In academic year 2010/2011, the University of Massachusetts Medical School introduced a new, longitudinal, integrative curriculum (LiNC). One component of this new curriculum was the introduction of Learning Communities or "Houses.". Five Houses were formed to allow inter-class interaction, each that would serve as the medical student's academic and social home. A librarian from the Lamar Soutter Library was attached to each House. Two new components of the LiNC curriculum were a) a longitudinal, cumulative capstone project and b) a 3rd year Flexible Clinical Experience (FCE) program. The first was a natural fit for the House Librarians to interact with students as they conducted foundational research for their Capstone. The second was developed to allow students in their 3rd year an opportunity to choose a pre-designed elective or design their own clinical experience. One type of self-designed FCE is based in the library where students can spend one week conducting research towards their capstone project.
Beginning in academic year 2015/2016, students choosing the library-based FCE are formally required to work with their House Librarian. The librarians now act as the course supervisors. The students share their capstone proposals with their House Librarian and the librarians, in turn, provide comprehensive, library-based research experience, guide students to relevant resources, teach search techniques, and serve as library support for any library or research needs. Following each FCE, the students submit course evaluations. By the spring of 2016, there will be a significant number of evaluations from students that have completed the self-directed FCE with librarian supervision. The authors plan to review the FCE library-based course evaluations for the current year against those from when the House Librarians were not directly involved.
The capstone project can take many different forms, from a traditional research paper to a community outreach project to an artistic expression of medical education. But regardless of format, the capstone must consist of a scientific foundation, guided by evidence and grounded in a fundamental understanding of the literature. By comparing student evaluations responses from before and after formal librarian involvement, we hope to understand the impact librarians have had on capstone preparation, further adapt our methods to improve library integration into this component of the curriculum and explore ways to encourage more students to select the library-based FCE.
Because the library-based FCE now requires students to have direct supervision by their House Librarians, our goal is to use information gleaned from the student evaluations to learn how librarian immersion in this component of the curriculum can contribute to the success of both the self-designed FCE and capstone projects.
- Undergraduate Medical Education,
- House librarians
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/catherine_carr/2/