NMP leads development for Year Two course

March 30, 2017

When UBC’s MD Undergraduate Program (MDUP) launched its renewed curriculum more than a year and a half ago for then first-years, the Class of 2019, it was the start of a four-year journey of new experiences for students, faculty and staff.  In Year Two, this change took on even more meaning for the Northern Medical Program’s Dr. Sarah Gray and Michelle Oster.

As course co-lead and course manager, respectively, for MEDD 421, Sarah and Michelle led the development of all course content for this past fall semester. Supported by teams from across the province, at every site, the two began their planning for the new course more than two years ago.


Dr. Sarah Gray (left) and Michelle Oster.

“With the new curriculum, there is an order to the courses as content is spiraled, with students learning it in layers of increasing complexity,” explains Sarah, assistant dean of education at the NMP. “It took a long time to plan as we needed to build on Year 1 content and lay the foundation for material still to come in MEDD 422 and later years. We also had to ensure that all required course outcomes and milestones had been considered.”

“It has been a massive collaborative effort to roll out the new Year Two courses with a huge amount of dedication from staff and faculty across the program contributing to curriculum renewal,” notes Michelle, NMP curriculum & assessment manager for Years 1 and 2.

Although many aspects of content delivery have changed for Year Two, one special NMP-related course section has continued.

“We were very pleased to have NMP clinical faculty member Dr. Dave Nelson continue as lead for one of the weeks in MEDD 421, which focuses on bone physiology and fractures,” says Sarah. “It is one of the few weeks in the MDUP led by a faculty member from one of the distributed sites.”

Dr. Nelson has practiced as an orthopedic surgeon for over 13 years in Prince George, and has been teaching in the undergraduate medical program since 2005.

With the first MEDD 421 course implementation now behind them, Sarah and Michelle are looking both ahead and back.

“Throughout the past fall, we continued to refine course delivery, and evaluate how well the course met the goal of knowledge integration for the new curriculum,” says Michelle. “The work on integration will of course never stop as continuous quality improvement for future iterations of the course will be implemented by responding to ongoing feedback solicited from the many stakeholders involved across the province.”

“Our faculty and students provided excellent and critical feedback throughout the fall that allowed us to continue our development of the course,” adds Sarah. “Overall, the student experience appears to have been a positive one, and what is particularly rewarding to hear is that they are noticing the integration and are now seeing how the curricular spiral is being achieved.”

Launched in the fall semester of 2015, the renewed MDUP curriculum is made up of fewer, more integrated courses which spirally develop content over the course of the program. In a spiral curriculum, information is spread out and layered in order to build upon previous learning, rather than being taught in separate blocks during a single time period.