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Evolution of a Course: FPP-MSS

Directing a course is an act of continual review and revision. Dr. Teresa Patitucci, co-director for the second-year medical school course Foundations of Pathological Processes – Musculoskeletal/Skin (FPP-MSS), has embraced her role as an opportunity to engage in continual quality improvement efforts. This year brought some significant changes to FPP-MSS which we think will be of interest to our readers. Patitucci’s first step in preparing the course for this academic year was to identify topic themes for the content and bring her teaching faculty together in thematic groups. She posed questions to each group, such as, “What are you teaching?” “What comes before and after your session(s)?” and “What is the goal for your session?” In addressing these questions, faculty had a better understanding of where their content falls in the overall curriculum and how they were working toward common course goals.

Next, she created a six-minute introduction video for faculty to establish her expectations for the year. She introduced them to tools and features that could facilitate their teaching and assessment efforts, such as TopHat Pages and different examination question structures. Faculty were encouraged to make use of the various tools available at MCW and develop new examination questions based on their revised content. Dr. Patitucci also worked to translate the existing Virtual Microscope activity to an interactive exercise using Storyline software. This change made it easier and more concise for the students to navigate. In addition, she worked with Drs. Jayshil (Jay) Patel and Paul Bergl to create an illness script session for the course to help develop the students’ clinical reasoning skills. This was an interactive session in which students were divided into small groups and paired with clinician facilitators. For their assignment, the students each wrote up a prototypical patient description, discussed it with their small group facilitator, and then submitted their revised work for grading.

In making changes to various aspects of the FPP-MSS course, Dr. Patitucci has worked to create a high quality, meaningful educational experience for her students. We applaud Dr. Patitucci for her efforts and look forward to working with her in the future.