Potted Pathology specimens play an important role in teaching students the macroscopic features of disease. However, maximising the learning opportunity through independent review of the pot alone can be challenging. To address this, a series of interactive online lessons focusing on physical specimens were created at the Integrated Pathology Learning Centre, University of Queensland. The lessons were developed by a team of pathologists, including Dr Mohit Shahi and Dr Archana Sudarsan, working with senior medical students.
For an institution with multiple campuses and affiliated hospitals, the Integrated Pathology Learning Centre is not easily accessible for all students. Inspection of the pots is integral to learning, so the UQ Path Team developed tutorials using Smart Sparrow that motivate students to review the physical specimens, along with highlighting and guiding students through the pathology of the pots. The act of solving questions about the specimen aids clinicopathological correlation.
With the museum housing over a thousand specimens, a couple of essential pots were chosen for each module and lessons were scoped out and then storyboarded in partnership with senior medical students. Specimens were photographed and contributed to the Slice image bank. Lessons were brought to life by students who completed the learning design required within the Smart Sparrow platform. On working on the project, Jamie Brown, one of the senior medical student working on the project says “Working with the Pathology team on a new lesson was a fantastic opportunity. I got to refresh my own knowledge, and build the sort of lesson that I would have found useful”. The final stage of the development of each module, prior to being released to students, was review by pathologists to ensure the accuracy of material and aptness of the lessons to the audience’s level of experience.
To date, students have been involved in developing 11 lessons for the Integrated Pathology Learning Centre. Of these lessons, 10 are in the “Pot of the Week” format, while the final lesson is a revision tutorial.
Example “Pot of the Week” tutorial: Lessons are case-based and highlight features of pathology on the specimens, combined with questions to guide interpretation.
“Pot of the Week” stations have been set up at two clinical sites to enable students to view the pot while completing the online tutorial. Additionally, the lessons are made available through the University’s Learning Management System, Blackboard. This provides access from home or outside the Pathology Learning Centre.
Students value the theory given prior to answering questions about the pots and appreciate the helpful hints. Great effort has been undertaken to give feedback for each question and to include clues in the trap states for incorrect responses, directing students towards the right responses. By far the most common request from students is for more of these great resources and the team are hoping to create at least 6-8 additional tutorials for the coming semester.
“…a brilliant resource, and excellent for learning. Please continue to include them, and include more, if possible.” - Anonymous student
The project team would like to acknowledge the work of Dr Julie Ayre, Pathology Museum Curator, as well as all of the student content creators. They also acknowledge the generous support of donors to the University of Queensland’s Medical Dean’s Emerging Priorities Fund.