Case study - Large credit bearing modules with thematic streams to support student learning

Title of case study/example of best practice:Large credit bearing modules with thematic streams to support student learning
Lead Author(s):Rupal Lovell-Patel
Co-authors:Marie-Laure Orr, Catherine Collin, Caroline Chambers and Olaug Grude
University:University of Central Lancashire
 Lead Author email 
Details of the activity undertaken
Development of large modules with specific themes running within a module to ensure that students can learn a specific topic together rather than split across different modules. This helps students to understand how to pull together a holistic view of the patient’s care.
Impact of the activity

Our Optometry course has three modules only – each module runs across two semesters (an academic year). The first module focusses on anterior eye, refraction and binocular vision. The initial weeks focus on the anatomy of the anterior eye which then develops into assessing/measuring/viewing the anterior structures. The measuring and assessment of anterior structures such as the cornea, pupils and tear film lead into refraction and contact lens assessment.

Interwoven within this module is binocular vision and it is linked with how it can be incorporated within an eye examination; this helps student build a full eye exam. Some weeks will focus on binocular vision and paediatric care, however, most weeks have a mix of topics, so students are building their knowledge and skills as they progress through the module, for example:

In one week, students will have a lecture that covers: Structure and function of eyebrow, lacrimal system, tear composition in relation to cornea, orbit, eyelid and conjunctiva. Recognise normal healthy eye: lacrimal system, tear composition in relation to cornea, orbit, eyelid and conjunctiva.

This is followed by a lecture on: Slit-lamp theory and techniques so students can understand what they are looking at from their anatomy lecture and how to assess the structures.

The following week they would have a lecture on: Compare effects of ageing and disease on the anterior structure’s: lids, lashes, cornea and tear-film as well as musculature, blood and nerve supply. Identify allergic disease signs and symptoms. Identify infectious disease signs and symptoms. Identify traumatic disease signs and symptoms. Justify treatment plans for allergic, infectious, and traumatic anterior eye disease and wound healing so they can start applying their slit-lamp skills to understand the difference between normal anterior eye structures and pathological appearance.

The second module focusses on the posterior eye but subjects from the first modules are built on such as contact lens, binocular vision and low vision.

Having larger modules means that the whole team is involved in the teaching and students get different viewpoints from each of the each who bring their experience and subject specialism to the module. 

Theory exams for the large modules include content from all lectures so that students need to ensure that they have engaged with all the lectures. The exams are a mix of multiple-choice questions and short answer questions, each question is linked to the module learning outcomes as well as the GOC competencies so that when an exam is created, all module learning outcomes are covered along with all the lectures. Blue printing the exam helps to ensure that we have the learning outcomes covered.

For students, the large modules initially appear as daunting and they initially struggle with content that covers anatomy, physiology, clinical skills, communication skills, pathology, pharmacology, evidence-based practice and standards of practice but as they progress through the module, they can start to understand how to pull the varying information into an eye examination that focusses on the patient’s needs. The large modules allows students to develop a holistic view of eyecare.

This case study relates to the following GOC outcomes:

Outcome 1. Person Centred Care ☐

Outcome 2. Communication ☐

Outcome 3. Clinical Care ☐

Outcome 4. Ethics and Standards ☐

Outcome 5. Risk ☐

Outcome 6. Leadership and Management ☐

Outcome 7. Lifelong Learning ☐

Scaffolding/Student experience & engagement ☒