This paper reports on a pilot project to develop a collaborative partnership between a community college in rural northern Ontario, Canada, and an urban university in the greater Toronto area in Oshawa, Canada. Partner institutions will collaborate to address learning needs of university applicants whose goals are to attain an undergraduate university BA in Educational Studies and Digital Technology degree, but who may not live in a geographical location that would facilitate this pathways process. The UOIT BA degree is attained through a 2+2 program, where students with a 2 year college diploma or equivalent can attain a four year undergraduate degree. The goals reported on the project are as: 1. Our aim is to expand the BA program to include an additional stream which includes serious educational games, simulations and virtual environments, 2. Develop fully (using both synchronous and asynchronous technologies) online learning modules for use by university applicants who otherwise are not geographically located close to a physical university site, 3. Assess the digital competencies of all students, including members of local, distance and Indigenous communities using a validated tool developed and tested by UOIT across numerous populations. This tool, the General Technical Competency Use and Scale (GTCU) will provide the collaborating institutions with data that will allow for analyzing how well students are prepared to succeed in fully online learning communities. Philosophically, the UOIT BA program is based on a fully online learning communities model (FOLC) that can be accessed from anywhere in the world through digital learning environments via audio video conferencing tools such as Adobe Connect. It also follows models of adult learning and mobile learning, and makes a university degree accessible to the increasing demographic of adult learners who may use mobile devices to learn anywhere anytime. The program is based on key principles of Problem Based Learning, allowing students to build their own understandings through the co-design of the learning environment in collaboration with the instructors and their peers. In this way, this degree allows students to personalize and individualize the learning based on their own culture, background and professional/personal experiences. Using modified flipped classroom strategies, students are able to interrogate video modules on their own time in preparation for one hour discussions occurring in video conferencing sessions. As a consequence of the program flexibility, students may continue to work full or part time. All of the partner institutions will co-develop four new modules, administer the GTCU and share data, while creating a new stream of the UOIT BA degree. This will increase accessibility for students to bridge from community colleges to university through a fully digital environment. We aim to work collaboratively with Indigenous elders, community members and distance education instructors to increase opportunities for more students to attain a university education.
Problem based learning is one of the highly acclaimed learning methods in medical education since its first introduction at Mc-Master University in Canada in the 1960s. It has now been adopted as a teaching learning method in many medical colleges of Nepal. B.P. Koirala Institute of Health Sciences (BPKIHS), a health science deemed university is the second institute in Nepal to establish problem-based learning academic program and need-based teaching approach hence minimizing teaching through lectures since its inception. During the first two years of MBBS course, the curriculum is divided into various organ-systems incorporated with problem-based learning exercise each of one week duration.
While the problem based learning (PBL) approach promotes unsupervised self-directed learning (SDL), many students experience difficulty juggling the role of being an information recipient and information seeker. Logbooks have been used to assess trainee doctors but not in other areas. This study aimed to determine the effectiveness of logbook for assessing SDL during PBL sessions in first year medical students. The log book included a learning checklist and knowledge and skills components. Comparisons with the baseline assessment of student performance in PBL and that at semester end after logbook intervention showed significant improvements in student performance (31.5 ± 8 vs. 17.7 ± 4.4; p<0.001) with a large effect size of 3.93. The learner-s log for PBL has played an important role in enhancing SDL in first year medical students. Learner-s log could be a good self-assessment tool for the undergraduate medical students.