#IAMSECafe Archives & COVID-19 Resources for Medical Science Educators

IAMSE Cafe Virtual Sessions

3/31/2020 MedEd Mailbag: The Virtual Teacher with Kelly Quesnelle
4/2/2020 Leading by Example: Practicing Self-care in a Time of Crisis with Adi Haramati
4/7/2020 MedEd Mailbag: Being Productive in Your Own Space with Kelly Quesnelle
4/9/2020 How Re-thinking and Re-designing Anatomy Instruction Into the Online Space Can Lead to Better Classroom and Cadaver Lab Learning Experiences with Jon Wisco
4/14/2020 MedEd Mailbag: Free Resources During COVID-19 with Kelly Quesnelle. Resources discussed and shared during this session can be found below.
4/16/2020 Q&A with the IAMSE President with Neil Osheroff
4/23/2020 IAMSECafe Welcomes Medical Science Educator EIC with Peter de Jong
4/30/2020 MedEd Equity During COVID-19 with Heather Christensen
5/7/2020 COVID-19 and the New Medical School with Amber Heck and Michael Lee
5/14/2020 Evolving Anatomical Education during the COVID pandemic: What will this mean for the future of anatomy teaching? with Jon Wisco, Richard Gonzalez and Lane Fortney
5/21/2020 Faculty Development in the COVID-19 Era with Alice Fornari
5/28/2020 IAMSE Ambassadors – Mexico, China, Caribbean with Raul Barroso, Sateesh Arja and Zhimin Jia
6/11/20 Communities of Practice in a Virtual World with James Pickering
6/25/20 The Future of Medical Education Conferences: What SHOULD it look like? with Bonny Dickinson
7/9/20 Partnering with medical students to discover educational solutions for on-line learning with Emily Bird
7/23/20 The Disappearing Pathology Instructor with Amy Lin and Regina Kreisle
8/13/20 IAMSE Ambassadors – Pakistan, Australia, and Finland with Di Eley and Yawar Hyatt Khan
8/27/20 Mentoring to Make a Difference with Katie Huggett – Literature references can be found here.
9/1/20 Networking 102 – Networking Outside the Box with Kelly Quesnelle
9/15/20 Team-Based Learning in the Virtual Environment with Drs. Raihan Jumat, Irene Lee and Peiyan Wong
10/6/20 Technology and Education with Edgar Herrera Bastida
10/20/20 The future of education programs for residents and medical students with Lourdes Lopez
11/3/20 Teaching Race and Medicine: Unlearning what we think we know with Staci Leisman
Links from the conversation during this session can be found here.
11/17/20 Learning During and From a Crisis: The Student-Led Development of an online COVID-19 Curriculum with Abby Schiff and Katie Shaffer
Links from the conversation during this session can be found below.
12/1/20 Resiliency with the IAMSE Cafe hosts.
12/15/20 Unconventional Teaching Methods with Jon Wisco
1/5/21 Best Practices for Mentoring with an Eye and Ear Toward Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice with Heather Christensen
1/19/21 The Basic Sciences and the Medical Humanities: An Integrative Approach with Hedy Wald. Suggested reading and faculty development opportunities discussed during the call.
2/2/21 To teach, or not to teach (to the test), that is the question with Jon Wisco
2/16/21 The paradigm shift implications on courses and curricula as a result of moving to pass/fail USMLE Step 1 with Doug Gould
3/2/21 Conducting and Disseminating Medical Education Scholarship
3/16/21 Career impacts of the COVID Year with Lisa Coplitt
4/6/21 IAMSE 2021 Annual Conference Preview with Mark Hernandez
4/20/21 The New Horizon of (Medical) Education with Cafe Hosts
5/4/21 Outreach Programs with Kelly Quesnelle
5/18/21 Building bridges between health science educators from diverse programs with Jennifer Lamberts, Jayne Reuben and Jonathan Wisco
6/1/21 The State of Medical Educators in Developing Nations with Sylvia Olivares and Smart Mbagwu
7/6/21 Virtual Simulations with Jon Wisco
7/20/21 Incorporating Telehealth Into Basic Science Education with Jon Wisco
8/3/21 Evaluations of Our Teaching with Wendy Lackey
8/17/21 Opportunities for Health Sciences Education in One Health with Margaret McNulty and Rebecca Lufler
9/7/21 Meaningful, Sustainable Transdisciplinary Collaboration: What would it look like? with Atsusi Hirumi
9/21/21 Open Forum to Discuss Basic Science in the Clinical Years with Kelly Quesnelle
10/5/21 Teaching and Incorporating the Health Humanities with Alice Fornari
10/19/21 IAMSE Ambassador Program: Global perspectives on medical and science education with Claudio Cortes and Joseph Grannum

Resources for Educators During COVID-19

Harvard Medical School Medical Student COVID-19 Curriculum
One of the greatest difficulties facing everyone nowadays is a lack of clarity about what is going on and what lies ahead. We students especially feel a need to deepen our knowledge of the situation, as we are often viewed as resources by our friends and family. However, it soon became clear how challenging it was to process the wealth of information coming our way. A team of us at Harvard Medical School set out to quickly collate and synthesize accurate information about the pandemic to share with those who do not have the time or resources to research it themselves.
Additional resources include: Curriculum for Kids, an article written by the team discussing the curriculum and an opportunity to give direct feedback to the developers.

AAMC COVID-19 Resource Hub
The AAMC continues to monitor guidance from federal, state, and local health agencies as it relates to the coronavirus (COVID-19). Find information and updates from AAMC on this emerging global health concern.

Acland Anatomy
Acland’s Video Atlas of Human Anatomy contains nearly 330 videos of real human anatomic specimens in their natural colors.

MedEd Portal Virtual Resources
This collection features peer-reviewed teaching resources that can be used for distance learning, including self-directed modules and learning activities that could be converted to virtual interactions. As always, the resources are free to download and free for adaptation to local settings. The collection will be reviewed and updated regularly.

BlueLink Anatomy
From the University of Michigan Medical School

Aquifer is offering free access to 146 Aquifer signature cases, WISE-MD (Surgery), and WISE-OnCall (Readiness for Practice) through June 30, 2020, to all current Aquifer institutional subscribers in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Kaplan iHuman
With i-Human Patients, students experience safe, repeatable, fully-graded clinical patient encounters on their devices anywhere, anytime.

Online MedEd
The unprecedented COVID‐19 crisis has upended the medical and medical education landscape. Our aim during this difficult and confusing time is to support you with what we do best—concise, high–yield videos to help you get up to speed efficiently and effectively—so you can feel confident with however you’re being called on to adjust.

ScholarRX Bricks
In response to a request for assistance from a partner medical school impacted by COVID-19, ScholarRx has agreed to make its Rx Bricks program available at no cost to M2 students for the remainder of the 2019-20 academic year. This comprehensive, online resource can assist schools implementing contingency plans necessitated by the COVID-19 outbreak.

You can raise the line by training healthcare workers who don’t have experience treating COVID-19. Encourage healthcare workers you know to complete this free CME course on COVID-19 so they’re prepared to fight the virus.

