Harden’s ten questions is a tool to identify errors and improve course planning: personal perspective. Introduction: Cyberjaya University College of Medical Sciences (CUCMS) is a new private university, launched in 2005 at Cyberjaya, Malaysia. Currently, it contains two faculties: Medicine and Pharmacy. It is always difficult for new lecturers to design and deliver a new course or curriculum without prior experience. Harden (1986) proposed `Ten questions to ask when planning a course or a curriculum` and review of that paper provides a good start towards evaluating, planning and improving a course.
The implementation of these 10 questions for Toxicology course within pharmacy program in CUCMS is as follows: 1. What are the needs in relation to the product of the training programme? The Pharmacy Programme of CUCMS is designed to produce pharmacists who are strong with basic medical sciences and lifelong learners. It is essential that the graduates produced by CUCMS are able to fulfil the requirements of the government of Malaysia and also with vision for the future direction of pharmacy practice in an organized and integrated health care delivery system in three niche areas; Clinical, Military and Emergency & disaster pharmacy.
To achieve these needs the graduate should be able to acquire good communication and teamwork skills in hospital setting as well as good managerial skills in military and disaster toxicology settings. 2. What are the aims and objectives? The Toxicology course aims and objectives serve -To teach principles of general toxicology and risk assessment, -To identify and describe important toxic responses in human body organ system, -To describe the important environmental, military and occupational toxicants, -To describe, analyse and manage common types of poisons. 3.
What contents should be included? Toxicology course provide the students the building block of knowledge. Suggested content could be included -Toxicokinetics & Toxicodynamics -Toxicity testing & risk assessment -Effect of different toxic substances on body systems -Potential sources for toxic substances -Complications of toxic exposure -Preventive measures -Clinical toxicology & Anti-toxic drugs -Ethical issues related -Medico-legal aspects -Chemical and biological warfare -Training in National Poison Centre. -Lab experiments. 4. How should the contents be organized?
Organising the contents is an issue that have a central importance in delivery of any curriculum or course, and because this course has 28 credit hour/semester, i. e. 2 contact hour/week. I felt it would be necessary to divide the course to different phases. Phase (1) begins from the basic knowledge of toxicology such as toxicokinetics, toxicodynamics, routes of exposure and toxicity testing. Phase (2) study the pathophysiology of specific organ toxicity, and phase (3) focus on environmental and military toxicology and finally phase (4) toxidromes and antidotes in hospital settings. . What educational strategies should be adopted? Malaysian Pharmacy Board implies that conversion and adoption of new teaching approaches should be carried out gradually. Hence, the approaches which were taken to conduct toxicology course principally were old approaches such as teacher-centered classes (55%), information gathering and standard-based which constitute about 10% of the course. Thirty percent was mainly in the form of student-centered learning (SCL). Small group sessions and group presentation was done for two topics (5%).
In the coming future, I feel we must incorporate problem-based learning and electives, this will develop the critical thinking and the students will be able to choose which aspect of toxicology they wish to study as we plan three paths of CUCMS Pharmacy curriculum niche areas as stated earlier. But such activity might necessitate increment of contact hour to 3 hour/week. 6. What teaching methods should be used? Basically, the course had been utilised three teaching methods, whole-class lectures, small-group discussions and group-assignment as written reports.
The teaching tool which had utilised is the slides. I feel it will be helpful to use more teaching methods in the future like group visits and computer based programmes . 7. How should assessment be carried out? Assessment was carried out by summative assessment in the form of mid-semester and final examinations which form 70%, in addition to formative assessment in form of tutorials which form 10%. Informal assessment is used for individual student participation in student-centred learning and group assignment evaluation which form 10%.
As we adopted Affective domain program in CUCMS, to assess the students’ attitude and punctuality, there was 10% reflected from affective domain. Mid-semester and final examinations were composed of Multiple-Choice Questions (MCQs), Short-Answer Questions (SAQs) and essay questions. 8. How should details of the curriculum be communicated? In previous year, direct communication to the students was taken, at the class. This year I was communicating with the students using the university web portal and email, although the students were responding to a common email.
The guide book was given at the beginning of the semester; it contains all the syllabi and assessment method. Then materials, assignments were sent and what the students should prepare for SCL through the email. 9. What educational environment or climate should be fostered? Long-life and self-learning was encouraged by making the student preparing for the classes using SCL approach, while small group discussion and group assignment to foster comfortable teamwork environment.
Computers and library were accessible to facilitate students’ self-study. 10. How should the process be managed? End of semester feedback from lecturer and students’ feedback was done, analysis, evaluation of feedback to discuss in faculty meeting to identify the strength and weaknesses of the course. Regular curriculum committe meetings and input from various stakeholders. Students participation and input in some decision making sessions. Faculty development plans and training should be carried out.