Integrated teaching in medical school instruction has become a much favoured and desired method of education
practice, and variety in curricula has become a topic of much discussion, as well as the practice of including stimulating,
student-centered projects in lectures and labs, which is now common place. These changes appear to help students in their
study routines and learning outcomes.
There has been success at this medical school with the construction of a team-based learning (TBL) program termed
Clinical Applications, which is part of the Introduction to Clinical medicine course. Because of this success, it was decided
to include three TBL sessions in the histology and cell biology course, our hypothesis being that these additions
would invigorate students, give them a head start for their clinical studies, encourage fruitful interactions, while developing
Students formed small groups in the histology and cell biology course and microscopically examined designated slides
from their issued collections. These slides were compared to a ‘case’ slide and that each group discussed their findings
with the aid of their syllabus, lecture material and atlas.
Evaluations of TBL sessions were mixed, but positive feedback was much more apparent than negative input, with group
size and slides issued being the main concerns. Feedback was from answers on end of course evaluations, and it was of interest
to note that students who did attend lectures and labs on a regular basis were better able to decipher the ‘case’ slides,
while often helping other, less prepared students, so some students benefited from the insights by regular attendees, while
others were refocused via the macroscopic changes.
Evaluation comments noted that sessions were beneficial due to their integrative structure, the increased peer-peer interactions,
overall attitude improvements, leadership development and having a ‘real-life’ exercise, revealing this course innovation
as something to be developed.