Top quality anatomy videos, all for free.

Harvard Macy
Crowdsourced List of Online Teaching Resources Collated by the Harvard Macy Institute (@HarvardMacy)

Anatomy Connected

Chronicle of Higher Education

Dartmouth SOM Interactive Rad/Anatomy

We understand some of the unique challenges you are facing due to the COVID-19 pandemic and, as a company, are putting together resources to help you keep up with your courses as well as stay up to date with the latest research and evidence-based practices for addressing this new coronavirus.

LWW Health Library

Bates’ Visual Guide

5 Minute Consult
Primary health care is important to everyone, and now more than ever it’s important that you have access to evidence-based diagnostic and treatment content. To help you with caring for all of your patients, we are offering 30-day free access to Use code 5MC30DayAccess73173 to sign up.

Say Hello to Our Featured Member 2019 Annual Meeting Site Host Rick Vari

Our association is a robust and diverse set of educators, researchers, medical professionals, volunteers and academics that come from all walks of life and from around the globe. Each month we choose a member to highlight their academic and professional career and see how they are making the best of their membership in IAMSE. This month’s Featured Member is our 2019 annual meeting site host, IAMSE President Rick Vari.

Rick Vari, PhD
Professor & Senior Dean for Academic Affairs
Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine
Roanoke, Virginia, USA

Why was the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine the right choice for the 2019 IAMSE meeting?
We are the right choice for the meeting this year because we did a fabulous conference several years ago and we were already in the queue for a future IAMSE meeting. We had some scheduling issues with our original site for 2019 and we were able to step in and fill the void. We have a wonderful hotel site (at the Hotel Roanoke), and the people who came from all across North America for the Collaborating Across Borders V: An American-Canadian Dialogue on Interprofessional Healthcare and Practice, in 2015 really enjoyed it. As a relatively new medical school, we are excited about continuing our growing success in medical education; hosting the IAMSE meeting is a real honor for us.

What opportunities will attendees see in Roanoke that they’ve not seen in years past?
Roanoke is a beautiful city to have a conference. We’ve localized the venue, which is a major goal for IAMSE. Attendees and exhibitors will appreciate the layout of the conference site. We are adjacent to the Roanoke Market Square with restaurants, breweries, and shopping featuring local items. There are just lots of opportunities for networking and entertainment. The program is outstanding with presentations and sessions on current and future challenges facing health sciences educators. International abstract submission is up, so more colleagues from other parts of the world may be attending. Increased student participation will be another highlight. This year, IAMSE is also hosting a Taste of Roanoke Street Fair which will replace the annual gala dinner. IAMSE 2019 is going to be a very easy conference to attend. If you can stay for the Grand Extravaganza on Tuesday afternoon it is going to be very special with a hiking trip to a beautiful location on the Blue Ridge Parkway and a visit to the Ballast Point brewery (East Coast operation) for dinner. 

Can you tell me more about this new event?
We are blocking off the Market Square in downtown Roanoke. We will have tastes of local food, beverages, and music. This is a chance to interact in a casual fun setting with lots of local food and a live band! It’s going to be a lot of fun.

What session or speaker are you most looking forward to this year?
I’m looking forward to, of course, the Board of Directors and Committee Chairs meeting.  I’ve enjoyed being president and interacting with the Board and Committee Chairs in this planning session provides IAMSE with a sense of solid direction.  The plenary sessions also look very strong. I’m interested in the Gen Z session (Generation Z: The New Kids on the Block) and How to Use Disruptive Technology to Make Education Better – Not Just Different.

It sounds likes there is much to look forward to this year. Anything else you’d like to share?
The local response from the other medical schools in the area in support of the IAMSE meeting in Roanoke has been very strong.  As a new school, this is a tremendous opportunity for us and the other medical schools in the area to get better acquainted.

To learn more about the 2019 IAMSE Annual Meeting, including the plenary speakers, workshops and networking opportunities, or to register, please

Reserve your spot before March 15 to ensure the Early Bird Discount!

IAMSE at GRIPE 2019 in New Orleans

The IAMSE booth will be exhibiting at the annual winter meeting of the Group for Research in Pathology Education (GRIPE) in New Orleans, LA on January 24-26, 2019. IAMSE Association Manager Julie Hewett will also be delivering a pre-conference workshop titled, “Using Social Media to Disseminate Your Scholarly Work.” If you plan on attending this meeting, don’t miss this session and do not forget to swing by the IAMSE booth and say hello!

Information on the GRIPE Meeting can be found here. We look forward to seeing you there!

Registration for the 23rd Annual IAMSE Meeting is Now Open!

We are pleased to announce that registration for the 23rd Annual Meeting of IAMSE, to be held June 8-11, 2019 in Roanoke, VA, USA, is now open. At this annual meeting of the International Association of Medical Science Educators (IAMSE) faculty, staff and students from around the world who are interested in medical science education join together in faculty development and networking opportunities. Sessions on curriculum development, assessment and simulation are among the common topics available at the annual meetings.

Featured plenary speakers include Don Cleveland, Claudia Krebs, Craig Lenz and Geoff Talmon.

Additional meeting details and registration can be found at

Save the Date for the Winter 2022 Webcast Audio Seminar Series

Join us Thursday, January 6, 13, 20, 27 and February 3, 2022 for the IAMSE Winter 2022 Webcast Audio Seminar Series titled: 

How Science Educators Still Matter:
Leveraging the Basic Sciences for Student Success

Shorting the preclinical curriculum. USMLE Step 1 and COMLEX-USA Level 1 going pass/fail. Heightened emphasis on clinical integration and professionalism within the first two years. Amid these and other changes to preclinical medical education, medical science educators wonder, “How do the basic sciences and the educators who teach them still matter?” The IAMSE 2022 Winter webinar series will explore this question as we examine the evolving and constant roles of basic science educators. By integrating foundational disciplines throughout the medical school experience, basic science educators will continue to play vital roles in the education and development of physicians and other health care providers. 

In the first session, Drs. Nadia Ismail, Munder Zagaar, and David Rowley from Baylor College of Medicine will describe the steps taken to shorten an 18-month preclinical curriculum to 12 months. In session two, Dr. Rachel Wolfson from the University of Chicago will discuss the relevance of research in the medical school curriculum, highlighting results from a recent survey of residency program directors. In session three, Dr. Michelle Daniel from the University of California San Diego will examine vertical integration as she describes innovative strategies and persistent challenges when incorporating diverse basic science topics into the clerkships. Session four will welcome Dr. Michelle Lazarus from the Monash Centre for Scholarship in Health Education (Australia) to demonstrate how basic science teaching practices may augment the development of professional identity among medical students. In the fifth and final session, Dr. David Harris from the University of Central Florida will discuss alternative strategies to assess basic science content in the absence of UMSLE STEP 1 numerical scoring. 

As always, IAMSE Student Members can register for the series for FREE! Email for more information.

