Wednesday, February 15, 2012

8 Days into Body and Disease

I said before that I was going to withhold judgement on the all TBL all the time format that we were going to be using for the five month Body and Disease portion of our didactic year, and I still am. Honestly it is still changing/being refined. The downside to being the first group doing anything is that all the kinks have to be worked out. I have no idea how many meetings have occurred between the students and the course directors, the students and the student leadership, the course directors and the administration, and the students and the administration. Then there have been the one on one conversations, the emails, and even the random run-ins in the hallway that turn into a feedback session.

The format started out with an IRA (individual quiz) followed immediately by the TBL groups discussing the questions to reach a group consensus. We got confirmation on the correct answers only after the group answers were submitted. Then there was an instructor guided Q&A session after that, some of which were more lecture-like than others, with a focus on addressing information related to the most commonly missed questions.

As of this morning we have moved to at-home IRAs (we are on the honor system to take the IRAs closed notes/book/online resources), no group quiz, and the class time being used for a clinical application problem (ie: a patient presents with these symptoms and test results so what is the disease, what causes it, what is the treatment, why would you run these tests, etc) in addition to the Q&A session.

The course material is from reading assignments and from previously recorded lectures (the 2010 and 2011 lectures are both available) that can be streamed online. The actual time in class is a lot less but that is balanced out by the time needed to stream lectures. I do like having the at-home IRA available the night before the TBL session since I was able go through the lectures, immediately take the quiz, and feel done for the day. With studying the night before and having the quiz the next day I felt like I had to use the time before class in the morning to go back over the material. Now I can use tomorrow morning to go to the gym *guilt free before heading to path lab.

Pathology lab has been interesting. My instructor is fantastic, he is funny and is good at reasoning through the case histories and questions. And he always has relevant information from actual cases to contribute.

Immunology has been so-so. I have to completely restudy the overview of immune response and inflammation for the test next Monday.

Meanwhile, I don't know if the microbiology lectures have just been really good or if I just really love microbiology... Hard to tell. But I want to say that they have been good overall and that microbiology being my favorite non-pathology subject has just made me more likely to enjoy them.

Oh, and interviews start on Friday for next year's class. It is exciting!

*I have honestly felt like **everything that I have done for the past week that wasn't studying was detracting from studying. But that sort of attitude is how you burn out... so yeah, not good. 

**Including blogging, sorry about that.


  1. Can you just state for us exactly what TBL and IRA mean? It would help to understand the overall picture you're trying to convey in this blog. As I like to call it, "de-acronymize" them, if you will.

    1. TBL = Team based learning
      IRA = Individual readiness assessment, or as parenthetically simplified above, an individual quiz. :)

    2. Sweet. Thanks for the clarification! You gotta love all those big words for something that can be summed up in only four letters. Whenever I see IRA, I always think that's where my money goes.