Pharmacology Applied Learning Program in Preclinical Years – Student Perspectives

Pharmacology curriculum plays an integral role in medical education. Learning pharmacology to choose and prescribe drugs is a major challenge encountered by students. We developed pharmacology applied learning activities for first year medical students that included realistic clinical situations with escalating complications which required the students to analyze the situation and think critically to choose a safe drug. Tutor feedback was provided at the end of session. Evaluation was done to assess the students- level of interest and usefulness of the sessions in rational selection of drugs. Majority (98 %) of the students agreed that the session was an extremely useful learning exercise and agreed that similar sessions would help in rational selection of drugs. Applied learning sessions in the early years of medical program may promote deep learning and bridge the gap between pharmacology theory and clinical practice. Besides, it may also enhance safe prescribing skills.

Using Weblog to Promote Critical Thinking – An Exploratory Study

Weblog is an Internet tool that is believed to possess great potential to facilitate learning in education. This study wants to know if weblog can be used to promote students- critical thinking. It used a group of secondary two students from a Singapore school to write weblogs as a means of substitution for their traditional handwritten assignments. The topics for the weblogging are taken from History syllabus but modified to suit the purpose of this study. Weblogs from the students were collected and analysed using a known coding system for measuring critical thinking. Results show that the topic for blogging is crucial in determining the types of critical thinking employed by the students. Students are seen to display critical thinking traits in the areas of information sourcing, linking information to arguments and viewpoints justification. Students- criticalness is more profound when the information for writing a topic is readily available. Otherwise, they tend to be less critical and subjective. The study also found that students lack the ability to source for external information suggesting that students may need to be taught information literacy in order to widen their use of critical thinking skills.

White Blood Cells Identification and Counting from Microscopic Blood Image

The counting and analysis of blood cells allows the evaluation and diagnosis of a vast number of diseases. In particular, the analysis of white blood cells (WBCs) is a topic of great interest to hematologists. Nowadays the morphological analysis of blood cells is performed manually by skilled operators. This involves numerous drawbacks, such as slowness of the analysis and a nonstandard accuracy, dependent on the operator skills. In literature there are only few examples of automated systems in order to analyze the white blood cells, most of which only partial. This paper presents a complete and fully automatic method for white blood cells identification from microscopic images. The proposed method firstly individuates white blood cells from which, subsequently, nucleus and cytoplasm are extracted. The whole work has been developed using MATLAB environment, in particular the Image Processing Toolbox.

Directed Approach and Resolution of Practical Cases as a Motivation Tool for Self-Learning and Cooperation

The development of competences and practical capacities of students is getting an important incidence into the guidelines of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA). The methodology applied in this work is based on the education through directed resolution of practical cases. All cases are related to professional tasks that the students will have to develop in their future career. The method is intended to form the necessary competences of students of the Marine Engineering and Maritime Transport Degree in the matter of “Physics". The experience was applied in the course of 2011/2012. Students were grouped, and a practical task was assigned to them, that should be developed and solved within the team. The aim was to realize students learning by three ways: their own knowledge, the contribution of their teammates and the teacher's direction. The results of the evaluation were compared with those obtained previously by the traditional teaching method.

Creating a Space for Teaching Problem Solving Skills to Engineering Students through English Language Teaching

The complexity of teaching English in higher institutions by non-native speakers within a second/foreign language setting has created continuous discussions and research about teaching approaches and teaching practises, professional identities and challenges. In addition, there is a growing awareness that teaching English within discipline-specific contexts adds up to the existing complexity. This awareness leads to reassessments, discussions and suggestions on course design and content and teaching approaches and techniques. In meeting expectations teaching at a university specified in a particular discipline such as engineering, English language educators are not only required to teach students to be able to communicate in English effectively but also to teach soft skills such as problem solving skills. This paper is part of a research conducted to investigate how English language educators negotiate with the complexities of teaching problem solving skills through English language teaching at a technical university. This paper reports the way an English language educator identified himself and the way he approached his teaching in this institutional context.