Medical education programs have emphasized the acquisition of basic scientific knowledge and practical skills in well-defined subject areas using lecture and role modeling as the principle means of instruction. The need to address changes in the practice environment, the recognition that alternative instructional models may be desirable in some cases, and the fact that instruction in the traditional subject areas does not prepare students for all aspects of medical practice have driven recent curricular changes at many schools. Indiana University School of Medicine, with multiple instructional sites distributed throughout the state, has adopted a school-wide plan that specifies desired educational outcomes and provides an instrument for rating student achievement. In this report we describe the implementation of new media and pedagogical methods in a two-semester medical pharmacology course with the goal of fostering and assessing competency in the nine areas outlined in this educational plan. The general conclusion is that these changes not only furthered the broader educational goals of the competency-based curriculum, but also may exert a positive influence on student learning of discipline-specific material.
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