The OUM Curriculum
OUM’s graduate-entry MBBS curriculum is a four-and-a-half year program divided into two main phases: Preclinical and Clinical. The preclinical phase involves 20 weeks of Introduction to Medicine (e-ITM), at least 10 weeks of e-Foundation Sciences (200-series), 60 weeks (10 modules) of additional preclinical system-based content, and 72 weeks of clinical clerkships. Students may also benefit from up to 40 weeks of e-Foundation Science modules (100-series).
Students complete course modules, and performance is assessed on a variety of criteria at the close of each module. The program utilizes more than 90 problem-based learning (PBL) case studies throughout the course, covering a diverse range of pathologies. Each PBL case begins with a virtual patient presentation (or scenario) and follows patient progression through the following stages:
Introduction to Medicine, or e-ITM, is the first module taken in the medical program and begins the preclinical phase of study. Entering students are oriented to OUM’s self-directed learning system (Moodle) online through the e-ITM using the Collaborate virtual classroom system. The module’s focus is to provide a solid background and understanding of the basic sciences.
The e-ITM is offered online over 20 weeks, beginning with a compulsory orientation program held either online or at one of the clinical training sites in Australia or New Zealand. The orientation will present strategies for success in medical school, an introduction to required IT modalities, and a “meet and greet” forum for students, faculty, administrators, and academic advisors. Basic sciences are presented via Collaborate in two-week blocks, some individually and others combined, as follows:
The e-ITM module is intended to introduce the student to the language and major concepts of each basic science discipline. Each block features live lectures taught twice a week and daily recorded lectures via the Collaborate virtual classroom Tuesday-Saturday for two hours (Australia-New Zealand time). Students are tested through a weekly quiz, followed by a final examination at the conclusion of the two-week block. Because mastery of the basic sciences is essential to the practice of medicine, students scoring less than 60 percent on the final examination will be recommended to take the corresponding 100-level e-Foundation Sciences block. The 100-series e-Foundation Sciences blocks consist of four-week, intensive courses in each of the basic sciences.
Upon completing the e-ITM, students take two five-week 200-series e-Foundation Sciences blocks:
MBBS students scoring less than 60 percent in the e-Foundation Sciences 200-series will be required to take the corresponding 100-level e-Foundation Sciences block prior to enrollment in the system-based modules. For example, a student scoring less than 60 on e-Foundation Sciences 201 will have to pass the 100-level Biochemistry and Molecular Biology & Medical Genetics blocks before progressing in the program.
The e-Foundation Sciences 100-series consists of four-week courses in the basic sciences and will be available to all students who need them but will not be required prior to beginning the system-based modules, unless the student does not make the required score in e-Foundation Sciences 201 & 202.
More extensively covering the same basic science disciplines taught during the e-ITM, each four-week 100-series e-Foundation Sciences block is delivered via Collaborate twice per week.
Modules 3 through 12: System-Based Preclinical Study
These ten system-based modules are six weeks in length and combine the basic and clinical sciences in a case format. During each week of the module, a new PBL case and its supporting materials are accessed online through Moodle and fully examined as the basis for classroom discussion. Six cases are covered each term, with the final exam opening at the end of the sixth week. Students will receive a live Collaborate lecture from the faculty, participate in another live Collaborate session which covers additional key concepts/tasks, and engage in directed independent study. The system-based modules include:
Trends and Topics in Medicine will include case studies in behavioral medicine, legal medicine, ethics, and integrative medicine to offer the student a well-rounded exposure to current issues facing medicine.
As students progress through each preclinical module, they develop and improve clinical reasoning skills as they apply their expanding knowledge to virtual medical scenarios depicting unique, as well as common, human conditions and ailments. These skills are essential to success during the core clinical clerkships and electives.
Each module also runs a laboratory problem session for students to discuss physiological concepts (equations & graphical data), analyse clinical laboratory data, and discuss clinically relevant case data in the form of clinical multiple choice questions. Throughout the e-ITM and the preclinical modules, each student will meet regularly with an academic advisor, who will help direct the student’s studies as well as assess the student’s progress.
During core rotations, students are assigned to the clinical supervisor at an OUM-affiliated teaching facility to complete clerkship training. Together with the hands-on work, students complete five PBL cases, directed learning activities, and supportive lectures associated with the clerkship (five cases for eight-week rotations; less for four-week rotations). Clinical students will have an opportunity to train in both ambulatory and in-patient hospital settings. At the completion of each core rotation, students will be evaluated using a variety of assessment tools.
The core clinical modules in OUM’s MBBS program and their durations are:
NOTE: Students enrolling in OUM after June 1, 2011, are required to complete at least one four-week clinical clerkship at OUM’s teaching hospital in Samoa. Community/Family Medicine is recommended, but it is suggested that students discuss the Samoa clerkship with their Dean prior to beginning the clinical modules.
Upon completion of the core clinical rotations, MBBS students will take 16 weeks of university-approved elective rotations in order to complete the 72-week requirement. The electives can expand further study into core subjects or introduce students to new areas. They can focus on patient management problems, exposure to the specialties, and the acquisition of additional procedural skills prior to beginning a supervised internship/residency program.
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