FAQ – Resources:

  1. Can you tell me a bit about your resources – how do you find them and from where do they come?
  2. We find our resources by sifting through laypress and medical literature content. We seek resources that (1) our learners are likely to read and (2) are likely to stimulate reflection among our learners. Recognizing that different learners have different learning styles, we endeavor to offer written, audio, and video resources for each topic. Our resources come from webpages that are freely available to anyone searching on the internet.

  3. When using resources for a course, how many resources do you usually use for a given topic?
  4. Our experience is that when we post more than 5 resources, our learners become overwhelmed and do not use any of them. We target 3-5 resources per session and endeavor to include one written, one audio, and one video selection. Often, we include one resource that is selected by our students. That said, you may find that using more resources better meets your needs. The beauty of the site is that you can decide how many to select.

  5. Should I make the resources mandatory?
  6. Great question! This depends on your learners and whether the entirety of the reflective practice session is based on the resources, or if they are supplemental to students’ patient experiences and/or panel sessions. In our curriculum, they are supplemental and we have elected not to make them mandatory. Even with this approach, use of the resources is robust. In a typical session of Reflective Practice with 170 students, we see over 300 visits to the website.

FAQ – Teacher Tools:

  1. Microblog
    1. I’m interested in your use of the TodaysMeet® microblog in the large classroom setting. How does this impact question-asking?
    2. Great question! Focus groups taught us that there was a portion of our students who were intimidated by the idea of asking questions in a large classroom setting. These same students commented that the use of an anonymous electronic medium might overcome this barrier. Subsequent use of the microblog demonstrated a far greater impact on question-asking than we had anticipated. The average number of questions during our 1.5 hour sessions increased from 4 to 32 and we also saw an increase in the diversity of those questions. In addition, the ability to use an anonymous medium made our students them far more likely to ask questions (12% vs. 77%).

    3. How did you deal with so many questions?
    4. Questions not asked in the classroom are emailed to our panelists after the session. They then answer these questions in writing and the questions and answers are sent to the students via e-mail. In addition, we use the questions asked to give us insight into the themes and topics that we need to cover better in subsequent sessions.

    5. Do you track the discussion on the microblog during your sessions?
    6. When we first started using the medium, a faculty member in the classroom tracked the discussion and forwarded questions to the moderator for the panelists. While this may seem efficient, we quickly learned that having a faculty member ask questions robbed students of their voices and impeded students’ question-asking. Since then, students are informed that they can feel free to ask questions they have seen on the microblog or any other questions they have.

    7. Does use of a microblog in the classroom cause students to be distracted?
    8. When we first considered the use of a microblog, we wondered this, too and surveyed our students. 75% of students surveyed reported that use of the microblog kept them more engaged than before. In addition, faculty who sat in the back of the classroom noted that nearly all of the laptops which were open were either on the microblog or on a word processing program for taking notes, whereas in previous sessions, many were engaged in non-task oriented activity.

    9. Are students obligated to use the microblog?
    10. Absolutely not. This is the biggest benefit of the medium – it allows each learner to use it or not, as meets their needs.