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utahdent123

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Thanks, I was a little concerned about PBL. But after readng these articles I feel better. Case has some PBL and that is where I'm going.
 

seansk

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by the way for all those who don't know, its not only USC that does PBL, Harvard is also PBL, and other dental schools have also started incorporating PBL into their curriculum.

If you all havn't heard the news, the boards are moving towards more of a case based PBL approach.

The boards are becomming different, you cannot retake single sections of the boards anymore. If you do not pass a single section, you have to retake. In addition there is now a section that is case (PBL) based.
 
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PBL does improve communication and does require computer work (for researching). Harvard does use PBL, at least their business program. In fact they are pioneers of this innovative way of learning (from their business program) and their rationale for using PBL comes from their philosophy that they want to train leaders.

However, this learning sacrifices detail-oriented learning that you would otherwise attain from traditional lectures. PBL works well for a school like Harvard because the students are motivated and smart enough to their own research and contribute to other people's learning. However, for a medical school that has implemented a full PBL curriculum, ie Drexel (formerly known as MCP Hahnemann and Allegheny), the results have initially been disastrous and has led to a very high failure rate on the national medical boards (USMLE). The school has been on the brink of losing its accreditation--however it is doing relatively well as of date.

Again, like anything, hard work always trumps curriculum. Work hard and you'll be fine.
 

seansk

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Since many people seem to be conflicted about PBL, I bumped this thread...you can read these articles and see if PBL is for you!!! I think PBL might be getting a bad from a few people and all others are bound to follow...

I remember NYU had and still might have a bad rap it terms of "dropping students." according to my knowledge much of what was said was just not true.

Articles like these always help because they tend to be less biased!!!
feel free to put in your 2 cents

good luck to all!

here's a really good one dental related...look at the discussion at the end...its the jist of it!
http://www.jdentaled.org/cgi/reprint/69/6/649.pdf
 

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I'm still confused about it...can anyone explain what PBL is in an easy to understand, basic way...
 

seansk

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I'm still confused about it...can anyone explain what PBL is in an easy to understand, basic way...

I can already tell you won't like PBL, by what you just asked!!!
 

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Question....
Does the PBL system assign any GRADES (A,B,C) or does it just assign pass/fail???
And if it does just assign Pass/fail.. HOW are orthodontic/oral surg/ or any other super competitive residency programs know who to pick??? everyone passes who is better? who is going to get the ortho spot? just wondering....
 

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I'm pretty sure that with PBL, grades are assigned just like any other form of learning. PBL is just the method of learning and then you are given tests which determine your overall grade in the class.
 

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thanks, do you think its good? it bascially involve more active group work right?? so you are depending more on your classmates and self then professor?? right? I would like to know more about it...




I'm pretty sure that with PBL, grades are assigned just like any other form of learning. PBL is just the method of learning and then you are given tests which determine your overall grade in the class.
 

seansk

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Question....
Does the PBL system assign any GRADES (A,B,C) or does it just assign pass/fail???
And if it does just assign Pass/fail.. HOW are orthodontic/oral surg/ or any other super competitive residency programs know who to pick??? everyone passes who is better? who is going to get the ortho spot? just wondering....

USC PBL EXPLAINED!!!

Your learn things based on "cases" that you get. For example you get a heart case; you go over, physiology, anatomy, histology, pathology, everything we need to know to further our understanding and also things to progress the case forward!!!! you are in groups of 8, make ideas and "learning needs" in your group and each person will make a "learning packet" for your group FOR each part of the case. (There are usually 6 parts to any case and cases usually last about 2 weeks each.) so you will be making about 3 packets a week. and reading about 21 packets each week...each packet is anywhere between roughly 4-10 pages. although we have had packets that are 2 pages and some that are 70 pages!!!!

Next you read the all the packets and gather to discuss what you discovered and learned. People rarely slack off.. and if they do there are 7 other people to keep them in check.. you have a facilitator who guides you in the right direction by asking questions or other methods that they have been trained in. Some facilitators will give you the answer, some will lecture you, some will only guide you...you will get a mix.... Facilitators also test your information and the beginning of every session. Session are every other day.. MWF, the days in between you are reasearching and reading other people's packets...as well as juggling lab, classes... rotations...clinic etc etc. After the 2nd year cases will go down to 2 times a week t, th, and eventually only once...and by the 4th year you're all clinical!!

