The programme is occupationally focussed. Cheetham & Chivers (1999) proposed a mix of specific attributes, which define an ideal occupational model. The modules within each level are intended to help students to develop the knowledge/cognitive competence, functional competence, personal or behavioural competence and values/ethical competence which comprise the occupational mix proposed. The teaching and learning strategies utilised are based on the following:
• The maintenance and development of academic and professional standards of provision;
• Providing the student with opportunities to develop a mastery of the subject, and to facilitate deep learning;
• The enablement of autonomy and inquiry within the student, which could lead to the establishment of a specialist reputation with the profession;
• An appreciation of the need for a flexible and adaptable approach to learning, thereby maintaining demand, currency, and compliancy in present and future provision;
• Establishing a supportive learning environment;
• The recognition of the students’ entitlement to information regarding expectation and performance;
• The need for the effective monitoring and evaluation of the provision according to the University’s requirements;
• Identifying opportunities that encourage academic and practical excellence;
• A strong focus on an effective and valuable staff development programme which is current and robust and which will enhance delivery of the provision;
• Active Learning as a focal strategy. Students will be expected to define their learning to meet the programme outcomes. Encounters within the classroom/ clinic with tutor / mentors and peers will involve debate and discussion based upon justified exemplars of practice dialectic relationship. The paradigm of a judicious dialectic approach in teaching and learning throughout the programme is a fundamental philosophy in the development of the programme.
In order to maximise the effectiveness of this approach it is imperative to adopt a number of underpinning strategies including:
• Classroom teachers also utilised as clinical tutors;
• The use of credit weighted e-Portfolio;
• Supported challenge of learning in the clinical environment;
• A broad approach in teaching & learning (both clinical & classroom);
• Peer review used as a learning tool;
• The effective use of Active Learning;
• A diverse intranet that can be fully utilised as a resource.
Throughout the programme students are encouraged to take an active role in developing their own learning and skills. A variety of strategies are employed in order to:
• Fulfil the aims and learning outcomes for each level and module;
• Ensure that any required Professional capabilities are met;
• Meet the needs of the students.
A range of learning opportunities will be provided including:
* Tutor led, used to convey critical information particularly to increase underpinning knowledge and facilitate understanding. Student participation is encouraged and will form the basis for student led discussions. The use of resources including PowerPoint, visual aids and models are commonplace. Practical sessions tutor demonstration and student participation sessions, which enables kinaesthetic learning to occur and encourages the development and refinement of psychomotor skills. The theory underpinning the practical sessions is always considered. Guided reading / directed study will be used to complement lectures and linked to formative and summative assessment in modules.
* All modules include this aspect of learning as it forms an integral part of the development of a broad knowledge base and encourages reflection on learning. The use of the internet and the Chester VLE is key and the tutor will usually, but not always guide the direction.
* These can be one to one or group based sessions. Individual tutorials provide the student with support for their own learning by offering them the opportunity to discuss their work and progress. They provide an opportunity for structured guidance on programme expectations to be given; for review and integration of student centred learning to be considered and for support in development of effective study skills to be identified. There is also a strong focus throughout the programme on the use of web-based tutorials and due to the nature of the programme these are encouraged and expected to form an integral part of the learning in each module. Each student is entitled to tutorial support and all are allocated personal Mentor at induction. These mentors may rotate each academic year giving the student the best possible exposure to staff as a resource. Group tutorials, forum discussions and web tutorials all enable the tutor to act as a facilitator for specific areas of discussion. The latter enable integration and clarification of classroom learning and are particularly useful in the clinical setting where students are able to discuss specific topics from a theoretical basis and to consider them in the light of practical / clinical experience. Whether in the clinic or the classroom, preparation is expected as this will maximise participation and enhance experience. Whilst there is no defined tutorial entitlement best practice suggests that the student should make contact with their mentor at least once per term and that at least one forum discussion question will be expected to be posted by tutors at the end of each teaching weekend for each module taught.
* In some modules role-play and simulation exercises provide students with the best opportunity to learn through experience. This is of great value in developing interpersonal skills.
