Monday, June 30, 2008

Problem-based Learning and Larger Student Groups (article)

Problem-based learning groups generally span a size of 5 to 8 students. But what happens when PBL "small" groups start to expand to not-so-small group sizes?

This article details a "clustered PBL" approach where students are divided into 16 groups of 20 - 21 students per group. Each group is subdivided into 7 subgroups that have "clusters" of 2 to 3 students each.

Kingsbury, Martyn P, and Joanne S Lymn. Problem-based learning and larger student groups: mutually exclusive or compatible concepts - a pilot study.
BMC medical education 8(2008):35-.

This clustered PBL methodology can be successfully used with larger groups of students. The key to success lies with challenging and well situated clinically relevant cases together with enthusiastic facilitators. Facilitator enjoyment of the PBL process may be related to adequate training and previous PBL experience, rather than academic background. The smaller number of facilitators required using this clustered PBL approach allows for facilitators with 'a belief in the philosophy of PBL' to volunteer which would again impact on the success of the process.

Google Book Search

Did you know that since October 2006, Google has partnered with the University of California to digitize collections from the UC LIbraries?

Go to or from the Google homepage, under the more... link, select the Books option.

You can search a book's content and some may be available to download.

Find out more about Google Book Search. In addition to the UC libraries, Google Books collection provides access to materials from select libraries around the world through the Google Books Library Project.

11 Advantages of Using a Blog for Teaching

Here is an interesting presentation, titled 11 Advantages of Using a Blog for Teaching by Frank Calberg, a strategic inspirator from Zurich, Switzerland.

This blog that I have created has been a way for me to teach to the many people who I will not be able to come face to face with because of distance and time. For example, I had an average of 350 views of this blog just in the month of June. On average, I meet with about 20 people per month in person or via email to help them with their literature searches. So the fact that I can teach that many more people through this blog is a testament to the power of using a blog to disseminate knowledge farther and wider.

If you have never created a blog and want to play around with how to create and use them, you can start with Blogger, which is free. There are other alternatives such as Wordpress or Typepad. If your institution already has purchased blogging software, contact your administrator to find out about using it.

Using a blog to teach can be a fun, interactive, and dynamic tool for you to consider using in your role as a teacher.

Radiology Picture of the Day (blog)

Like most internet users, you probably grab images from a basic Google image search. Well, thank your lucky stars that there are some nice alternatives to just "googling" for medical images.

Check out the
Radiology Picture of the Day blog. A new image is posted daily that is provided by a physician with a brief description below about the image with related references.

The blog is edited and main
tained by Dr. Laughlin Dawes, a diagnostic neuroradiology fellow at the Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital in Perth, Western Australia. The images date back from November 2006 to the present.

I prefer to navigate this blog via its ARCHIVE page that categorizes the images for you. There is a link to suggest an image that you would like to submit to this blog, as well.

As always, give credit where it's due if you are going to use any image from the web. For example, if I were to use this image

I would reference this image as:

Congenital cystic adenomatoid malformation. Image provided by Dr. Ahmed Haroun. Posted Feb 28, 2008 on the Radiology Picture of the Day blog. Accessed on June 30, 2008 at

Monday, June 2, 2008

IRAM Curriculum Integration

Through a joint research project between the UCSF School of Medicine and the UCSF Library, there is a term that we've coined as "IRAM".

IRAM = Information Retrieval And Management

IRAM covers skills such as evaluating information resources, properly citing information, literature searching skills, and managing citations for research, presentations, and publications.

I recently presented at the annual Medical Library Association Conference in Chicago the results of the work that I have been doing as the UCSF Library's liaison to the School of Medicine. Please see the presentation and handout posted online.

My hope is that the work done here at UCSF gives you an overview of what is involved in integrating an information skills set into the medical curriculum. Feel free to leave me your comments to share any of your thoughts.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Google Quick Tip #9

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways... Let Google show you how.


Typing the tilde sign ~ in front of a word in Google will find synonyms for that search word. Not sure where the tilde sign is? Hold down the Shift key and hit the key to the left of the number 1 on your keyboard.

Click here to see what searching ~love in Google will find you. The synonyms will be highlighted to help you think of other terms that the word can be searched as.

Run a search such as ~diet diabetes and see what kinds of things you get in comparison to searching diet diabetes. Is one search better than the other? Not necessarily. You'll notice that the tilde search has millions more results. BUT you will get ideas for other search words that you might not have thought of.

PowerPoint Presentation Tips

Most of us being self-taught PowerPoint (PPT) users have become quite accustomed to our own PPT styles. Like your wardrobe, it's good to reassess and revamp your presentation style to stay fresh.

What is the main goal of any presentation you give? Engage your audience and make sure they leave knowing the main message of your topic.

Here are some useful tips on how to improve your PPT presentations, and thus, your presentation skills:

PowerPoint for Teachers- PowerPoint Presentations: Design, Content, & Delivery

Death by PowerPoint (and how to fight it)

You'll notice that both presentations have quite a few slides. But, you will see the difference in how the message of the presentation sticks with you. The slides engage and deliver the message.

For some additional tips on how to give effective presentations, check out the Business Week article, The 10 Worst Presentation Habits.

Impliment at least three of anything you learned in these resources above and you're guaranteed to have a happier audience that is bound to be wowed by your ideas!