cases include a presession, you discuss what you learned and connect the dots. next the facilitator will show up and ask questions, either individually or as a group depending on the facilitator. then you dig into the next part of the case where again you come up with, FACT. next based on the facts you come up with hypoethesis or ideas...and in order to learn about those ideas you come up with learning needs, to determine what needs to be learned. People make their learning packets on these learning needs.

for me its really helpful to discuss what we research and learned...not only do we get the information part of it, we really get to connect the dots, so things will be clicking in your head all the time!!! we get to gather info from different resources(journals, multiple books, the web, online articles etc.) so we usually make sure we get the latest information and also a comprehensive overview of any subject.

sometimes there will be gaps in the information, but as you become better at it you will learn to look for those and you can fill those gaps, either by yourself and also with your group!!

facilitators change every case, (roughly 2 weeks per case). and your group changes every trimester...This way you get a mix of everything.. so you do not get stuck with the same minds...or the same type of guidance!!!

Grading is subjective for the cases (exactly 40 percent of our grad)... grade also depends on midterm and final (roughly another 40 - 60 percent depending on some fators) and the rest is basically labs, rotations and misc...THIS IS HOW THE FIRST YEAR GRADING IS DONE...as you go more into clinic stuff, grading changes from didactics to emphasize more on clinic and lab.

But with any dental school, grading will become more and more subjective when you get to the clinic anyways!! Grades do not really matter in terms of specialty, At USC we do get grades. However some schools like UCLA do not have a grading system...this makes it very hard to compare to individuals from two schools. Ranking can sometimes help, but thats only if the school ranks their students...so your specialization will mainly be based on your Boards, Part I. Part II will count only if you don't apply right out of schooll. If you go right from D-school to a specialty, the school does not have a chance to see you board part II. Reasearch and any other activity will def also help you.

Please give me feedback on this post and we can try to make this a sticky for those who are confused about USC PBL..

good luck!
 

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I apologize if my post before was a bit harsh: I'm just not a PBL person. However, I have had some experience with PBL. A full PBL curriculum is definitely an interesting way of learning. However, it's not for everyone. It's definitely good in filling in some gaps that a professor may miss, ie some teachers assume that certain concepts are too basic and don't adequately explain it in their handouts, presentations. Here are some things that people may consider before considering USC or any other school with a hybrid PBL curriculum:

1. Yes, as mentioned before, the grading is subjective. If you are not a people person, or if you do not work well in a social/group setting, then PBL might not be for you.
2. Some people might slow you down (for example, if they ask too many questions, if they put too much detail into their handouts and read and elaborate every single point. . .)
3. If you have the same group for an entire year or semester, you really get to know the individuals in your group well.
4. As mentioned before, PBL helps to improve your communication skills. You have to explain your subject to your group. . .
5. There's likely to be someone who tries to dominate the group (yes, you always seem to find some type A's out there).
6. Watch out for slackers (some people just lazily google their answers and come up with hastily done work with, possibly, unreliable sources)
7. There is a great degree of variability among groups. Some people will get amazing groups and others, so so. (This is one of the major reasons I am not a PBL person. When finals or midterm rolls around, I often wonder if the subject was covered adequately. Sometimes I hate reading other student's handouts. . . , which might be too broad or meticulous or irrelevant, etc or it might only contain diagrams or an outline and I have to relearn everything). Also the big question that many students ask is what will be covered in the exam from the PBL session and how much detail.)
8. PBL is not as detail-oriented as traditional lecture. However, you have students (just like you) who know when a material is difficult to understand and will likely try to explain it to the best of their ability.
9. Topics will be assigned to people in the group. Many times, it helps for you to look and read up on all the topics before you meet up again with the group. You'll get a lot more out of the session.
10. Cases are likely to broad-ranging or complicated. In this way, it will cover most of the basic subtopics of the subject you are currently looking.
11. There is a facilitator to keep everything in check but there is also some degree of variability in terms of the topics being chosen and amount of material covered and how far the group progresses in solving the case.

Theoretically, PBL sounds like a very good way of learning. However, it requires a lot of tinkering, as evidenced by schools that first implemented them (ie, USC, MCP Hahnemann). USC has gone through that process already for a number of years.

USC PBL!!!

Your learn things based on "cases" that you get. . .
 

seansk

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not harsh at all you have your opinions and I have mine!! your opinions are respected


to whoever reads this...these are my expriences...and my opinions...please don't try to argue and say they are wrong or whatever... and the person that posted these 11 points...those are his opionions and I respect them, I just wanted to add my point of view...thats all...I am not arguing!