Presentations / Seminars
* These can be individual or group based presentations. The presentations are followed by discussion. These sessions are extremely valuable in enabling the student to develop retrieval skills, alongside those of preparation, IT, teamwork and presentation skills. Peer review also forms a crucial part of these activities, as it will allow deep learning to be achieved and the students’ ability to confront uncertainty in current theory to be fully assessed.
* These sessions enable students to learn from peers, and also encourage critical thinking in a supportive atmosphere. They are useful in enabling students to challenge ideas. They can focus on specific discussion topics, case studies or problem solving exercises. They will often occur using the Chester VLE, but may also be classroom based.
Clinical Training forms an integral part of the programme and is designed to ensure transferability of knowledge base into the practice setting and develop clinical skills and competency.
* Part or all can be carried out on-line using the Chester VLE
At the Irish College of Osteopathic Medicine (ICOM), assessment methods will take several forms, but should comprise a blend of continuous assessments, practical and competency assessments and written exams.
Written and practical assessments in all appropriate areas will be undertaken usually at the end of each year or level completion.
The development of the course document has resulted in the generation of general module descriptors for each of the levels of the course. The content, structure and type of assessment selected provide a relevant framework within which a student has the opportunity to demonstrate their gradual acquisition and development of educational and professional capabilities as expressions of a growing depth and range of cognitive, psychomotor and affective skills. These have been mapped and summarised in Section 26.
The assessment strategy is primarily designed as a framework of increasingly complex challenges for the student. These are intended to motivate and inspire students to adopt a ‘deep’ approach to learning rather than a ‘surface’ or superficial approach. The purpose is to ensure that the personal aspect of final professional capability is acknowledged and rewarded as well as the obvious theoretical knowledge and practical skill elements. The assessment items are directly related to the learning outcomes of the relevant module in terms of knowledge, skills and beliefs. The progressive demand and expectation characterising each item reflects the level and location in the overall course. As this is a Professional course, it is essential that students reach a predetermined standard to progress, complete and finally qualify. Many of the assessment items are related to the current Professional capabilities, (expected by a National regulator, FORE, the WHO, GOsC or other relevant authority).
The form of the assessment and the vocabulary used by staff to express an assessment challenge will directly reflect the level of theoretical, practical and affective evidence anticipated to be consistent with the progression by a student at a particular stage in the course. This is of special significance in helping students and tutors to map the acquisition, consolidation and refinement of professional capabilities as the course progresses. It is accepted that clinical reasoning and the gradual acquisition of unique expression of practice knowledge by an individual student are difficult to assess. The structure, nature and diversity of clinic-based pro-formas, provide some basis for enabling this to be undertaken effectively. Where these are linked to the development of the e-P or the mapping of the individual’s ability to progressively demonstrate professional capabilities, they take on specific significance. Students are given the assessment dates at the start of each academic year.
The programme assessments can take a variety of formats and are designed to assess for the acquisition of both academic standing and Professional capabilities The following assessment types may be held at strategic points throughout the programme (for either formative or summative assessments). This list is not exhaustive: Assessments have been mapped across the programme to ensure a range appropriate to the module context is used.
* Unseen written short answer / long answer papers.
* Open book assignment
* Practical viva voce
* Practical including written component
* Case study
* Presentation & essay
* Critique of case history & reflective evaluation
* Case presentation, hypothesis & reflective evaluation
* Clinical assessment Projects
* e-Portfolio assignment
* Skills assignment
* Literature review
* Forum question discussion
* Seminar presentations Evaluation & Action Plan
* MICCA (Mock Internal Clinical Competence Assessment) ICCA (Internal Clinical Competence Assessment) FCCA (Final Clinical Competence assessment) OSPE (Objective Structured Practical Examination) POPLAR© (Presentation of Prior Learning And Reflection)
* Research Dissertation
Continuous formative assessment will occur within the classroom setting.
Additionally a module may require the submission of essays or other course work as part of the full module assessment. These assignments will be between 1500 - 2000 words in length. They will be assigned by topic and formally marked by a tutor. Students are required to upload the assignment to the VLE having previously utilised the anti-plagiarism software to ascertain its originality. Course work that involves project work, or other similar style of assignment must be submitted to the admin department by the given submission date.
