Improved learning experience with modified case studies courses in a pharmacy curriculum

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Background and purpose

Many pharmacy programs have dedicated case studies (CS) courses; however, universal standards on how to implement CS courses do not exist. Understanding the process of changing CS courses at an institution may help others to recognize and overcome potential barriers. This study describes the implementation process of changes that occurred in CS courses and evaluates the impact of the changes on students' learning experiences.

Educational activity and setting

Faculty members involved in CS courses made changes that focused on small group discussions, increasing faculty availability, decreasing student-to-faculty ratio, providing immediate and detailed feedback, and facilitating active learning. After the implementation of the new CS course design, two surveys were administered to evaluate the impact of the new design, one to a single cohort of pharmacy students and one to faculty involved in the CS courses.


Seventy-two students completed the survey (80% response rate). The majority of students preferred the following aspects of the new CS course design: more objective SOAP (subjective, objective, assessment, plan) note rubric with detailed descriptions on point allocation, small group discussion within a classroom, and faculty-facilitated case review in group discussion. Having the same, readily available instructors reviewing a case in each class was also an important factor in their learning experience. The faculty survey resulted in similar findings but with concerns of increased workload and teaching an unfamiliar topic.


Overall, the new CS course design provided a better learning experience for pharmacy students compared to the previous CS course design.

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Currents in Pharmacy Teaching and Learning





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This article was published in Currents in Pharmacy Teaching and Learning Volume 12, Issue 10, pages 1224-1238.

The published version is available at https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cptl.2020.05.005.

Copyright 2020 Elsevier Inc.

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