Learning and teaching on the Global Health BSc
The GH BSc course has always had a focus on active learning. As a result of the recent curriculum review, we have transformed the course so that most learning objectives are delivered through active, student-centered learning methods. This means that for the academic year 2020-21, some parts of our contents will be delivered as traditional lectures by world-leading academics, whilst most of the curriculum will be delivered through innovative teaching methods such as flipped classrooms, seminars, team-based learning and experiential learning blended learning. A novel component is the Community Groups Placement in Module 2. This takes an experiential learning approach and aims to equip students with transferrable skills in global health leadership.
We encourage students to approach the course as active learners and expect that students engage with the teaching activities, preparation tasks and with teamwork activities. One aim of the course is to learn to ask critical questions, take part in discussions and construct arguments in debates. Our class discussions are often a memorable part of the course for both students and staff.
The Global Health BSc also includes the Small Group Tutorial scheme. Tutors and students meet fortnightly which provide a supportive space for students to discuss any reflections or ideas that may come up throughout the course of the year. The role of tutorials is mostly to support students in their learning experience, ensure they know where to access pastoral support, debrief and share reflections from the work undertaken during the community groups placements.
The Global Health BSc has a long tradition of including its alumni in teaching activities. Alumni have also been involved formally in the recent curriculum review. We have involved StudentShaper as a part of the team who collaboratively designed a key authentic assessment for the course, based around data analysis and communication of infectious disease data from the Aleppo Governorate in Syria, and the military attacks on healthcare in this area. The assessment was designed collaboratively with a range of partners across sectors (e.g. civil society/NGO and academic), expertise (e.g. quantitative and qualitative research methods, lived experience of providing healthcare in Syria, international humanitarian policy-making and healthcare and data visualisation) and roles (e.g. student and educator). The project was supported by a StudentShaper award for an alumnus to be fully involved in the educational design process.
In spring/summer 2020, we were awarded a StudentShapers award to include 2 students as part of the course team to redesign the course for remote delivery for the autumn term of the 2020/21 academic year. You can read about Vicki’s and Amelia’s experiences as StudentShapers below.
How we involve students and alumni in creating course design
The Global Health BSc was set up in 2010 in response to students who demanded to learn Global Health as part of their BSc years. Since then, we have aimed to maintain and develop this student-centered beginning. One way we have done this is by involving alumni in teaching and small group tutoring on the course.
We find this enhances the vibrant community of GH BSc alumni that the course is creating, and helps cohorts get to know each other. We also work on the principle that students and alumni are best placed to say what works in teaching and we aim to work in partnership, integrating their expertise into our educational work.
Recently, we have been granted awards from the StudentShaper scheme of Imperial College London, to involve students and alumni in more formal ways in our curriculum review (in 2019 and in 2020). You can read StudentShaper testimonials below.
Vicki Pilkington (StudentShaper for the Global Health BSc 2019)
"As a student shaper I had the opportunity to be involved in the design of a new assessment for the Global Health BSc. I was part of a collaborative education design team and I represented the student perspective in a group which included epidemiologists, data-analysts, clinical consultants and health-policy advisors. I was able to influence the design of the assessment from early stages and advocate for a project that was interesting, relevant and reflective of real-world practice.
I applied to be a Student Shaper because I wanted to stay involved in the Global Health teaching team and get experience in medical education. I really enjoying my Global Health BSc, and I particularly loved doing my project, which was in HIV prevention. In the year after I completed by BSc, I continued research with my project research group. I ran tutorials and sessions to support the new cohort of BSc students with their assessments as Education Officer for Students for Global Health Imperial. This meant I’d been able to keep up to date with a lot of the changes to the curriculum that had already been made.
From the start of the assessment design process, being on a large, highly-qualified team could have been daunting, but I always felt able to comment openly on ideas and welcomed to give my honest opinions. I genuinely felt that my thoughts were given a lot of weight by senior members of the team. My student perspective on aspects from logistics of working hours and attendance, to ability levels, assessment content and structure seemed genuinely valuable.
My Student Shaper project helped to steer the design of a new assessment towards what I would have wanted to have done during my BSc. It also developed my skills in clear communication, planning and combining individual contributions towards a team goal. The experience has been helpful for job applications, future clinical practice and in working within research groups. It also gave me a chance to see the other side of medical education and taught me a lot about the aims, logistics and specific considerations for education design."
Amelia Kataria Golestaneh (StudentShaper for the Global Health BSC 2020)
"Becoming a StudentShaper has been an incredible learning curve for me as I delved into the world of teaching and curriculum development. This unique opportunity as a student to assist decisions about what is taught, how it is delivered, creating timetabled sessions that transformed from ideas to palpable end products was so exciting and empowering. Global Health is a field like no other, with this course inspiring my learning beyond the curriculum and crystallizing my future in Global Health."
Lillian Liu (StudentShaper for the Global Health BSC 2020)
As a BSc Global Health StudentShaper and alumna, I have felt extremely fortunate to work with such an inspiring and genuinely caring teaching team. The exceptional student engagement and partnership opportunities in this course made me realise the amount of thought, resources and time that go into creating such a rich curriculum. With the unique position of initially receiving and then going on to help develop the curriculum for incoming students, I felt that the student voice was always listened to and valued. We have worked on improving preparation for summative assessments, as well as promoting student-led discussions particularly during online learning.