Further details about the Winter 2022 series will be coming soon, so keep an eye on your inbox. For more details on our archives of previous seasons, please visit

A Medical Science Educator Article Review From Dr. Steven Crooks

This review was written by Steven Crooks, PhD, MHA, a member of the IAMSE Publications Committee, and was published in March 2021 in Medical Science Educator. The article is titled “Some Learning Theories for Medical Educators” and was written by Hongmei Dong, Jonathan Lio, Renslow Sherer & Ivy Jiang

If you are confused about the connection between learning theory and medical educational practice, I recommend an article recently published in Medical Science Educator titled “Learning Theories for Medical Educators.” To be sure, there is no shortage of articles in the medical education literature on the praxis of learning theory, but this article is different from others in some important ways—ways that helped me to see more clearly the utility of learning theory in my own teaching.

First, the authors discuss several contemporary learning theories with an emphasis on the interrelationships (e.g., similarities, differences) among the theories rather than discussing each theory in isolation. This helped me to see the entire theoretical landscape as a coherent whole rather than as a mass of disparate theories. With this broader perspective, theories I once viewed as conflicting became complementary—useful tools for thinking about specific learning situations from different angles. 

To concretize the idea of multiple theories working together, the authors proffered PBL as an example of an instructional method incorporating multiple theoretical perspectives. They explained that the steps in the PBL method illustrate several learning theories including cognitivism, social and cognitive constructivism, self-directed learning, adult learning, experiential learning, and communities of practice. More importantly, they show how each of these theories function as useful tools for thinking about and understanding the rationale behind the various components of PBL. This helped me to appreciate the complexity of PBL and to understand why PBL research has yielded such conflicting results. Clearly, future PBL research should employ more nuanced designs to isolate specific methods along with their theoretical underpinnings.  

The authors also addressed a more fundamental question that often mystifies practicing educators: “Why do we [need] so many learning theories?” Their answers reinforced in my mind the utility of having multiple theories. I could especially relate to the apt analogy comparing the Indian parable of the blind men and the elephant to our penchant for locking in on a single perspective to explain the entirety of the learning experience.  The author’s helped me to better appreciate the fact that “theories are connected, [and] describe inter-related parts of the complex learning process.” 

Another notable contribution of this article is how the authors referenced descriptions in published articles when illustrating specific applications of a theory to medical education practice. As I read their explanations of theory in actual medical education practice, I was reminded of a statement I read some time ago that “there’s nothing so theoretically interesting as good practice.” I’ve read several articles providing guidance on applying theory to practice, but too often the guidance itself was theoretical, conjectural, and/or vague (e.g., social constructivism suggests that students learn better in groups). In their article, the authors took pains to document published examples of specific instances of applying theory to practice in medical education. This helped me to more clearly invasion how I can transform theory to practice in my own teaching.

Finally, I was impressed by the sheer number of theories addressed in the article. And the authors were careful to avoid outdated theories (e.g., behaviorism) with minimal relevance to the practice of modern medical education. Once again, I highly recommend the article to those interested in some fresh insights into the relationship between theory and medical education practice.

Steven Crooks, PhD, MHA
Professor of Medical Education
Western Michigan University Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine
Member, IAMSE Publications Committee

#IAMSE22 Poster & Oral Abstracts Due December 1, 2021

The International Association of Medical Science Educators (IAMSE) is pleased to announce the call for abstracts for Oral and Poster presentations for the 26th Annual IAMSE Conference to be held at the Hilton Denver City Center in Denver, CO, USA from June 4-7, 2022. The IAMSE meeting offers opportunities for faculty and student development and networking, bringing together medical sciences and medical education across the continuum of healthcare education.

Back in 2022

Virtual Poster & Oral Presentations!

This year IAMSE will offer both in-person and virtual registration options allowing authors the opportunity to choose their method of participation. All accepted poster and oral presentations will be available to both virtual and live attendees.

Please note: The first time you enter the site, you will be required to create a user profile. Even if you did submit in previous years, you need to create a new account. All abstracts for Oral and Poster presentations must be submitted in the format requested through the online abstract submission site.

Students who would like feedback on a draft of their abstract prior to final submission should email it to the Student Professional Development Committee, care of Colleen Croniger at, by November 5, 2021.

Submission deadline is December 1, 2021.

There is no limit on the number of abstracts you may submit, but it is unlikely that more than two presentations per presenter can be accepted due to scheduling complexities. Abstract acceptance notifications will be returned in March 2022. Please contact for any questions about your submission.

We hope to see you in Denver next year!

IAMSE Fall 2021 Session 5 Highlights

[The following notes were generated by Andrea Belovich, PhD.]

The fifth and final session in the Fall 2021 IAMSE Web Seminar Series, “Back to the Future: Maximizing Student Learning and Wellbeing in the Virtual Age,” was presented on September 30th, 2021 by a panel of educators and students. The presentation, “How COVID-19 Transformed Online Teaching and Learning: Or did it?” was co-presented by Dr. Jonathan Wisco, Associate Professor of Anatomy and Neurobiology at Boston University School of Medicine, Dr. Olivia Coiado, Teaching Associate Professor of the Department of Biomedical and Translational Sciences at the Carle Illinois College of Medicine,  and Dr. Jaya Yodh (Teaching Associate Professor and Medical Education Facilitator) for the Carle Illinois College of Medicine, and Luke Read, a final-year medical student from Norwich Medical School at University of East Anglia. In this webinar, the presenters shared examples of how their respective programs adapted to the online learning environment precipitated by the SARS-Cov-2 pandemic.

Dr. Wisco began the panel presentation by sharing how the Anatomy course at the Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) was adapted from the traditional dissection format of the pre-pandemic world into a blended learning format with a greater online learning component. Importantly, Dr. Wisco’s work showed that student outcomes (as measured by feedback and performance on summative assessments) improved from previous years, indicating that the changes made to the program delivery enhanced student learning beyond the traditional in-person format used previously.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 9-week BUSM Anatomy course involved thrice weekly lectures, a weekly two-hour dissection for each student within a larger group, and continuing dissection/recitation events in the afternoon, with M-IV students acting as teaching assistants and prosectors. Students also relied on the ability to access the anatomy lab to finish dissections and study from their cadaver donors outside of scheduled classes. However, in response to the pandemic, BUSM’s guidelines resulted in a reduction to in-person contact hours for students and eliminated their access to the anatomy lab outside of class. The challenge then faced by Dr. Wisco and his team was how to translate this traditional dissection course to a safe, online learning experience with minimal student-educator contact. Delivery of didactic lectures remained unchanged, but anatomy students now only had two hours each week to study in the anatomy lab.

To meet this challenge, the BUSM anatomy course was changed to a completely prosection-based paradigm combined with several online resources to help students prepare for their two-hour weekly lab session. MS-IV students were mobilized to prosect all cadaver donors and set up study materials, with the afternoon recitations and material reviews delivered virtually using Zoom. To help students prepare for labs, Dr. Wisco utilized flipped learning and created lectures using  images from the Rohen and Yokochi Anatomy Atlas and the Complete Anatomy software from Eslevier. A detailed structure guide created by graduate students in the Boston University Masters of Anatomical Sciences Educator Pathway was provided to the students. During the in-person lab sessions, students were further divided into groups (Pods) that rotated between 6 cadaver donor stations, with 2-3 students receiving instruction from station prosectors at a time. In terms of assessment, the BUSM Anatomy course did not administer practical exams using cadaver donors, but rather utilized images from Complete Anatomy and Rohen & Yokcohi’s Atals to create “hotspot” questions in Examsoft requiring students to click on the area of the image specified by the assessment question. Formative assessments were also used extensively, consisting of in-lab quizzes with first-, second-, and sometimes third-order questions asked by prosectors.

