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Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry

Intercalated BSc in Medical Education

This BSc in Medical Education was the first of its kind in the UK, and aims to prepare graduates to become tomorrow’s medical educators – not only skilled and reflective teachers, but also those who will become more deeply involved with medical schools, their courses and their curricula.

The rationale for the programme emanates from the need to equip medical students with knowledge of educational principles, and teaching skills. This emphasis is reflected in the policy documents and medical curricula. For instance, teaching is increasingly highlighted as an essential professional role for doctors by both the General Medical Council and the British Medical Association.

We aim to help you understand the theories behind teaching and learning, where education finds itself in society, and for you to develop practical skills in teaching. Our experience is that through the course, graduates become much more confident teachers and learners with an expertise that they did not have before.

To a certain extent you may already be very knowledgeable about education, through the wealth of learning experiences you have already undertaken in both formal and informal settings. Most students will also have taken part in teaching, either here in the medical school, or elsewhere.

During the year you will meet some experts in education, some from Barts and The London, and others from elsewhere. We are fortunate that they come and give us the benefits of their expertise and wisdom. 

Summary of course units

(Please note that all modules may be subject to change)

ME1. Fundamentals of Education

Module Lead: Jonathan Fuller

The literature on higher education in general, and medical education specifically, is large and can be confusing; it encompasses different scientific approaches, different philosophical views, and different research methods. Educationalists may be psychologists, sociologists, teachers, doctors, basic scientists and so on. This leads to a body of knowledge which approaches medical education from many different perspectives. This block will give you the knowledge and skills required for you to navigate through this world effectively and efficiently, making sense of any conflicts that you find.

This block has three main aims – firstly, it will provide you with a clear overview of the different frameworks with which to analyse issues within medical education, including perspectives from cognitive psychology, sociology, educational philosophy – this will provide you with a road-map for the rest of the year. Secondly, it will provide you with a head start on developing and honing your teaching skills and finally it will provide you with the skills necessary to read, analyse, and synthesise the educational literature, and to construct your own scholarly papers.

ME2.Theory behind teaching and learning

Module Lead: Esther Murray 

How do we learn? In which contexts do students best learn and why? How does the transition from student to doctor occur? Medical education is underpinned by a large body of research evidence, ranging from understanding the structure and function of memory, through understanding the various internal and external factors that can affect learning, and how medical professionalism develops.

You will leave this block with a clear understanding of major educational theory derived from both sociocultural and psychological backgrounds, and how it can be applied to promote successful learning.

ME3. Teaching Methods, Teaching Skills

Module Leads: Jonathan Fuller

What is the best approach to teaching clinical skills? How can you improve your lecturing? How about facilitating small group learning or role-play? What about e-learning?

During this block you will develop the knowledge and skills to deliver a range of different teaching sessions, and to choose the most appropriate method for a given topic and situation. You will develop the tools necessary to continue to develop your effectiveness as a teacher, and to help others develop.

ME4. Assessment, Evaluation, Quality & Curriculum

Module Lead: Nimesh Patel

How can teaching, or even a whole curriculum, be judged to be of an appropriate quality? What are the known pitfalls and biases in student evaluations? How can student learning be assessed, and what choices are there to make when choosing assessment methods?

This block covers assessment, evaluation and concepts of quality assurance, and curriculum analysis. It will enable you to choose and design appropriate assessment tools, to fairly evaluate your own and other's teaching, and to conduct a formal curriculum analysis.

ME5. Issues and Methods in Educational Research & the Research project

Module Leads: Celia Woolf, Sam Miles

This block introduces students to important issues in educational research, such as ethical approaches, surfacing the unspoken assumptions that may shape the design of a research project, the strengths and weaknesses of different approaches to research, and the extent to which findings from educational research can be generalised beyond the place(s) where it was conducted. The block encompasses several research traditions, including qualitative studies, quantitative studies and practitioner research. Practical workshops will introduce students to contrasting ways of collecting data, analysing data and communicating your findings.

The individual research project allows you to practise what you have learnt in the other BSc blocks and to experience the management of a small study form beginning to end. Staff provide suggested project titles and also work with students’ own suggestions. Each student project is allocated one or two supervisors, depending on the requirements of the project. Sometimes two or three students work on different aspects of the same research topic. Each must submit an independent project report.

Examples of research undertaken include:

  • comparisons of teaching methods
  • investigation of students study skills
  • investigation of effects of anatomy teaching
  • investigation of student attitudes
  • feedback from OSCEs.

Students are encouraged to submit an abstract of their project for a poster presentation at an international medical education conference (the abstract will be co-authored with the project supervisor). Most abstracts are accepted and students benefit from the experience of presenting their work to an international audience.

Examples of projects from 2020/21:

  • Analysis of teaching of healthcare for homeless people in the curriculum of one London Medical School: A document analysis and an online questionnaire survey.
  • How can clinical supervisors affect the workplace learning environment for medical students to minimise the effects of hierarchy on learning?
  • Analysis of the impact of COVID-19 on third-year medical student's perceptions of and engagement with online delivery of the communication skills curriculum.
  • What challenges are presented to dyslexic medical students by the current approach to PBL at QMUL, and what can be done to remove any barriers to their learning?

Alumni testimonials

"Thank you so much for this email but most importantly the whole year! 
I really have enjoyed this year and comparing my year to other friends who intercalated, I can 100% say my year was so much better than the rest!! I am very proud of what the cohort and I have achieved. I will most definitely look back on this year as potentially my favourite of medical school!"

"I really enjoyed the course this year and it has solidified my interest in a career in MedEd, I definitely can see myself teaching in the future! Thank you for all the wonderful opportunities and contacts we have been able to make this year also."

"Thank you so much to you and the rest of the Med Ed staff for all the support and guidance this year. I've really enjoyed everyone's teaching, been inspired and gained so many valuable learning experiences!"

Further information

For more information, please contact the course leader, Dr Esther Murray
Institute of Health Science Education
Centre for Medical Education
Old Medical College Building
Turner Street
E1 2AD

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