Proceedings of The Physiological Society

Europhysiology 2018 (London, UK) (2018) Proc Physiol Soc 41, C123

Oral Communications

Teaching physiology to medical students in an integrated computer-assisted problem-based context

Y. M. ELWAZIR1, M. El-kherbetawy3, S. Hosny2

1. Medical Physiology, Suez Canal University, Ismailia, Ismailia, Egypt. 2. Histology, Genetics & Cell Biology, Suez Canal University, Ismailia, Egypt. 3. Pathology, Suez Canal University, Ismailia, Egypt.


Teaching basic sciences, including physiology, to medical students require innovative strategies that stress the relevance to their future profession. In response to this, many medical schools now have adopted integrated curricula in order to contextualize the teaching of basic sciences. However, at least some of these strategies do not achieve the desired actual integration. In this study, we evaluated the use of computer-based clinical cases in motivating the students to learn basic sciences, including physiology, in problem-based classes. The Faculty of Medicine in Suez Canal University adopt problem-based learning (PBL) as one of its main strategies. Starting in November 2010, the authors led a group of 10 students in the 3rd, 4th & 5th years who have strong computer skills to design 6 interactive problems in Internal Medicine and General Surgery. Scientific support was provided by subject experts in both departments. Each problem basically starts with a short video clip of a patient presenting his/her complaint with one of the students taking the relevant findings in the history. This is followed by a summary of the findings of the clinical examination and the relevant investigations. Throughout the case presentation, questions related to the basic and clinical sciences relevant to the case are inserted and the students have to discuss it and select an answer before proceeding to the next step. Following each question, explanation of the answers is complemented by audiovisual material that re-enforce the acquisition of basic science knowledge. After the classes, assessment of students' satisfaction was done using a 10-item anonymous questionnaire, with a 5 Likert scale for each item. Questions addressed their perceived effect in general, and the effect on brain storming, knowledge acquisition. The analysis showed that students believe that e-problems helped them to understand basic sciences better (79 %), learn deeper and remember longer ( 61%), participate more in discussions (70%), render PBL sessions more interesting (79% ), focus their discussion (63% ), In conclusion, computer-based cases can be used to stimulate the students to acquire relevant basic science knowledge and achieve a high level of integration. Also, this project presents a good example of how students can be motivated to help in improving their learning environment with a relatively low cost as compared to the professional case analysis computer programs.

Where applicable, experiments conform with Society ethical requirements