University of Pittsburgh

Curriculum Innovation Initiative

What is the Curriculum Innovation Initiative?

  • The Curriculum Innovation Initiative is a project designed to give students the opportunity to work with Course Directors to design new learning tools, or modify existing ones.  It should reflect the perspectives and skill in the student’s particular areas of interest and provide them with experience in Medical Education.
  • Students will work with Course Directors to hone a project that has the aim and potential of improving some aspect of the particular course that the Course Director oversees.

What are the benefits?

  • The student gains valuable experience in Medical Education, a certificate of completion for participation in the project and/or a description of the project in their Dean’s Letter for residency applications.
  • The Course Director benefits from a skilled outside perspective and help to implement positive change.
  • Future classes benefit from the creation or modification of learning resources.

How do I (the student) proceed?

  • Write a brief paragraph describing your particular interests. You may have a specific idea in mind (rewriting a syllabus chapter, putting together a VPSIM module, designing clinical vignettes, creating practice problems,or finding valuable web-based material).  If you are simply interested in working on a particular course, describe areas that you think might be enhanced.
  • Submit your paragraph to the Chair of the CC and the Assistant Dean for Medical Education. This paragraph should also be sent to the student curriculum representative for the Curriculum Innovation Initiative.

Note: This is a very light screening process. The basic idea is to ascertain whether or not your idea is feasible and appropriate with respect to time.  The Curriculum Committee as well as OMED would also like to monitor levels of student interest and connect students with similar interests.

  • If you have not already done so, approach a Course Director via an email to assess interest in your proposal. If the course director is interested, schedule a meeting to discuss the proposal.  Keep in mind that a course director will also have ideas for course improvement.  If, after discussions, you want to change some of your aims or add new ideas, you can submit a modified description of your initiative.
  • If you would like aid in crafting a proposal, feel free to talk to Dr. Rosenstock, and/or Dr. Lance-Jones.

Implementing your initiative.

  • The Course Director will mentor the student through the curriculum innovation and modification process, directing the student’s work in such a way as to develop a resource capable of being integrated in the curriculum or to improve the quality of learning materials.
  • Students may choose to work collaboratively with other students.  Two students might work with a course director on the same project.  Alternatively, students interested in a similar type of improvement (i.e. web-based modules) might work together but on separate courses. 

Some words of caution.

  • Because this is a pilot program, we cannot guarantee that everyone who wants to participate can do so. Your participation and success is contingent upon convincing a course director that your idea will fill a significant curricular gap, and then following through on that idea. Please also recognize that time constraints and/or major changes in course content and extent may mean that a course director cannot consider your proposal at the current time.
  • It may not always be possible to include a new resource created by a student through the CII (due to course redesign or time constraints). The student will be recognized for successful completion of the project, whether or not innovations are incorporated into the curriculum (see benefits).