Dr. Wisco next shared data regarding the effectiveness of each of the learning resources provided to students. Data were collected using a Likert-scale questionnaire, a grounded theory thematic analysis of student free-response questions (collected from 80/160 students), and a focus group of 16 students. The results showed that students believe the pre-lab guides were useful, but were used mostly as post-lab review, depending on the instruction received in the lab. Surprising to Dr. Wisco was the high value students placed on the Zoom recitation sessions, stating that the feedback they received during the recitations was imperative to their success in the course. Indeed, students on average scored 10% higher on all exams administered compared to the previous year’s traditional dissection course. With these results in mind, Dr. Wisco stated that the BUSM Anatomy course will incorporate more opportunities for in-person dissection as safety guidelines relax, but will retain the use of  Zoom-mediated lab recitations. Additionally, as BUSM is moving to a systems-based and fully integrated curriculum, the addition of team-based learning (TBL) to the lab will help utilize the best of both worlds.

Dr. Wisco concluded his section of the webinar with major lessons learned by emphasizing the importance of establishing a culture of trust, with clear objectives and expectations, along with activities that help students learn and perform well on exams. He also shared the importance of reassessing how educators assess students, and ensure that assessments are reflective of students’ learning activities. He further shared the observation that faculty are no longer the primary source of information, but the ability of faculty to provide formative and timely feedback to students is more important for student success. Finally, by involving students as partners in the feedback process, curriculum transformation can be better informed.

Dr. Coiado then continued the webinar by discussing her experience during the transition of problem-based learning (PBL) to an online setting in the beginning phases of the SARS-Cov-2 pandemic in March 2020. She began by sharing the rationale and in-person implementation practices of PBL at Carle Illinois College of Medicine (CICM) to provide context for the changes made in response to COVID-19. In contrast to traditional lectures which often separate basic and clinical science with no application of knowledge or immediate feedback for the student, PBL integrates basic and clinical sciences and provides immediate feedback to students. PBL is a student-centered approach, where students learn a subject or topic by solving an open-ended problem (a medical case) as a team. Students benefit from the collaborative approach of PBL through discussion of information with other students and application to a case. Dr. Coiado discussed some of the published benefits of in-person PBL compared to traditional lectures, which include 1) being more enjoyable for students and teachers, 2) having a more stimulating and humane learning environment, 3) self-directed learning skills are enhanced and retained, 4) deeper rather than surface learning is promoted, 5) interaction between students and faculty is more promoted along with interdepartmental collaboration, and 6) a greater emphasis is placed cooperation and teamwork [1].

Prior to the pandemic, in-person PBL at CICM was conducted using groups of 5-10 students working on one medical case together, with each student assigned a unique role in the group (e.g., scribe, information searcher, etc.) and a faculty facilitator present to guide the activity. The groups were assigned their own classroom with a single table, a physical whiteboard, and one computer/projector for the group. As CICM moved their curriculum to an online modality in March 2020, Zoom was used to replace the physical classroom, with the physical whiteboard being replaced by Google Docs, Excel, or Powerpoint. This early-pandemic transition of PBL from in-person to online learning at CICM was documented and published [2], and Dr. Coiado emphasized the highlights of these findings with the webinar audience. She shared that sessions run slower in an online setting than in-person, and often involve greater periods of silence. There is also greater risk for distraction, thought the chat feature of Zoom can be taken advantage of communicate directly with individual students. Accessibility was also increased for students, given the difficulties imposed by COVID-19 such as quarantining and other issues that otherwise would have prevented them from attending. Regarding challenges of conducting PBL using Zoom, Dr. Coiado commented that it was much more difficult for faculty facilitators to observe body language, assess student engagement, and engage the more quiet and reserved students in their groups. Students also felt isolated and experienced loss of community. Dr. Coiado also acknowledged the burnout and feelings of tiredness often experienced in an online setting.

Finally, Dr. Coiado shared important lessons learned through the process of transitioning PBL from in-person to an online format, emphasizing that PBL is still fun for students (through the use of icebreakers and games) and is it still a student centered approach, as demonstrated by the how students’ use of the PBL whiteboard evolved into an organized online excel sheet. In her parting comments to the audience, Dr. Coiado shared that regardless of platform, a good teacher is a good teacher, even though it might take time to adapt and improve to new teaching modalities.

Next, Dr. Yodh expanded upon the themes identified by Dr. Coiado in the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, discussing the online impacts on PBL that have emerged over the past year. Dr. Yodh shared unpublished results from an in-progress study comparing online and in-person PBL at CICM. These data suggest that PBL has been impacted by the online learning environment through changes in computer access by group members, student engagement, and student learning and learning outcomes. Regarding computer access, in-person PBL at CICM previously involved only one student having access to a computer, resulting in only one group member able to conduct searches and gather more information. Other group members were then able to focus on identifying learning issues and applying the information to the case. During online PBL, all student members have computer access, so the role of “searcher” therefore expands to the rest of the group. Although this ubiquitous searching ability seems to benefit individual learning synthesis, it also leads to a more passive learning environment and less team engagement and problem solving. Dr. Yodh’s data also suggests that students may be intimidated by the transition back into in-person PBL if they no longer will have the ability to search for information. However, despite the differences in team-building and team roles, the learning issues students identify for the group to address remain largely the same, regardless of in-person or online platform.

Dr. Yodh then posited that several aspects of PBL will be changed by the online transition, and some changes may be permanent. In addition to allowing for remote and hybrid accommodations for students and facilitators, online platforms allow for guests to easily join groups, which may be useful for facilitator training & evaluation. PBL sequencing may also change, with in-person PBL being conducted mostly during the M1 year to promote team-building, and online PBL conducted during the M2 year to accommodate students’ busier schedules. Dr. Yodh concluded by discussing opportunities for the evolution of online PBL methods, including more socially enhanced learning strategies such as real-time annotation, games, and concept mapping.

Mr. Read then finished the webinar by providing his perspective of the online learning environment as a PBL/small group facilitator, as well as the application of a framework to improve online learning. For context, Mr. Read began by sharing that, since the United Kingdom went in and out of lockdown multiple times, he was able to observe a variety of changes in his PBL groups as they shifted back and forth between online and in-person learning environments. During periods of online learning, Mr. Read noticed greater passive participation and more silent pauses, reduced topic discussion and session length, less creativity and innovation, and decreased conversation during breaks. He also noticed that, initially, all students in the online learning environment kept their cameras off. He hypothesized that these changes were largely influenced by motivational problems, so he consulted the literature to find applicable solutions for his students.

