Jason Stephenson, Tabby Kennedy, and Katie Yang Receive Grant to Transform Course into Synchronous Discussion Series

Posted on February 2021

Director of Medical Student Education and Associate Professor Jason Stephenson, MD, Neuroradiology Section Chief and Associate Professor Tabby Kennedy, MD, and Medial Education Research and Outreach Services Coordinator Katie Yang, MSC, received a $5,000 Instructional Continuity Grant from UW to transform their course’s discussion board assignment into a synchronous discussion series. Instructional Continuity Grants from UW aim to enhance student-to-instructor interaction and student-to-student interaction and learning for the spring of 2021.

Drs. Stephenson and Kennedy are co-instructors for the medical student Diagnostic Radiology Elective, which is being held virtually due to COVID-19. Concerned by the lack of opportunities for students to connect and work with one another while on the rotation, they teamed up with Yang, who has advanced training in facilitating classroom discussion, to convert the previous discussion board assignment into synchronous discussion sessions where students can collaborate with their peers. Yang is facilitating the discussions each week.

The Diagnostic Radiology Elective has 11 two-week rotations during spring 2021. The discussion board assignment has four prompts, and each prompt is now offered as a 40-minute discussion session, with two sessions available each week. Students can either participate in the synchronous discussion session or respond to the online written version of the prompt. This flexibility is key, as it accommodates students who have difficulty attending the synchronous sessions at their set times.

The elective primarily teaches students that are pursuing non-radiology specialties, and because of this the instructors want the synchronous discussions to help students critically reflect on interprofessional issues in radiology and consider the perspectives of others. The instructors are excited for the grant, as they believe it will help them provide a better educational experience for the students. “It’s very humbling to have the opportunity to create new sessions to engage students with one another, and I’m incredibly grateful to the Instructional Continuity team for the award,” says Yang.

So far, the synchronous discussions sessions have been successful. “Though attendance at these sessions is optional, the first sessions have been well-attended. Students have provided informal feedback that they enjoy speaking with other students relative to posting on a discussion board,” says Yang.