1. Yes, as mentioned before, the grading is subjective. If you are not a people person, or if you do not work well in a social/group setting, then PBL might not be for you. I have to agree with you here, but if you're not a people person dentistry probably isn't for you to start with!!

2. Some people might slow you down (for example, if they ask too many questions, if they put too much detail into their handouts and read and elaborate every single point. . .). Yes although this can be true. you also have control in the group and tell them that what they are doing is hindering the group learning without being confrontational, as I have done this before,

3. If you have the same group for an entire year or semester, you really get to know the individuals in your group well.You do not have the same group an entire year or semester, it is a trimester...about 14 weeks, or roughly 6 cases. this might be a good thing for some and bad for others, just a personal preference i guess

4. As mentioned before, PBL helps to improve your communication skills. You have to explain your subject to your group. . .Yes to a certain extend...but if you're a shy peson your still gonna be shy no matter what although you do get to communication more than you did before and improve your social skills..atleast in my experience with the groups

5. There's likely to be someone who tries to dominate the group (yes, you always seem to find some type A's out there).Not necessarily true...I have heard that some groups have this...but in the majority of groups this really dissolves within the first few weeks of starting. No-one really leads...but you have people that seem to take on a certain job in the group. and sometimes that's not even true...

6. Watch out for slackers (some people just lazily google their answers and come up with hastily done work with, possibly, unreliable sources)As I said before, if this happens...The group is quick to realize and they will question the persons resources, knowledge and how they came up with their solutions etc...in other words if you slack...we'll put you in check!!! we are required to always cite our sources in our learning packets, so you'll know if it is unreliable or not!

7. There is a great degree of variability among groups. Some people will get amazing groups and others, so so. (This is one of the major reasons I am not a PBL person. When finals or midterm rolls around, I often wonder if the subject was covered adequately. Sometimes I hate reading other student's handouts. . . , which might be too broad or meticulous or irrelevant, etc or it might only contain diagrams or an outline and I have to relearn everything). Also the big question that many students ask is what will be covered in the exam from the PBL session and how much detail.) This is probably the main reason that will either pull you towards PBL or completely turn you away...If your a person that depends on other to learn and not self motivated...PBL is not for you...there is no easy answer in PBL...you are responsible to cover things that are lacking in YOUR knowledge database

8. PBL is not as detail-oriented as traditional lecture. However, you have students (just like you) who know when a material is difficult to understand and will likely try to explain it to the best of their ability. not necessarilty, sometimes the learning packets i read are way too detailed and sometimes maybe not enought. Again motivation is a factor here..if you really wana know...ask the member to explain it...our group has been really good about doing that...and if no-one can answer, and you really think this is imporant and worth knowing...go after it and learn it...its fun!!! atleast for me...its like investigative work!!! going through this process, you will learn much more than the answer you came to look for. PBL IS ABOUT THE PROCESS, NOT THE GOAL, this saying is the golden words of PBL, if you're in PBL you know what I'm talking about.

9. Topics will be assigned to people in the group. Many times, it helps for you to look and read up on all the topics before you meet up again with the group. You'll get a lot more out of the session. ABSOLULTELY

10. Cases are likely to broad-ranging or complicated. In this way, it will cover most of the basic subtopics of the subject you are currently looking.absolutely, they even through curveballs and minor details in there.

11. There is a facilitator to keep everything in check but there is also some degree of variability in terms of the topics being chosen and amount of material covered and how far the group progresses in solving the case.True, but remember PBL IS NOT ABOUT SOLOVING THE CASE...it is the process of PBL that brings knowledge, not the final diagnosis

Theoretically, PBL sounds like a very good way of learning. However, it requires a lot of tinkering, as evidenced by schools that first implemented them (ie, USC, MCP Hahnemann). USC has gone through that process already for a number of years.PBL is for the motivated learner and explorer...the guy that wants to know it all...they guy thats goes after it and finds it interesting...the guy who can communicate...get along and deal with every situation...a good dentist will be able to deal with many social situations...Dentistry at a privte practice is 1/4 about knowledge 1/4 about hand skills and probably 1/2 about running your business and communication ask any dentist...remember that;)
 
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SHC1984

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thanks alot, I understand PBL better now. The only major drawback of this system is your grading being subjective. For example, I like multiple choice question exams because its either right or wrong. I never like grades to be subjective (opinionated grading) because it depends on the mood and opinion of the instructor...
Like an English paper or a drawing/painting.. It could be a A or F depending on the teacher's mood and opinion...
Maybe I am not understanding what you mean by subjective grading, but I hope it isn't the way Art teachers grade their student's Art works or something that random.... you know what I mean?? There has to be a right or wrong answer not maybe right or wrong..
And I am a very soical person, NOT SHY at all. I love socialzing and meeting new people etc. But when It comes to serious things like grades I am not sure if its a good idea to depend on others for it.. Its like in high school when "group project" are assigned but someone always end up doing a little more then others and EVERYONE in your group get the same grade?? is that true for PBL?
Also are you saiding that the only things that matters when you are apply for residency RIGHT out of dental school is your part I board scores and class ranking?? GPA doesn't matter? are you sure??
 