Mr. Read gave a brief overview of his findings from the literature, which included the use of blended learning by adding some in-person sessions to online curriculum [3], increasing faculty involvement and increasing effort to help students engage [2], and modifying online and in-person feedback delivery methods to be timely and active [4]. He also shared that using learning models designed to promote activity and engagement, such as exploratory, dialogical and constructivist models, are going to elicit better participation from students [5]. Finally, he included other strategies that essentially “force” engagement, such as rules regarding mandatory microphone and camera use during learning sessions.

While Mr. Read found these solutions to increase student engagement to be useful, they did not address the underlying issues that were causing reduced engagement in the first place. He then explored conceptual frameworks and motivational theories to help him understand the psychology of his students and why they were struggling to engage [6]. Mr. Read shared that self-determination theory was most applicable to his particular problem, explaining the different types of motivation it encompasses and their relative values for promoting student engagement According to this theory, the ideal motivation for an individual is intrinsic motivation, where one acts out of one’s own internalized values and for the joy or pleasure the activity gives them personally. Extrinsic motivation is less ideal, as the individual depends on external factors such as obtaining a reward or avoiding a punishment in order to act. However, either intrinsic or extrinsic motivation is preferable to amotivation which entails a state of apathy and an unintentional approach and is least desirable for promoting engagement.

Mr. Read continued by sharing the three psychological needs that must be met in order for intrinsic motivation to take hold: autonomy (the perception of being to control one’s actions and thereby, one’s success), competence (the perception that one’s abilities are well-suited to the difficulty level of a task), and relatedness (the need to feel connected to other and a sense of belongingness with the people around them). Using this approach to intentionally support his students’ psychological needs required for intrinsic motivation, Mr. Read utilized well-planned lesson strategies and feedback to promote students’ perceptions of autonomy and competence. However, he stated that promoting relatedness in an online learning environment poses a greater challenge due to the loss of non-verbal cues, greater distractions, reduced interactions between breaks, lack of privacy for conversation, and the impossibility of mandating students to bond with one another.

With this in mind, Mr. Read then revisited the literature strategies for promoting engagement he identified earlier, but this time through the lens of extrinsic and intrinsic motivation. He discovered that solutions like blended learning work because they encourage intrinsic motivation by helping to promote social connectedness and allowing students to feel like they are more in control of their learning. Similarly, strategies that encourage friendly competition and collaboration and/or teamwork between small groups of students promote connectedness. Availability of the educator through timely and frequent feedback helps students feel connected, as well as feeling competent and more in control of their learning. Other elements can promote extrinsic motivation (which is preferred to amotivation), such as greater faculty involvement to call on students to participate and mandatory camera and microphone rules.

To end the webinar, Mr. Read shared an analogy to summarize how online learning relates to in-person learning. If educators consider in-person learning to be a push-bicycle useful for transporting the learner from point A to point B, then online learning is considered to be a motor bike, which is an obvious improvement to the push-bicycle that only needs fuel (effort) to be superior. Instead, Mr. Read shared his insight that online learning is more akin to a skateboard, emphasizing that, while online learning has its benefits and drawbacks compared to in-person learning, it is an altogether different vehicle. While online learning can overcome many barriers to learning, it cannot overcome them all. In particular, while relatedness can be optimized in an online setting, it cannot realistically be maximized. In conclusion, Mr. Read suggested that online learning is a tool that should be used when its benefits outweigh its disadvantages.


  1. Johnson, SM., and Finucane, PM. (2000) The emergence of problem-based learning in medical education. J Eval Clin Pract. 6(281).
  2. Coiado, OC., Yodh, J., Galvez, R. and Ahmad, K. (2020) How COVID-19 transformed problem-based learning at Carle Illinois College of Medicine. Medical Science Education, 30, pp 1353-1354
  3. Vallée, A., Blacher, J., Cariou, A. and Sorbets, E. (2020) Blended Learning Compared to Traditional Learning in Medical Education: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 22(8).
  4. Li, J., Wong, SC., Yang, X. and Bell, A. (2020) Using feedback to promote student participation in online learning programs: evidence from a quasi-experimental study. Education Technology Research and Development, 68, pp 485-510.
  5. Kauffman, H. (2015) A review of predictive factors of student success in and satisfaction with online learning. Research in Learning Technology, 23.
  6. Cook, DA. and Artino, AR. (2016) Motivation to learn: an overview of contemporary theories. Medical Education, 50(10), pp 997-1014.

Say hello to our featured member Elisabeth Schlegel

Elisabeth Schlegel, MS, PhD, MBA, MS (HPPL)

Our association is a robust and diverse set of educators, students, researchers, medical professionals, volunteers and academics that come from all walks of life and from around the globe. Each month we choose a member to highlight their academic and professional career and see how they are making the best of their membership in IAMSE. This month’s Featured Member is Elisabeth Schlegel.

Elisabeth Schlegel, MS, PhD, MBA, MS (HPPL)
Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell
Associate Professor, Science Education; Assistant Director, Faculty Development and Medical Education Research

How long have you been a member of IAMSE? 
I have been a member of IAMSE since 2016.

Looking at your time with the Association, what have you most enjoyed doing? What are you looking forward to? Committee involvement, conference attendance, WAS series, manuals, etc.? 
I have always enjoyed the great opportunities for spirited collaboration with colleagues and students who all share the same interests and passions. This has been a fabulous and productive journey, since we are all working toward the same goal– advancing health professions education through teacher development. This September 2021 also marks one year of service on the IAMSE Student Professional Development Committee, and I hope I will add many years and help many students not only learn the skills but also find their own individual strengths, styles, and voices to become masterful medical educators. I recently joined the IAMSE Fellowship to renew and improve my approach to scholarship adding specialized educational skills such as multimedia education, which became an important mode of education in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, I am excited to help and serve when needed to expand the impact of IAMSE on health sciences education. I look forward to attending the 2022 conference in Denver!

What interesting things are you working on outside the Association right now? Research, presentations, etc. 
My role as Assistant Director, Faculty Development and Medical Education Research, includes developing and executing programs to support faculty in delivering basic science and clinical content across the continuum of undergraduate, graduate, and continuing medical education. This role allows me the privilege of working with renowned experts from our affiliated expansive healthcare system, Northwell Health. I am invested in coaching our expert faculty to include active pedagogy and unlock their potential to use active learning at the medical school. I am also involved in other faculty development initiatives, such as a new video-based faculty onboarding program, or my medical education blog, eBites ( I have a great interest in interdisciplinarity and insights on innovation in education and aim to encourage and assist medical and science educators as well as students as they try new teaching methodologies, develop and deploy educational curricula, and improve sections of already existing programs. 

Looking back at your time during your graduate studies and early career, if you could give your younger self a piece of advice what would it be? 
During my Ph.D. training at the University of Salzburg, Austria, I had two great mentors who enabled me to take on teaching microbiology and biotechnology education to science teacher students and seasoned science teachers at the university as well as at pedagogical institutes. Science teaching for secondary education also included learner team building, project assignments, and student speaker training. These experiences were incredibly formative and showed me the opportunities and challenges in education. I later gained additional knowledge as an assistant professor at a liberal arts university in the U.S., but my methods to organize learners into teams and have them co-teach with me were markedly successful! Thus, my advice to students who are involved in teaching would be to: (1) reach out and share best practices across the university and beyond as early as possible, and (2) include your learners in the educational process. 

