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Faculty Development Online: An Observation and Feedback Module


Section Editor(s): Anderson, M. Brownell


Association of American Medical Colleges


Inquiries: Regina Janicik, MD, New York University School of Medicine, Division of Primary Care, Department of Medicine, Old Bellevue D-401, New York, NY 10016.

    Objective: It is challenging to do large-scale faculty development. Faculty are busy, and effective development of new teaching skills takes time, practice, reflection, feedback, and real world application. In order to enhance the ability of a large group of faculty to make accurate observations of clinical skills and give effective feedback, we designed an interactive Web-based faculty development module. Using this strategy faculty learn new skills and concepts on their own time and at their own pace.

    Description: This module was created to prepare physician patient and society (PPS) faculty to give feedback to students on their performances during small-group exercises. The PPS course, among other topics, introduces basic communication skills to first-year medical student groups using role-play and interviews with standardized patients (SPs). The 45-minute module starts by asking faculty to watch a ten-minute digital videotape of a first-year student interviewing a SP. At the same time faculty assess the student using an on-screen checklist of communication behaviors, and enter text summarizing their observations. Upon submitting their checklists, faculty view a screen comparing their answers with those of several expert faculty. Next, participants complete a brief survey assessing their abilities to give effective feedback based on their knowledge, confidence, and attitudes. The feedback process is then presented in four segments: orientation, conducting self-assessment, giving feedback, and closing. Participants read brief text outlining the tasks and recommended strategies for each segment. They can then review their own checklist entries and are asked to type in what they would say to the student on the previous video. After submitting their responses, they view a digital video clip of the same first-year student receiving feedback from an expert faculty member as an example. At the end the participants are re-surveyed and asked to comment on the educational value of the module.

    Discussion: After piloting we found that faculty found completing this module feasible and acceptable, although because of the digital video, access to a high speed Internet connection is preferred. Even with fast connections, video clips need to be limited to six minutes to avoid lengthy downloads. We learned that a successful collaboration between clinician educators and an academic computing department can be creative and exciting but requires clear communication and motivated, involved leaders from both educational and technical groups. In the coming year, we will ask a large group of clinical-skills educators to complete this module and will have data to assess both the impact of this type of faculty development and the programmatic feedback to improve the effectiveness of this technology. This activity has the potential to improve teaching throughout the medical school by ensuring that all faculty can give effective feedback based on direct observations of clinical behavior. This method expands the options for faculty development, augments current approaches, and gives busy clinician educators flexible alternatives.

    Section Description

    In Progress: Reports of new approaches in medical education

    Peer-reviewed Collection of Reports on Innovative Approaches to Medical Education

    © 2002 Association of American Medical Colleges