DDSY

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I've never been to dental school but the assumption is that there are two parts to the grade. One is the "subjective" grading that each individual gets from facilitators from each PBL session. And the other is the answering of questions (related to the PBL sessions) from the midterm or final (which can be subjective too, depending on how much you learn from PBL). Yes, your grades are subject to a variability that can be due to whether facilitators like you, whether the facilitator grades nicely (though the assumption is that they are supposed to grade according to a "benchmark") or whether they give the same grade to everyone, whether you are calm that day, etc.

But I acknowledge that there are advantages to PBL that stem mainly from its disadvantages (namely subjectivity). PBL is structured so that it more closely resembles a clinical situation. You don't simply read your handouts. You have to impress your facilitators too. You have to answer any questions that they or your classmates ask you. You have to integrate all of the information (beyond your handout) and show them that you have sophisticated understanding of the material. This is the reality of healthcare. . . more and more it relies on teamwork, being able to communicate and obtain and understand information from other people. You might not get the best board score (which is disputable) but I'm a believer that it will help you to become a much better clinician.

thanks alot, I understand PBL better now. The only major drawback of this system is your grading being subjective. For example, I like multiple choice question exams because its either right or wrong. I never like grades to be subjective (opinionated grading) because it depends on the mood and opinion of the instructor...
Like an English paper or a drawing/painting.. It could be a A or F depending on the teacher's mood and opinion...
Maybe I am not understanding what you mean by subjective grading, but I hope it isn't the way Art teachers grade their student's Art works or something that random.... you know what I mean?? There has to be a right or wrong answer not maybe right or wrong..And I am a very soical person, NOT SHY at all. I love socialzing and meeting new people etc. But when It comes to serious things like grades I am not sure if its a good idea to depend on others for it.. Its like in high school when "group project" are assigned but someone always end up doing a little more then others and EVERYONE in your group get the same grade?? is that true for PBL?
Also are you saiding that the only things that matters when you are apply for residency RIGHT out of dental school is your part I board scores and class ranking?? GPA doesn't matter? are you sure??
 

seansk

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Also are you saiding that the only things that matters when you are apply for residency RIGHT out of dental school is your part I board scores and class ranking?? GPA doesn't matter? are you sure??

pretty sure...you tell me how a school is supposed to compare me to and another student who goes to a school without a gpa?!! It is impossible!!!:)

I have heard from many of the 2nd, 3rd and 4th years that it is all about the boards, research, extracurricular, and to some extent connection!!!
 

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Sounds like PBL is just a cheap way to make you teach yourself. :thumbdown:
 

seansk

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Sounds like PBL is just a cheap way to make you teach yourself. :thumbdown:

I like your wise, constructive, extremely professional attitude, and thought out opinion...

let me make a correction however, It's not cheap way to teach yourself, It's actually a really expensive way to teach yourself !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! it's USC remember!! lolol!!
 

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is UCLA the only school without a GPA grading system? Does schools without a gpa RANK their students? what other schools don't have a grading system?





pretty sure...you tell me how a school is supposed to compare me to and another student who goes to a school without a gpa?!! It is impossible!!!:)

I have heard from many of the 2nd, 3rd and 4th years that it is all about the boards, research, extracurricular, and to some extent connection!!!
 

SHC1984

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I am NOT an CA resident but am VERY interested in CA schools. I want to apply to UCSF for sure, but not sure about USC. Do you like it? would you recommend it? since you been there. :) how do others feel about it? thanks for helping me.
 

seansk

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is UCLA the only school without a GPA grading system? Does schools without a gpa RANK their students? what other schools don't have a grading system?

