A Tale of Two Evaluations

By Courtney Becks, Engage Communications
February 18, 2013

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Four School of Pharmacy professors presented their Fall 2012-2013 Situated Learning Award projects’ evaluation findings to a packed room on Feb 13.

“A Tale of Two Evaluations: Some Assessment Outcomes From Two Applications of CSCR in Pharmacy Classes,”—the presentation given by Susanne Barnett, Casey Gallimore, Steven Oakes, and Denise Pigarelli, all clinical professors—yielded some of the most exciting results presented at an Engage event.

Their projects used Engage’s Case Scenario/Critical Reader (CSCR) authoring tool to help students master the critical interactive situations unique to their fields of study. CSCRs synthesize text, images, video and audio, quiz questions, and feedback.

Barnett and Gallimore presenting

Their strength is creating situations in which students can lose themselves.

“Educational innovation needs to have a focus on realism,” Academic Technology Evaluator Joshua Morrill said.

Realism or verisimilitude was also the professors’ main evaluation concern.

“I was surprised with how real this was,” Oakes said.

Oakes and Pigarelli created a module for their Nonprescription Medications course that guided participants through a scenario in which they, taking on the role of third-year pharmacy students doing nonprescription medicine rotations in a community pharmacy, interact with an older adult customer to help find the best over-the-counter product for his symptoms.

Oakes and Pigarelli presenting

The module Barnett and Gallimore developed for their Pharmacotherapy course piloted participants in the role of pharmacy students working in an outpatient clinic through an interaction with an arthritis patient.

Uniquely, Barnett and Gallimore were able to do a quasi-experiment assessment. This evaluation design is seldom seen, Gallimore said, because of the assessment resources and subject numbers required. Even more promising for their blended learning approach is the fact that 72.2% of students using CSCR reported increased confidence in talking with an older adult customer—compared to 65% of students using traditional methods like handouts or books.

Josh Morrill presenting

Pigarelli had perhaps the strongest praise.

“In the 16 years I’ve taught, I’ve never seen a group of students as engaged or contributory as I saw that day in the follow-up session,” Pigarelli said.

Engage helps faculty address teaching and learning challenges through theme-based award programs, fostering partnerships that explore and evaluate solutions and tools, and disseminating teaching and learning innovations at UW-Madison and beyond.

The next Engage Situated Learning community event is scheduled for March 12.