The Medical Course Directorate (MCD) oversees the development and implementation of the medical course at Flinders University.
This team manage the day-to-day and future operations and goals of the medical course. Our people also contribute research outcomes that inform decision making that aims to ensure that the Flinders MD remains one of the best and innovative medical programs in the world.
The MCD is structured along education portfolio lines, with leads of each main educational area.
The curriculum development portfolio employs evidence-based research to inform and improve course content and outcomes.
Our aim is to ensure that the Flinders MD provides the most advanced and relevant training to prepare and inspire future doctors as they enter the challenging and changing world of medicine.
We ensure that Flinders’ medical curriculum reflects best practice, aligns to the Australian Medical Council’s graduate learning outcomes, and evolves in accordance with advancements in the fields of medicine and medical education.
Online Curriculum Framework
In collaboration with the Learning Technologies Unit (LTU) and the University’s Centre for Innovation in Learning and Teaching (CILT), we are responsible for development of the MD Online Curriculum Framework (OCF).
The OCF is an online course-level tool providing content repository, content management, curriculum mapping, and searching capabilities.
This centralised course-management system provides guidance for student self-learning of course and topic learning outcomes; enables teachers to locate and provide their teaching in relation to the whole; supports local contextualisation of course components; and provides information for continuous quality improvement of the curriculum.
The OCF links seamlessly to the Flinders Learning Online system, providing the backbone of medical curriculum delivery. Other courses are now using the system to build their own online curriculum frameworks.
The assessment portfolio leads and facilitates change in all four years of the medical program using the best available evidence to challenge traditional assessment practices in medical education and support quality assessment.
Current key projects include:
Year 1: Introduction of Programmatic Assessment for Learning (PAL) incorporating Learning coach role and portfolio development.
Year 2: Realignment of assessment towards longitudinal and ongoing assessment in preparation for PAL in year 2 in 2018.
Year 3: Development of GAP (Global Assessment of Progress) assessments which align with longitudinal clinical learning program and assessment for learning approaches.
Year 4: Development of revised clinical assessment program which aligns with the longitudinal learning program and support assessment for learning approaches.
Ongoing development of the Centralised Assessment Data Management System (CADMS) which supports PAL. CADMS was developed in partnership with the Learning Technologies Unit (LTU) and the University’s Centre for Innovation in Learning and Teaching (CILT). CADMS aligns with the Online Curriculum Framework (OCF) and serves as a repository for student assessment results. These results are collated to provide longitudinal information on student progression against learning outcomes and supports PAL.
Progress Testing: Introduction of Progress Testing in years 1-3 in 2017 and subsequently across all years of the medical program in 2018. Program wide item writing strategy to ensure quality and sustainability of progress test.
These projects will extend to all years of the medical program to embed the following core educational principles:
To align assessment with longitudinal and integrated curriculum across all years of the medical course (Programmatic assessment)
To provide students with extensive feedback and support to learn from feedback (Assessment for learning)
To explicitly develop student capabilities for self-regulated learning (Sustainable learning)
These principles will ensure Flinders medical graduates are competent medical professionals equipped to continue learning throughout their life and careers.
Iris Lindemann is the academic lead of the assessment portfolio and projects.
Dr Johanna Jordaan is the Learning Coach Coordinator.
Dr Leesa Walker is the Clinical Progress Test Coordinator.
Ms Linnea Boileau is the Assessment Project Officer coordinating the development of CADMS and item writing.
Ms Heather Soutar is the Assessment Project Officer supporting Progress Testing.
In addition, each project involves a team of academic, clinical and professional staff from relevant parts of the medical course and the Flinders Medical Centre.
The Assessment Standing Committee provides oversight, advice and review of projects planned and undertaken within the assessment portfolio and reports to the Medical Course Executive on assessment matters.
Programmatic Assessment for Learning has been successfully trialed (2016) and now was introduced into year 1 of the medical program (2017)
CADMS successfully implemented for year 1 in 2017
Progress Testing has been successfully trialed (2015) and has now been introduced as the primary knowledge test in years 1-3 (2017)
In 2017 assessments were revised in years 2 and 3 to align better with assessment for learning approaches.
PAL and CADMS will be introduced into year 2
Progress testing will include year 4 students.
A revised assessment program will commence in year 4
For further information on any of the assessment activities, contact Iris Lindemann.
Teaching and Learning
The Teaching and Learning Portfolio looks over the horizon of medical education to what is required now and in the future, and leads change and implementation of new teaching methods
Evidence shows that students learn best through active learning in socially connected environments.
With information being far more readily accessible than in the past, these projects are designed to develop learning opportunities for students that are matched to the local and emerging global environment.
Current projects include:
Conversion of Year’s 1 and 2 to Team-Based Learning (TBL).
Introduction of a longitudinal academic program using a flipped model of learning into Year 3.
Design and implementation of a flexible learning program for students undertaking diverse placements in Year 4.
2017 is a transition year to TBL with full implementation across Knowledge of Health and Illness in 2018.
The Year 3 academic program has been successfully rolled out in 2017. 2018 will be opportunity to refine each session’s design.
Planning has commenced for Year 4 in 2018 with the design and building of online learning activities underway.
Evaluation and research are ongoing for all projects.
The Evaluation Portfolio leads a systematic and coordinated approach to program evaluation and monitoring in the Flinders MD, and incorporates:
Data collection, storage and analysis for evaluation and monitoring purposes;
Advice and support for specific evaluation requirements in the MD; and
Linking internally with University departments involved in data collection and evaluation / monitoring including Planning Services.
Evaluation asks and answers questions about the quality, value, effectiveness and/or importance of what we do. In the Flinders MD, this might relate to specific areas such as course design and delivery, curriculum and teaching, student experience, and student and graduate outcomes.
Evaluation helps us to:
Understand effectiveness in the medical course and the impact of changes or new ways of working (e.g. new teaching methodology or course changes)
Monitor the process of implementation over time and track progress
Report on key performance indicators and recognise performance.
Most importantly, evaluation assists us to make good decisions in the medical course based on evidence and feedback. A key part of this is incorporating student feedback into decision making processes.
The 2017 MD Student Experience Survey was launched to systematically evaluate and improve the student experience in medicine at Flinders. The survey was relevant to MD students in all year levels and all SA and NT sites and was focussed on key aspects of the student experience specific to medicine. The survey was based on a similar instrument used by the UNSW medical program and will assist us at Flinders to better incorporate systematic data and feedback from students into course decision making. A summary of results is expected to be available mid 2017.
Other recent evaluation work includes:
Monitoring changes in Year 3 of the MD program related to placement models, assessment changes and the new academic teaching program (LAP).
Collecting feedback from students and Learning Coaches as PAL is implemented in Year 1 in 2017.
Evaluating the 2016 pilot of team based learning (TBL).
Advanced Studies is a research and scholarship theme integrated within the Health Professions and Society (HPS) theme across all four years of the medical course.
It provides an opportunity for MD students to undertake supervised research activities or postgraduate coursework.
The research opportunities are in collaboration with clinical, academic and research staff across sites within and outside of the University and disciplines broadly related to medicine.
The coursework opportunity allows a student to expand their knowledge and experience in a selected range of postgraduate topics covering areas such as public health, health administration and rural and remote health.
Professor Forsyth is the Director of the Medical Program for Flinders University and Associate Dean in the Medical School.
This role oversees the medical program and chairs the Medical Course Executive, the peak policy and strategy-setting committee of the medical course. The role also chairs the MCD and the year coordinators of the medical course.