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Improving immunology instruction

From left, Joyce Fewer, manager (acting), Instructional Development Office, DELTS; Alison Haynes, third-year resident and prize draw winner; and Dr. Vernon Richardson, professor of biomedical sciences.


With the help of a seed grant from the Instructional Development Office, Dr. Vernon Richardson, professor of biomedical sciences, has developed several Im­munology Instructional Learning Units (ILU).

"Immunology has never been a very popular subject with the majority of undergraduate medical students, but its ever growing importance in medical practice certainly deserves a second visit by any residency training program," said Dr. Richardson. "These ILU were designed to refresh the immunology knowledge of postgraduate medical trainees in a number of clinical disciplines and were formatted to be offered at distance by electronic delivery through the Internet using Desire to Learn (D2L). Each unit was designed to instruct and test the residents in areas of immunology that had been identified as lacking or in need of refreshing in the postgraduate medical trainee curriculum."

This study was a preliminary investigation to evaluate nine ILU, to get some feedback from the trainees about the usefulness of these instructional units, and to determine if this format for refreshing their immunology knowledge could be applied successfully to upgrade areas of immunology that had been taught six or more years previously.

"To make the ILU more relevant, several were clinically oriented to gain the interest of the trainees and all the data collected is now being evaluated and will be presented to the university later in the year," said Dr. Richardson.

Joyce Fewer, acting manager of the Instructional Development Office, Distance Education Learning Technology Services, said Dr. Richardson's initiative is a good example of faculty and student collaboration in support of student-centred learning.