Blood and Cerebrospinal Fluid Circulations in the Brain and Spinal Cord: An Internet-Based Learning Module
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The amount of knowledge and skills that an average university student should learn in any given course is increasing each year. On the other hand, the time dedicated for formal teaching is decreasing for various reasons. New and emerging topics need more time to cover. Newer approaches to learning place more emphasis on self-directed and interactive learning as opposed to didactic methods. Online learning is becoming a very popular method of delivering course materials, with institutions and students alike, that could very well restore the balance between time and content to be learnt. For institutions, it can free up time slots of busy lecture halls and seminar rooms, and valuable faculty time that could be utilized in research. For the learners, it means convenience in terms of when and where to study and at what pace. The topic of "Blood and Cerebrospinal fluid Circulations in the Brain and Spinal Cord" is a good example of anatomical content that can be presented as an online learning module. The idea stemmed from the movement of the medical school at Queen's University to revamp its curriculum with an expected reduction of the hours dedicated to Anatomy. Another initiative came from the clinical residents at the Kingston General Hospital, who expressed the interest of having learning materials made available online for quick reference and refreshment of knowledge. To address those needs and requests of the clinical residents, and to serve students in the Life Sciences, Medicine, and MSc Anatomy programs, an online learning module on the blood and cerebrospinal fluid circulations in the brain and spinal cord was created. Unique to the design of this online module is a virtual dialogue that covers the content of the topic and its appeal to a wide readership. For some it represents most of what they need to know, while for the others it would be an introduction or a quick refresher. It is designed in a way to mimic the interaction between the student and a professor with questions that stimulate and engage the learner. Finally, the basic knowledge presented was fortified with clinical scenarios that describe their application and utility in a clinical setting.