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Steve Williams M.D.

OST576: Integumentary System
Honorable Mention - Blended
“Problem-Based Social Learning”
- Steve Williams M.D. -

Social Responsibility and Open Learning

In OST 576, students learn to diagnose common skin conditions by utilizing a flipped model in which preparation for class takes place elsewhere, while class sessions are focused on application. The course is organized the way physicians actually practice, based on evidence-based diagnosis. iClicker questions of increasing difficulty are presented at the beginning and the end of class.

After completing their iClicker quizzes, student teams must be prepared to answer questions in front of the class. Each team member takes responsibility for one to three questions, answering and defending in their own words while 300 colleagues on three different campuses look on, connected to the physical classroom via a Polycom system. The course has no lectures, as each meeting is designed as a discussion laboratory. This design places emphasis on preparation for interactive, in class learning and results in near perfect attendance for all three locations.

In this course, technology facilitates learning by opening vast resources to students to engage with outside of the classroom, and giving them a means to share their knowledge with attendees of each discussion lab. Further, Polycom systems allow for students to feel connected, even at a distance.

Evidence of Effectiveness

The course generally receives high marks from students, and the vast majority of students (an average of 98%) pass, receiving grades of 80% or higher. Many courses have difficulty in obtaining student evaluations. All evaluations in this course are voluntary. In 2014, 46% of the students enrolled in the course provided evaluations. In 2012, 82% did. With the 2014 evaluations in hand, the 2015 course has already been strengthened while retaining the same fundamental format.

Technologies included in this course:


John McDaniel, M.A., Indispensable Co-Conspirator

Greg Piro, D.O., Dermatologist faculty

Joseph Vorro, Ph.D. Anatomy faculty

John Thornburg, D.O., Ph.D. Pharmacology faculty

Mary Hughes, D.O., Emergency Medicine faculty

Robert Stephenson, Ph.D., Physiology faculty

Frances Kennedy, DVM, M.S., Histology faculty

Cheryl Luick, M.S., Curriculum Assistant