By using this method of assessment learners will have an opportunity to practice presentation and communication skills by presenting case histories and taking part in seminars. The presentations may be carried out individually or as part of a group. The assessments will be both formative and summative. With group presentations each individual within the group will be assigned a particular task and will accrue a mark for that aspect, this is then added to a final group mark. Each individual will therefore be given a mark based upon the performance of their individual aspect and a collective group mark. The total of these two parts will form the mark for the presentation. This method will ensure that all members of the group participate within the task, and also that the group works collectively to gain a good group mark. The mark for the presentation will form part of that modules assessment mark.
Objective Structured Practical Examination (OSPE) is a system of examination that will be used in years 3 to 5. It has been found to be an excellent method of testing both theoretical and practical skills. The OSPE consists of a number of separate 'stations'. Each station contains an assessor, a task and any necessary examination equipment. Each will represent a different aspect of training that needs to be examined. The learner spends a set time at each station and moves from station to station until all have been completed. Marks for each station will be collated, moderated and an overall score awarded.
Short time frames are set aside during which students are assessed during their clinical experiences. Students are aware of the continuous assessment times. All tutors who have observed any particular student will moderate their marks to produce a collective mark for the student. Immediate feedback is essential and one of the tutors will be assigned responsibility to provide it. Continuous assessment can be either formative or summative.
Internal Clinical Competence Assessment (ICCA)
This assessment is carried out in the final year usually no less than three months before the scheduled FCCA. The purpose of this assessment is to act as a reference point for the tutor and student to be able to gauge their clinical standard prior to taking the FCCA. The student must pass the ICCA to be entered for the FCCA. An ICCA panel, which is composed of internal assessors involved in the assessment and an internal moderator consider all the students performances and will award a moderated mark to the student. Similarly, in some cases the assessment panel may recommend a student not be entered into the following FCCA and are entitled to suggest a necessary recommendation based upon the assessment and / or which may be necessary to give the student the best chance of succeeding at the FCCA. Possible actions suggested by ICCA Panel (this list is not exhaustive):
- Delay in sitting FCCA (time frame must be indicated e.g. 2 / 3 months)
- Retake of final year only with selected modules to be followed.
- Complete referral and retake of final year – including all modules.
- Complete retake of final level.
- Failure of course.
Any suggested action must be presented, with supporting evidence, to and approved by the Subject Assessment Board for ratification.
The ICCA is a formative assessment, which must be passed for the student to be entered into the FCCA.
Final Clinical Competence Assessment (FCCA)
This will take place in at the end of the final year. The FCCA is a summative assessment and carries 100% weighting of the Clinical Studies & Healthcare Practice 3 module. This module MUST be passed for eligibility to apply for professional registration. The learner is assessed on his/her competencies in treating patients within the clinical setting. This will provide an opportunity for the learner to demonstrate the skills she/he has gained in all the elements necessary for successful practice. It is envisaged that ICOM will invite Professional EU based external examiners to be part of the examining team for this examination. The student’s ability in eliciting information, taking a case history appropriate to making a diagnosis, formulation of a suitable treatment plan and the treatment itself will be assessed. It is also important to know when osteopathic treatment may not be appropriate for a patient and a learner will be assessed on abilities for knowing when to refer and to whom.
The FCCA could be looked upon as an extension of the learning experience and is an opportunity for the learner to demonstrate the full potential of what osteopathic healthcare has to offer, by integrating their learned knowledge and skills with their personal perspectives on healthcare. Students unable to pass the module after the normal reassessment opportunities are will be given the opportunity to exit with a BSc (Hons) Clinical Health Studies degree. This degree does not entitle them to practice as an Osteopath.
Presentation of Prior Learning and Reflection (POPLAR©), is a useful learning tool to enable students to develop creativity and quick thinking skills. POPLAR© is a modern variant of improvisation techniques combined with the reflective practice models and computer supported collaborative learning (CSCL) tools it aims to encourage peer group learning and problem solving skills. This strategy is totally unique and innovative in osteopathic education and to work effectively must make use of modern technology and tutor and student interaction. POPLAR© is best used as a formative assessment tool.