Using clickers to engage pharmacy students across multiple campuses

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When you teach at a University with multiple campuses (in our case, Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach in Florida and Ponce in Puerto Rico) even with live, interactive videoconferencing – you have to try and figure out ways to connect with your students at different sites. We’ve tried different methods over the years with varying success, but one that worked well early on was the use of  an audience response system (aka clickers). This is something I talked about previously in the presentation, “The Science Behind Engaging Students in Class“.

Our recent article in the American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education basically describes our multi-campus implementation and measurement of its impact on student engagement, satisfaction, and opinions about projected use of clickers in other courses. We also touched on related issues, such as clickers’ possible role in helping desensitize communication apprehension in students.


Clauson KA, Alkhateeb FM, Singh-Franco D. Concurrent use of an audience response system at a multi-campus college of pharmacy. American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education. 76(1):6.

Knowledge, Skills, and Resources for Pharmacy Informatics Education

The most recent issue of the American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education featured a Technology in Pharmacy Education section.  There is some really interesting reading in this section including, “Use of Twitter to Encourage Interaction in a Multi-campus Pharmacy Management Course” by @Brent_Fox.  Brent actually authored several articles including, “Knowledge, Skills, and Resources for Pharmacy Informatics Education“, which he wrote along with the newly installed Chair of the ASHP Informatics Section Allen Flynn, informatics luminary and frontliner Chris Fortier (@FortiPharm), and I.  With this article, we tried to summarize the baseline informatics knowledge that pharmacy students should possess upon graduation, framed within med use processes.  My hope is that it will be of real practical use to educators and others as specific recommendations are provided regarding activities and resources for class and curricular integration, rather than just observations made from 30,000 feet.  Also, as with all articles in AJPE, this one is open access (OA) in that it can be accessed free, full-text by anyone.


Source: Fox BI, Flynn AJ, Fortier CR, Clauson KA. Knowledge, skills, and resources for pharmacy informatics education. Am J Pharm Educ. 2011;75(5):Article 93.

Pimp My Poster

Like many colleges of pharmacy, ours added a seminar component years ago. The seminar has since been expanded to include a paper, a poster, and a podium presentation.  The topics range from literature-driven examinations of therapeutic controversies to original research tied to the faculty mentor’s specialty.  This year I was responsible for the recitation on the poster component.  This slide deck is what I used for that lecture.  Two particularly notable resources for me in assembling this lecture included the piece in The Scientist that inspired the name [1] and the site maintained by the Godfather of Scientific Posters: Dr. Colin Purrington [2].  If you want to dig a little deeper, here are my current favorite articles on the topic as well [3-5].  The full-text of all of these journal articles is currently available online for free.

I’ve benefitted from attending a lot of conferences over time and have seen (and continue to see) posters that are masterful creations, along with others that are absolute rubbish.  I posted the ‘Pimp My Poster’ slide deck here in hopes that it may be a resource to others, but am also keen for feedback to improve it for future iterations. 


[1]  Westly E. Pimp my poster. The Scientist 2008;22(10):22.
[2]  Purrington CB. Advice on designing scientific posters. 2009. Accessed February 2, 2011.
[3]  Erren TC, Bourne PE. Ten simple rules for a good poster presentation. PLoS Comput Biol 2007;3(5):e102.
[4]  Hamilton CW. At a glance: a stepwise approach to successful poster presentations. Chest 2008;134(2):457-9.
[5]  Wood GJ, Morrison RS. Writing abstracts and developing posters for national meetings. J Palliat Med 2011 Jan 17 [Epub ahead of print].

Influx of Foreign Pharmacy Graduates

A  paper of ours titled, “Global Education Implications of the Foreign Pharmacy Graduate Equivalency Examination” was just published in the American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education.  It was the brainchild of Dr. Fadi Alkhateeb, who suggested we examine the history and trends of the Foreign Pharmacy Graduate Equivalency Examination.  It was an interesting topic for me as we have an International PharmD program at my University and I have recently been involved with the interview process for those candidates.  My hope is that the review sheds some light on the process and highlights the development of the Big Five candidate countries (i.e., India, Phillipines, Korea, Egypt, Nigeria).  The paper also covers some of the potential for future research in this area.  I think it will be of growing importance as we continue to see an influx of foreign pharmacists looking to practice in the US as well as learn about the the practice of clinical pharmacy to take back to their home countries.


How to Fight Lecturalgia

I just had the opportunity to visit Tallahassee for the Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) Faculty Planning mini conference. I was there to present about the use of an audience response system as a way to increase student engagement along with its other benefits (and hurdles). It ended up being one of the best presentations I have given over the last several months because the attendees (faculty from various colleges at FAMU) were so inquisitive! Sometimes presentations don’t generate questions because they are not interesting or relevant; sometimes it is because there isn’t sufficient time allotted, etc. In this case, there was enough time and I got some great questions. I also conducted the session while using an audience response system, which helped stimulate discussion and questions after the fact.

I have posted the slide deck on Slideshare, which can be accessed by clicking on the title slide or here.


Disclosure: Presentation was part of TurningPoint Technologies Distinguished Educator lecture series.

Superiority, Equivalence, and Non-inferiority Trial Design Lecture – Web 2.0 Style

A couple of weeks ago I read a very thoughtful post on one of my favorite blogs (authored by @laikas).  One reason I enjoy Jacqueline’s blog is that it contains evaluation (or at minimum consideration) of the information and literature that its posts are written about…rather than simply repackaging it without any context.  I do believe there is also clear value for blog posts that primarily serve current awareness, etc.  However, when a blog is augmented with the occasional reflective or methodical examination, it is elevated to a different level IMHO.  It’s somewhat akin to the difference in nominations for the medGadget Awards versus the Research Blogging Awards (chapeau tip to @DrVal).  The information found in both award contenders is valuable, but serves different purposes.     

In any event, the post about randomized, controlled trials (RCTs) and evidence based medicine (EBM) on Laika’s MedLibLog made me reconsider a lecture I had just finished putting together on trial design for a Drug Literature Evaluation course.  In that course, there are several lectures on different types of trial design as well as separate ones about EBM and clinical practice guidelines (CPGs) –  but they are all probably a little too insular.  Each lecture may be a little too focused on the technical aspects, and guilty of ignoring how each fits into the grand scheme of things.

The Point Of All This

When I first prepared my lecture on trial design, I think I was too preoccupied with conveying the importance of fundamentals to the students.  Reading the aforementioned post made me re-think my approach a bit and prompted me to revise the lecture/slides to incorporate a little more integration and application.  To that end, I posted them on Slideshare.  For me, this sequence of events is a perfect example of the underlying concepts of Web 2.0 in action…and that’s pretty cool.


P.S. I used the Guided Notes approach (which is why it looks like there is a preponderance of underlined text) and an audience response system in this lecture.