Special Article
June 1998

Interactive Mechanisms for Teaching Dermatology to Medical Students

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Dermatology, The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas.


Copyright 1998 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.1998

Arch Dermatol. 1998;134(6):725-728. doi:10.1001/archderm.134.6.725

Objectives  To develop interactive teaching mechanisms for an "Introduction to Dermatology" course for medical students and to compare the effectiveness and impact of these mechanisms on learning.

Design  Survey and before-after trial.

Setting  Medical school.

Participants  Second-year medical students (approximately 200 per year).

Main Outcome Measures  The teaching mechanisms were evaluated through responses to questionnaire-based course evaluations (survey). The impact of the CD-ROM program was assessed by performance in Kodachrome slide–based multiple choice examinations (before-after trial).

Results  Overall the course was highly rated and among its components, the live-patient sessions, the CD-ROM program, and the poster exhibit were rated most effective. There was no difference in the examination performance of students who took the course before and after inclusion of the CD-ROM program. High-scoring students attended a significantly greater number of lectures in comparison with low-scoring students.

Conclusions  The 3 teaching mechanisms judged by students to be most effective were also the most visual and interactive, suggesting that these attributes are critical to learning dermatology. On the other hand, addition of the CD-ROM program failed to produce differential improvement in short-term cognitive skills.