Anything else that you would like to add? 

I am very thankful for the pleasure and privilege to be part of such a fantastic, vibrant community! Thank you, IAMSE. 

IAMSE Fall 2021 Session 4 Highlights

[The following notes were generated by Andrea Belovich, PhD.]

The fourth seminar in the Fall 2021 IAMSE Web Seminar Series, “Back to the Future: Maximizing Student Learning and Wellbeing in the Virtual Age,” was presented on September 23rd, 2021 by Dr. Kendra Gagnon, Clinical Professor and Chair of the Department of Physical Therapy at Baylor University. In her presentation, entitled, “Hybrid Healthcare Education – Innovating for the Future and Rethinking Student Support,” Dr. Gagnon showcased examples of recommended practices for promoting collaborative hybrid and online learning as applied in Baylor University’s Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) [1]. As one of the first fully hybrid DPT programs in the United States, Baylor University had implemented many innovative online and distance learning strategies prior to the changes induced by the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. From this perspective, Dr. Gagnon challenged the audience to consider which elements of pre-pandemic teaching and learning should be retained by health professions education programs in a post-pandemic world, and which elements could (or should) be changed as we seek to return to “normal.”

Dr. Gagnon first framed the webinar by acknowledging hybrid education as a quickly evolving method of health care education delivery, and emphasized that student engagement and professional identity formation is possible to achieve in an online environment, though it requires intentionality in order to succeed. For the purpose of her talk, Dr. Gagnon offered working definitions of several terms often encountered when discussing hybrid learning, drawn from both the Babson Survey Research Group and the Commission on Accreditation of Physical Therapy. Dr. Gagnon defined the term “hybrid education” as a delivery method that utilizes both online and face-to-face learning strategies as a way to maximize both learning environments. This is distinct from “online education,” where all instruction occurs online, either synchronously or asynchronously. “Blended learning” refers to the method whereby asynchronous online learning is used to enhance student learning between face-to-face sessions without replacing face-to-face time. Finally, Dr. Gagnon defined “flipped learning” as a type of blended learning in which students receive content online, then use face-to-face time for active learning based on the online content.

Next, Dr. Gagnon discussed the community of inquiry framework [2] the Baylor DPT program uses to deliver hybrid learning. This framework describes the importance of establishing three different types of presence when teaching online. The first is Teaching Presence, which involves structuring learning to help students understand what information they are learning and where they need to go to get that information. This includes activities such as constructing syllabi with objectives and organizing the curriculum into a learning management system (LMS)). Cognitive Presence refers to students’ ability to “create meaning” from the information they are learning, which involves collaboration between learners to build upon previous knowledge and exchange ideas. The third presence is Social Presence, which involves the humanization of learning and is essential for students to feel like they are part of a community of learning.

Dr. Gagnon then gave examples of how the hybrid DPT program at Baylor builds each of these presences in their program. To exemplify how teaching presence is built, she provided an overview of how learning is structured in terms of curriculum organization and delivery. The first year of Baylor’s two-year, accelerated DPT program splits each trimester into two 5-6 week-long minimesters of online learning (which includes both synchronous and asynchronous methods) that are interspaced with 1-2 week-long face-to-face lab sessions on the Waco campus. During the second year, the trimesters allow 31 weeks of face-to-face clinical experience interspersed with in-person labs and online ministers. In this way, the hybrid learning structure is leveraged to help students manage the heavy load of didactic and clinical training that would otherwise require three years to complete.

Dr. Gagnon next shared examples of how the online learning components of the minimesters are structured and delivered. She focused on the standardized use of their LMS (Canvas) to build a stable, familiar learning environment for all online learning. Therefore, the LMS becomes the “classroom,” minimizing students’ cognitive load by removing the need to constantly learn how to navigate different learning environments. Content is delivered both as asynchronous, 10-minute “lecturettes,” and as synchronous live class sessions with software (Zoom) to facilitate breakout rooms, gamification, polling, and embedded quizzes. To further enrich and humanize the online learning environment, video assignments and video discussion boards are used between classes. The use of video assignment platforms (Bongo) allows students to record and demonstrate a learned skill for assessment, while platforms such as Flipgrid allow students to replace text-based discussion boards with personalized video responses.

To help members of the audience think more intentionally about using technology to build teaching presence in online learning, Dr. Gagnon shared the Substitution Augmentation Modification Redefinition (SAMR) framework. Technologies that enhance learning either serve as a direct replacement for in-person learning with no added functionality (substitution), or as a direct replacement with a functional improvement (augmentation). In contrast, technologies that are considered to be transformative also introduce the possibility for significant task redesign (modification), and/or allow the creation of new tasks that were previously impossible (redefinition).

Next, Dr. Gagnon shared an example of how she promoted cognitive presence during the transition of her pediatrics physical therapy lab to an online lab during the COVID-19 pandemic. To support cognitive presence (i.e., students’ construction of knowledge and making of meaning during learning), she used the online platform Padlet, which enabled each lab competency to be visually grouped with its associated materials, activities, and assignments to simulate the “feel” of a lab experience. To further promote collaboration and interaction between students, group video assignments and activities were also implemented to help students create a community of learning. Flipgrid again was used to allow students to upload skills demonstration videos during lockdowns and receive video feedback from faculty on their performance. The group-focused nature of the pediatrics physical therapy lab also supported the development of social presence in online learning by building on online community. To avoid the “divide and conquer” phenomenon that often occurs in group work, students were required to upload “group selfies” or screenshots of the group working together, which supported synchronous collaboration and accountability.

Dr. Gagnon also shared evidence that professional identity formation is possible to achieve through online learning. She shared a student’s reflection video from a Telehealth final exam with a patient family over Zoom. This student’s reflection included commentary about how the activity helped her develop confidence in her skills and in her professional identity as a physical therapist. To further showcase the value of intentionally structuring online learning, Dr. Gagnon shared data showing high levels of student engagement achieved as a result of this approach to asynchronous learning.

During the final segment of the webinar, Dr. Gagnon expanded the idea of creating community online when an entire program is hybrid. As a cohort-based program, community is already an inherent part of the Baylor accelerated DPT program. However, students in this program are located across the country, which makes community building more challenging. To compensate, the DPT program uses orientation videos and group activities (such as creating a map of students’ locations) as well as the formation of academic teams with assigned faculty coaches. Students with diverse abilities are intentionally grouped after taking strengths finder and emotional intelligence assessments and are given resources to promote a culture of reflection. Faculty coaches are also given training and resources to help build a shared understanding of roles and values in the teams. Dr. Gagnon discussed the non-academic and institutional support resources available to help students. These virtual resources and support systems were strengthened during the COVID-19 pandemic, which represented a positive example of change that will, hopefully, persist in a post-pandemic world.

Finally, Dr. Gagnon shared the preliminary outcomes of the Baylor DPT program, which closely matched or exceeded the average outcomes of other accredited DPT programs. This included graduation rate, licensure pass rate, and one-year employment rate. However, the Baylor DPT program has a much higher percentage of minority students, both enrolled and graduated, than the national average. Based on student feedback, Dr. Gagnon suggested that the accessibility of the program helps remove barriers to minority and first-generation students and may promote increased diversity amongst students in the program.