I am not sure which schools? but I know for sure UCLA.
do a little digging and get back to me if possible...I have heard that there are more out there...but I'm just not completely positive about this...Let me know what you find out!
 

seansk

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I am NOT an CA resident but am VERY interested in CA schools. I want to apply to UCSF for sure, but not sure about USC. Do you like it? would you recommend it? since you been there. :) how do others feel about it? thanks for helping me.

love it, wouldn't change anything...I would recommend it, but you have to decide for yourself...find out more about PBL and really get to know the school if you're interested...The final decision is up to you and weather you will like it...USC was my first choice! try to find others that go to USC and get their opinion...
I know tsgalloway who is on SDN and is also in my class, is enjoying the program so far!!!
I think in any school there are always people that love it and people that are the complainers
 

SHC1984

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I am just curious did you get into any other CA schools?? CA have such great schools!
 

seansk

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I am just curious did you get into any other CA schools?? CA have such great schools!

No, I did get into 3 other schools in the east coast tho! one was IU, which I had really liked! uop probably would have been my next choice in cali, if i did get in...I didn't like what I heard about UCLA, i wouldn't have gone if I got in, unless that was my only choice and besides, I had always been a Trojan!!!

please msg me if you like to continue this chat...it seems like we're chatting on a public forum!!!!
 

seansk

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HERE'S A SCIENTIFIC ARTICLE DIRECT FROM PUBMED regarding part I board scores AT USC...AND HERE'S THE LINK
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/...ve&db=PubMed&list_uids=11425245&dopt=Abstract

The past decade has seen increasing demands for reform of dental education that would produce a graduate better equipped to work in the rapidly changing world of the twenty-first century. Among the most notable curriculum changes implemented in dental schools is a move toward Problem-Based Learning (PBL). PBL, in some form, has been a feature of medical education for several decades, but has only recently been introduced into dental schools. This paper discusses the rationale for the introduction of a PBL pedagogy into dental education, the modalities of PBL being introduced, and the implications of the introduction of PBL into dental schools. Matters related to implementation, faculty development, admissions, and assessment are addressed. Observations derived from a parallel-track dental PBL curriculum at the University of Southern California (USC) are presented and discussed. This program conforms to the Barrows (1998) concept of "authentic PBL" in that the program has no scheduled lectures and maintains a PBL pedagogy for all four years of the curriculum. The USC dental students working in the PBL curriculum have attained a high level of achievement on U.S. National Dental Boards (Part I) examinations, significantly superior to their peers working in a traditional lecture-based curriculum.
 

DDSY

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If that's true and the board scores are high, then PBL is working. Just a few questions though, since this article was written by some people from USC: Does this article apply only to one year that they did well? Maybe they just recently transitioned to the PBL curriculum and USC still had pretty good students (article was published in 2001). The also mentioned the parallel study they did between USC students who were in the traditional vs PBL curriculum--question I have is the sample size they use seems pretty small--although they may have accounted for this.

Anyhow, here are links from the medical forum comparing PBL vs. traditional curriculum:

http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=254894 (note: a medical student noted in this thread that the medical schools that implemented the full PBL curriculum (Hawaii and Drexel [MCP Hahnemann) have/had a number of failures . However, this is only anecdotal evidence and another medical school with a [hybrid?] PBL curriculum, Northwestern, does relatively well on USMLE I)

http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=252017

HERE'S A SCIENTIFIC ARTICLE DIRECT FROM PUBMED regarding part I board scores AT USC...AND HERE'S THE LINK
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/...ve&db=PubMed&list_uids=11425245&dopt=Abstract

The past decade has seen increasing demands for reform of dental education that would produce a graduate better equipped to work in the rapidly changing world of the twenty-first century. Among the most notable curriculum changes implemented in dental schools is a move toward Problem-Based Learning (PBL). PBL, in some form, has been a feature of medical education for several decades, but has only recently been introduced into dental schools. This paper discusses the rationale for the introduction of a PBL pedagogy into dental education, the modalities of PBL being introduced, and the implications of the introduction of PBL into dental schools. Matters related to implementation, faculty development, admissions, and assessment are addressed. Observations derived from a parallel-track dental PBL curriculum at the University of Southern California (USC) are presented and discussed. This program conforms to the Barrows (1998) concept of "authentic PBL" in that the program has no scheduled lectures and maintains a PBL pedagogy for all four years of the curriculum. The USC dental students working in the PBL curriculum have attained a high level of achievement on U.S. National Dental Boards (Part I) examinations, significantly superior to their peers working in a traditional lecture-based curriculum.
 

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This study is meaningless. They surveyed students and asked them whether they FELT they were prepared via survey, not measure their skills and knowledge. The only thing this may indicate is that PBL students in the Netherlands tend to think more highly of their abilities.
 
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