ATTN: Cornell Med Students

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by geneman, Jul 21, 2002.

  1. geneman

    geneman The Transgenic Hobo

    Joined:
    May 5, 2002
    Messages:
    227
    Likes Received:
    0
    Although I haven't experienced it yet, I heavily favor small group learning over standard lectures. Cornell does PBL as most of their curriculum.

    If you are a current Cornell medical student, please share your experiences with the PBL system of learning.
     
  2. Thread continues after this sponsor message. SDN Members do not see this ad.

  3. dr kevin40

    dr kevin40 Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2002
    Messages:
    762
    Likes Received:
    0
    how sad..ain't nobody want to help geneman out? i wish i knew geneman but u know i'm in the same app process as u and would't know a thing bout pbl or whateva.
     
  4. LizardKing

    LizardKing Veteran Member

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2001
    Messages:
    549
    Likes Received:
    1
    I don't go to Cornell but I have friends who do. Most seem happy with the PBL. It's probably the best thing about the school. They seem to have it more organized and progressive than all the other PBL schools.

    They team you up with 4 or 5 other students in a small computer lab with dry erase boards. You work on a case and look at journals right on the spot. By the end of the curriculum, you have covered all the disease categories.

    They do have lectures too...I remember getting the tour and being told this.

    Also, I think their days are pretty short too.
     
  5. geneman

    geneman The Transgenic Hobo

    Joined:
    May 5, 2002
    Messages:
    227
    Likes Received:
    0
    What other schools are mostly PBL?
     
  6. squeek

    squeek Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2002
    Messages:
    224
    Likes Received:
    1
    I'm a third year student at Cornell. Personally, I loved PBL. Our 1st and 2nd year curriculum is about 1/3 PBL, 1/3 small group sessions (which could probably be loosely termed PBL), and 1/3 lectures (more PBL than 33% would probably be too much, because there is just some information that is better suited to lecture presentation).

    PBL groups are ~10 students each, in a room with 4 computers and dry erase boards, as someone above said. Typically PBLs are scheduled for M,W,and F, from 8-10:30, and there's generally one case per week (each time you meet, you receive more information on the case). Depending on your tutor, you may be required to make handouts to present topics, or you may work on finding material during the group time.

    Benefits of PBL:
    -I found it very helpful for getting me used to the "patient case" format. You learn to evaluate/integrate lab values, clinical data, and patient history, and you get used to looking at the "whole picture." I found this very useful for the USMLEI.
    -You get to know your classmates in your group quite well
    -You get to interact with a faculty member in a personal format. VERY good if you need advice/recommendations.
    -I liked the learning style...I'd much rather go home and read about something and come back the next day for discussion than sit in lecture for 5 more hours.

    Drawbacks of PBL:
    -Some people complain that the student evaluation by instructors is too subjective. I never found this to be a problem, as most of my instructors were consistent in their evaluation of me. But other students found this troublesome, especially if their personality didn't mesh well with the instructor/facilitator. As PBL makes up ~30% of your grade, this is a potential problem (although if you get good PBL grades it can boost a high pass on tests into an overall honors grade)
    -Sometimes you get very tired of the 9 other people in your group, and strong personalities can cause interpersonal problems...bad news when you're stuck with that group for 6 months! :)

    -as far as small group sessions, they're typically 10-20 students in the same rooms. A good example would be pathology sessions--they are also "problem-based," in that you are given a case with lab values and patient history, and then you look at the histopathology (almost all of it is on the computer, although they still make you fork over $200 per year for a microscope you never use) and discuss the symptoms/pathology of the disease. I always found it very helpful.

    Hope this answered some of your questions...
     
  7. geneman

    geneman The Transgenic Hobo

    Joined:
    May 5, 2002
    Messages:
    227
    Likes Received:
    0
    squeek,

    Thanks for the informative reply!

    A few more questions... Do any other schools have "PBL"? What are the primary differences between PBL and small group learning (as other medical schools call it)? Are the lectures more fact-based or concept-based?

    Thanks again.
     
  8. squeek

    squeek Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2002
    Messages:
    224
    Likes Received:
    1
    I know there are other schools with PBL, but I can't tell you off hand which ones. And they vary, too--some are all PBL (which I don't think I'd like), others are more like Cornell. Actually, I think Harvard pioneered PBL.

    Regarding small groups, they're not really "PBL" because they are taught by an instructor. In PBL you have a faculty "facilitator," but they are instructed NOT to lecture. They are there only to guide the discussion to make sure all important points are addressed.

    In small groups you have one instructor who comes in and works through cases with you. It's not a lecture, but they are officially teaching you...you don't really have to do the work. You just show up, write notes, and listen.

    As far as lectures go, "conceptual" or "factual" depends on the lecturer, the course director, who's writing the tests, etc. Really, it's both...just "getting the concepts" won't get you through medical school, as there are tons of facts you just need to know. However, getting the underlying concepts down well helps you understand physiological process, methods of treatment, etc. (for example, you need to know both the broad, conceptual class of beta-blockers, but then know the specific differences between each individual beta-blocker). And having taken my boards just two months ago, I can tell you that BOTH facts and concepts are tested. :)
     
  9. geneman

    geneman The Transgenic Hobo

    Joined:
    May 5, 2002
    Messages:
    227
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks squeek. Very helpful comments.
     
  10. LizardKing

    LizardKing Veteran Member

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2001
    Messages:
    549
    Likes Received:
    1
    Univ. of Pittsburgh has PBL too.
     

Share This Page