Dr. Gagnon also shared opportunities and challenges of using hybrid education for the healthcare professions. Opportunities include scalability, flexibility, the ability to use time as a resource, the promotion of a diverse student body, and a greater ability to recruit faculty across the country. However, Dr. Gagnon acknowledged that cost is a challenge, either due to the technologies, online program managers, and faculty travel for in-person lab teaching. Student workload and workflow must be appropriately managed, faculty development must be intentionally implemented, and faculty/student issues must be intentionally managed from a distance. Integrating experimental and community-based learning and service can also be a challenge.

To conclude the webinar, Dr. Gagnon provided the audience with a rich variety of resources and references for more information about successful online teaching and learning.


  1. Gagnon, K., Young, B., Bachman, T., Longbottom, T., Severin, R., Walker, M. (2020) “Doctor of Physical Therapy Education in a Hybrid Learning Environment: Reimagining the Possibilities and Navigating a ‘New N’” Physical Therapy, 100(8): 1268-1277.
  2. Garrison, D.R., Anderson, T., and Archer W. (1999). “Critical inquiry in a text‐based environment: computer conferencing in higher education.”Internet and Higher Educ. 2(2-3): 87-105.

Submit Your Manuscript to Medical Science Educator

Medical Science Educator, the peer-reviewed journal of the International Association of Medical Science Educators (IAMSE), publishes scholarly work in the field of health sciences education. The journal publishes six issues per year by Springer Publishing. We welcome contributions in the format of Short Communication, Original Research, Monograph, Commentary, and Innovation. Please visit our website for a more detailed description of these types of articles.

I look forward to receiving your submissions.

Thank you,
Peter G.M. de Jong, PhD

Panel to Present “How COVID-19 Transformed Online Teaching and Learning: Or did it?”

The virtual age of learning is no longer in the future. It is here, and IAMSE wants to equip medical science educators with the tools to successfully teach the next generation of health care professionals. The 2021 IAMSE Fall Webcast Audio Seminar Series wraps up next Thursday, September 30 at 12pm Eastern! This five-part series will explore strategies in making the future of medical and health sciences education as bright as possible. The final session in the series will feature Olivia Coiado from Carle Illinois College of Medicine, Luke Read from the University of East Anglia (UK), Jon Wisco from Boston University and Jaya Yodh from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

How COVID-19 Transformed Online Teaching and Learning: Or did it?

Olivia Coiado, PhD; Luke Read; Jon Wisco, PhD; Jaya Yodh, PhD

September 30, 2021 at 12pm Eastern

This session explores the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the health professional learning space as it transitioned from in-person to online and/or hybrid interactions between teachers and learners. The panel of presenters, representing a diverse set of institutions, disciplines, faculty, and student perspectives, will share their experiences and lessons learned during the past year to inform teaching and learning best practices in PBL, basic science, and clinical instruction. Some of the outcomes may be surprising and will highlight how we’ve evolved as educators and students.

There is still time to register yourself or your institution for the series. Is your institution already registered? Reach out to your administrative

As always, IAMSE Student Members can register for the series for FREE!

Email for more information about student registration.

We Hope to See You Exhibit at #IAMSE22 in Denver, CO, USA!

We are pleased to extend your company an invitation to be an exhibitor at the International Association of Medical Science Educators (IAMSE) Annual Conference to be held on June 4-7, 2022, at the Hilton Denver City Center in Denver, CO, USA!

At the annual IAMSE meeting, faculty, staff, and students from around the world who are interested in medical science education come together in faculty development and networking opportunities. Sessions on curriculum development, assessment and simulation are among the common topics available at the annual meetings.

IAMSE Recent Meeting Facts

For more information on exhibiting, please see our exhibitor brochure for opportunities and pricing or please contact the IAMSE office at or by phone at +1 (304) 522-1270. Sponsorship opportunities are also available.

Thank you for supporting IAMSE and we look forward to seeing you in Denver!

IAMSE Fall 2021 Session 3 Highlights

[The following notes were generated by Michele Haight, PhD.]

Presenters: Andrew Binks PhD, Associate Professor Department of Basic Science Education, Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine
Adam Weinstein MD, Associate Professor Medical Sciences and Pediatrics, Assistant Director Clinical Arts and Sciences, Netter School of Medicine Quinnipiac University

Reminders, Refocusing and Rethinking: Med Ed after COVID

Teaching and learning strategies in pre-clinical medical education underwent significant changes due to the rapid transition to a virtual environment prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The transition from the in-person to virtual learning environment caused anxiety, frustration and social isolation for all persons involved. Because of the rapid transition, both faculty and students were underprepared for the new teaching/learning environment.

Within the new virtual format, increased student autonomy in small group learning environments resulted in positive outcomes:

  • a higher level of student engagement
  • increased intrinsic motivation
  • increased responsibility for learning.

These attributes ultimately contributed to students’ overall successful learning.

Declining attendance at large group lectures provided an opportunity to apply the principles of autonomy to the large group learning environment. Strategies for application included:

  • providing independent time for learning the basics
  • allowing students to test out of certain courses
  • decreasing time in the classroom
  • increasing the overall value of classroom time
  • employing specifications grading.

It is essential to establish a social presence online to enhance social and collaborative learning practices. Interaction with peers promotes exposure to diversity of experience and perspective. It also increases individual accountability and positive interdependence. It is necessary to expand the use of small group methods in the virtual learning space and use these opportunities to develop novel methods of small group learning.

In order to create heterogeneity of views, knowledge and experience, it is necessary to increase the accessibility of medical school through a more holistic acceptance process for applicants.

Clinical preceptorships, clerkships and Sub Is transitioned to small group video-conferencing sessions and asynchronous modules due to the pandemic. These types of sessions were useful, but not optimal, for developing communication skills, clinical reasoning skills and discussion skills. Teaching physical exam skills in the virtual environment proved to be challenging. Many medical students sought out their own service learning opportunities. Fourth year Sub-I challenges brought about positive equity changes in the residency application process.

Clinical learners demonstrated autonomous, self-directed and asynchronous learning approaches. Clinical faculty served in multiple support roles for medical students and also became developers and innovators of alternative clinical teaching approaches.

Clinical bedside learning remains an essential component for medical student training.

Medical students need to train to become clinically proficient in both the virtual and in-person environments.

Telemedicine surged during the pandemic and created a much-needed bridge to direct patient care for medical students. Telemedicine is an excellent platform for teaching observation and inspection skills through deliberate practice and meaningful feedback. Proficiency in using technology does not directly translate into proficiency in conducting a telemedicine visit.

Kendra Gagnon to Present “Hybrid Health Care Education”

The virtual age of learning is no longer in the future. It is here, and IAMSE wants to equip medical science educators with the tools to successfully teach the next generation of health care professionals. The 2021 IAMSE Fall Webcast Audio Seminar Series continues next Thursday, September 23 at 12pm Eastern! This five-part series will explore strategies in making the future of medical and health sciences education as bright as possible. The fourth session in the series will feature Kendra Gagnon from Baylor University.

