Student input was deliberately included as part of the curriculum implementation and assessment plan at the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine. The new curriculum included design features to encourage deeper learning such as a spiral curriculum with cross-course integration, increased open time, and more active learning. Student well-being was seen as a simultaneous need. To gather overall perceptions of workload and well-being, student volunteers from each cohort were surveyed weekly starting in 2013. Survey questions asked about out-of-class work time, level of integration, extracurricular activities, student well-being habits, paid employment, and other factors. Survey questions were combined with course data to get a full picture of week quality, total course work time, extracurricular activities, and the effects of integration. Many of our hypotheses about curricular and extracurricular impacts on week quality were disproven. Week quality was most positively affected by student factors of sleep and exercise, whereas the curricular factors of out-of-class work time, total course work time, and examination hours had the strongest negative effects. A surprising finding was that open time, in-class hours, and paid employment hours had a minimal effect on week quality. Students identified excessively heavy semesters and uneven semester workloads that resulted in early revisions to the new curriculum. Student feedback provided a view of the curriculum that was not otherwise available and resulted in early and significant impacts on the new curriculum, and they provided insight into whether planned changes had occurred and how effective various factors were in reaching the curricular goals.
Malone, Erin D; Root Kustritz, Margaret V; Rendahl, Aaron; Molgaard, Laura K.
Monitoring the Curriculum through the Student Perspective.
Journal of Veterinary Medical Education.
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