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Student and Faculty Perspectives on the Use of Lectures in the Medical School Curriculum

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Delivering educational content through lectures has been a mainstay for medical education; however, discussions about the use of lectures in medical education still remain. Through efforts at our institution, we sought to better understand student and faculty expectations for using lectures in the pre-clinical curriculum and use this information to help shape a renewed curriculum. We surveyed students and faculty members who participated in our pre-clinical curriculum regarding their expectations for live lectures. The questionnaire they completed addressed open- and closed-ended questions about the effectiveness of lectures and what, if any, benefits might be gained from attending live lectures. A total of 110 students and 78 faculty members completed the questionnaire. Compared to students, faculty members were significantly more likely to expect that live lectures provide students with critical thinking skills, motivation to learn, and opportunities for interaction with faculty members. Students were significantly more likely to expect that live lectures facilitate social support. Thematic analysis of open-ended responses provided additional considerations about the benefits of lectures. Our results suggest that examining the perspectives of students and faculty about the purpose of lectures may reveal differences in their expectations. Curricular models may benefit from creating an environment where faculty members, in collaboration with students, consider the appropriate uses and limitations of lectures. Our results have been used to inform curriculum development at our institution.

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This study was approved by the University of Iowa’s Institutional Review Board (IRB-01 #201104741). The authors are grateful to Dr. Rick Axelson for the assistance with data analyses and development of the questionnaire. They also wish to thank Mr. Jeff Emrich for overseeing the administration of the questionnaire, as well as Mr. Michael Haugsdal and Dr. Lauris Kaldjian, who inspired and encouraged this work.

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Correspondence to Marc A. Pizzimenti.

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Rysavy, M., Christine, P., Lenoch, S. et al. Student and Faculty Perspectives on the Use of Lectures in the Medical School Curriculum. Med.Sci.Educ. 25, 431–437 (2015).

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