Hybrid Health Care Education: Rethinking student support and innovating for the future 

Kendra Gagnon, PT, PhD

September 23, 2021 at 12pm Eastern

What is the role of distance learning in health care education? How does online learning impact the development of professional skills? Can new technologies make health care education faster, less expensive, and more accessible to a diverse population of future health professionals, without sacrificing quality and connection? This session will address those questions and more, presenting innovative strategies for humanizing online learning, building community, and providing support for learners in a hybrid health education program. Rooted in current evidence on best practices in online and hybrid teaching and learning, this session will explore challenges and reveal opportunities for leveraging technology to promote diversity, professional development, leadership, and resilience in today’s students.

There is still time to register yourself or your institution for the series. Is your institution already registered? Reach out to your administrative

As always, IAMSE Student Members can register for the series for FREE!

Email for more information about student registration.

IAMSE Fall 2021 Session 2 Highlights

[The following notes were generated by Andrea Belovich, PhD.]

The second installment of the Fall 2021 IAMSE Web Audio Seminar series, “Back to the Future: Maximizing Student Learning and Wellbeing in the Virtual Age,” was presented on September 9th by Dr. Rachel Ellaway, Professor of Medical Education and Community Health Sciences and Director of the Office of Health and Medical Education Scholarship at the University of Calgary. In her presentation, “Creating learning entities: Augmentation in health professions education,” Dr. Ellaway discussed the phenomenon of augmentation, and how it can be used as a lens through which to view the practices and philosophies of health professions education.

Dr. Ellaway introduced her webinar as a series of thought experiments intended to help the audience reflect and consider the implications of the augmentation perspective on their own teaching, program development, scholarship, and other educational practices. She began by framing the concept of augmentation as something humans engage in constantly to enhance our intrinsic abilities and to help us engage more effectively with our environment. Examples of augmentation range anywhere from articles of clothing and functional accessories such as spectacles or eyeglasses to technologies that enable remote communication or extended cognitive abilities to professional organizations and communities that expand our influence and access to resources. Furthermore, Dr. Ellaway posited that the state of augmentation is fluid and is subject to change, as she demonstrated by the removal/addition of her own spectacles to alter her ability to perceive visual information.

Dr. Ellaway next raised the question that, since we are always experiencing augmentation, how do we think about it? One framework she provided for the audience was the dichotomy of ability and disability—all humans are simultaneously able in some ways and limited (disabled) in others by our environment and circumstances. Additionally, everyone has abilities that they do not use, as some abilities are limited by the opportunity to engage in them, such as the ability to play a musical instrument being limited by participating in a seminar or meeting. Finally, there are circumstances that prevent us from acting (disabling us) and where our abilities are insufficient to the task at hand. Therefore, the dichotomy of “abled vs. disabled” is, in many ways, an arbitrary one.

To further develop this framework for thinking about augmentation, Dr. Ellaway shared the Human Capabilities Approach, which is a theory developed by Sen and Nussbaum that defines “capability” as one’s ability/competence in combination with the opportunity to use the ability. A corollary of this theory is that one does not intrinsically lack an ability simply because one does not have the opportunity to use it. In this context, augmentation can be understood as a means to change a person’s capability by either changing one’s ability, opportunities, or both. As Dr. Ellaway stressed, augmentation is therefore not limited merely to the addition of factors, but rather includes the removal of obstacles to help a person improve their capability. This applies neatly to education, as an educator rarely can improve a learner’s intrinsic abilities, but instead can add some factors (such as tasks, structure, curriculum) and remove others (such as distractions, complications, and unnecessary details) in order to allow the learner the opportunity to utilize their abilities.

Dr. Ellaway next discussed that changes in augmentation can occur either with or without our input. Involuntary changes of augmentations can include sickness, luck, theft, travel impediments, or other external circumstance beyond our control can change our abilities. However, we can also be deliberate and selective in these changes to make sure we are doing the best job we can. For example, when engaging in teaching, learning, scholarship, etc., we are constantly selecting factors to include (e.g., spectacles, technologies) and exclude (e.g., distractions) to help us complete the task at hand. This selection process is often so integrated into our lives that is only apparent one is unable to do so. To further demonstrate this point, the audience was encouraged to reflect on the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, where access to augmentations such as travel, communication, and relationships was either diminished or removed. By taking away or reducing augmentations previously taken for granted, the COVID-19 pandemic has provided us with the framework of absence to engage with the concept of augmentation.

After discussing what augmentation is, Dr. Ellaway next demonstrated how this concept applies to healthcare professions education by introducing the idea of entities. Entities emerge when a person or persons experience differing states of augmentation which each produce a distinct profile of capabilities. As an example, Dr. Ellaway asked the audience to consider a physician practicing in three different environments with differing augmentations: a multiprofessional hospital system, a rural medical clinic, and a wilderness backpacking trip. The physician is the same person with similar intrinsic abilities in each setting, but they possess different capabilities based on their resources and surrounding environment (augmentations). Therefore, the physician can be thought of as three distinct entities depending on their augmentations. As healthcare professionals are expected to switch between entities and adapt to the presence/absence of a variety of augmentations in practice, Dr. Ellaway raised the question of whether our educational programs are training them to do this.

In terms of admission to healthcare education programs, variance amongst entities should be considered when attempting to assess an applicant’s abilities. For example, three applicants may have comparable intrinsic abilities, but depending on socioeconomic status, they may have different opportunities and therefore, be entities with differing capabilities. Thus, it is essential to consider entities when distinguishing between an applicant’s intrinsic abilities and their access to opportunities. Furthermore, entities are also important to consider during the assessment of a learner’s abilities. If a learner’s capability changes between a strictly proctored examination environment and a clinical setting where augmentations such as technologies, information databases, and colleagues’ consultation are available, how accurately does the proctored examination assess the learner’s true abilities? As educators, it imperative that we consider not only the entities created by socioeconomic status, but also any entities that we ourselves create for our learners.

Dr. Ellaway next explored the idea that creating augmented entities also creates moral and ethical dilemmas. For example, which augmentations confer too much advantage? What is considered “too much” advantage and what is considered “normal” advantage? Should we create situations that raise individuals from “below normal” to “above normal,” and should we require individuals naturally operative at “above normal” to reduce their intrinsic state to “normal”? Dr. Ellway recognized that while humans understand that some augmentation is acceptable and too much augmentation is unfair, it is hard to define a standard, acceptable, tacit set of morals on the subject. She also pointed out the, while education is a field that values fairness and equity, it rarely reflects on what augmentation actually is, what its implications are for both educators and learners, and how it may be best utilized.

To conclude the webinar, Dr. Ellaway shared the following manifesto regarding augmentation, entities, and education: “States of augmentation in learning should map to states of augmentation in practice. We should teach, assess, and model across many different states of augmentation. We should be more reflective of and deliberate in our uses of augmentation. We should be more aware of and critical of the consequences of different state of augmentation on learners and learning, on teachers and teaching, and on education and practice as a whole.”