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SHORT COMMUNICATION
Year : 2021  |  Volume : 48  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 52-53

Introducing electives in the undergraduate medical training period: Points to ponder


1 Medical Education Unit Coordinator and Member of the Institute Research Council, Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth – Deemed to be University, Ammapettai, Nellikuppam, Chengalpet, Tamil Nadu, India
2 Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth – Deemed to be University, Ammapettai, Nellikuppam, Chengalpet, Tamil Nadu, India

Date of Submission27-Nov-2020
Date of Acceptance21-Feb-2021
Date of Web Publication5-May-2021

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Saurabh RamBihariLal Shrivastava
Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth (SBV) – Deemed to be University, Thiruporur - Guduvancherry Main Road, Ammapettai, Nellikuppam, Chengalpet - 603 108, Tamil Nadu
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/jss.jss_113_20

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  Abstract 


The period of undergraduate medical training is fully packed owing to the extensive amount of information and skills that needs to be passed on to the medical students. This calls for the need to incorporate an elective within the curriculum that gives an opportunity to the students to not only opt for their preferences but also to suit their career likings. While designing an elective course, it is a must that the organizers should state the specific learning objectives, the duration of the course with scheduling and timetabling of the sessions, the course organizer, resource materials, and prerequisites for joining the elective. Moreover, due consideration has to be given toward carrying out the evaluation of the elective course. In conclusion, electives represent an important aspect of the medical training and prepare the students for their future career by increasing vocational opportunities. The need of the hour is that all the medical institutions should sensitize the faculty members and initiate a series of elective courses for the benefit of students.

Keywords: Assessment, elective, reflection, undergraduates


How to cite this article:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS. Introducing electives in the undergraduate medical training period: Points to ponder. J Sci Soc 2021;48:52-3

How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS. Introducing electives in the undergraduate medical training period: Points to ponder. J Sci Soc [serial online] 2021 [cited 2021 Jun 17];48:52-3. Available from: https://www.jscisociety.com/text.asp?2021/48/1/52/315447




  Introduction Top


The period of undergraduate medical training is fully packed owing to the extensive amount of information and skills that needs to be passed on to the medical students.[1] However, all this is done without giving any sort of flexibility or choice for the student during their entire duration of the training. This calls for the need to incorporate an elective within the curriculum that gives an opportunity to the students to not only opt for their preferences but also to suit their career likings, which might be of use in their future.[1] It is quite obvious that the range of electives offered to the student by a medical college will depend on the available logistics and other administrative or faculty support.[2]


  Scope of Electives Courses Top


The provision of an elective course to an undergraduate medical student lays down the foundation for them to become a self-directed learner, primarily because of the very fact that these courses are opted by the students on their own.[3] At the same time, it shifts the type of teaching-learning in the favor of students and makes it as a student-centered aspect of the curriculum, wherein the learner takes the responsibility of their learning and are actively engaged in the same.[2],[3] In general, these small duration courses can cover the fields of research, education, community postings, or other specialty-specific courses (namely, laboratory electives, palliative care, neurology, and emergency medicine).[1],[2]


  Essential Considerations Top


While designing an elective course, it is a must that the organizers should state the specific learning objectives, the duration of the course with scheduling and timetabling of the sessions, the course organizer, resource materials, and prerequisites for joining the elective.[2],[3],[4] The administrators should ensure that the time allocated for pursuing an elective course should not be utilized for meeting the shortage of attendance in other subjects. As an institution, the list of all the electives should be displayed to all the students right at the start of the academic year, including those which might require partnership from the neighboring institutions or agencies.[3],[4],[5] It is also essential to include the name of the coordinating faculty and the number of candidates permitted to join the course after giving due consideration for the available resources.[1],[2]


  Assessments in Elective Courses Top


Further, the course should clearly specify the nature of the assessments included in the course to judge whether the students have met the intended learning objectives at the time of completion of the course.[3] The students can be assessed either during the course or toward the end and can be given feedback or grades by the assessor. The assessment can be done either in terms of measuring the attendance percentage or completion of a logbook or the submission of a project work or evidence for learning or any assignment (namely presentation in a seminar or in a conference) or recording the reflections on learning.[3],[4] The process of reflective writing makes the learning deep and envisages critical thinking.


  Evaluation and Role of Faculty Development Top


Moreover, due consideration has to be given toward carrying out the evaluation of the elective course to ascertain the effectiveness of the program and to modify the course for the future batches of undergraduate medical students.[2],[5] The successful implementation of the elective course in an institution essentially requires faculty development and thus they should be sensitized about the different aspects of the elective course and the need for the same in the current era.[4],[5] This calls for an active role of the Curriculum Committee and the Medical Education Unit of the institution and it has to be supplemented by the support from the administration.


  Conclusion Top


Electives represent an important aspect of the medical training and prepare the students for their future career by increasing vocational opportunities. The need of the hour is that all the medical institutions should sensitize the faculty members and initiate a series of elective courses for the benefit of students.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
  References Top

1.
Suzuki T, Nishigori H. National survey of international electives for global health in undergraduate medical education in Japan, 2011-2014. Nagoya J Med Sci 2018;80:79-90.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Nordhues HC, Bashir MU, Merry SP, Sawatsky AP. Graduate medical education competencies for international health electives: A qualitative study. Med Teach 2017;39:1128-37.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Lumb A, Murdoch-Eaton D. Electives in undergraduate medical education: AMEE Guide No. 88. Med Teach 2014;36:557-72.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
Comeaux Z. International health electives: Strengthening graduate medical education. J Am Osteopath Assoc 2013;113:446-7.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
Ehn S, Agardh A, Holmer H, Krantz G, Hagander L. Global health education in Swedish medical schools. Scand J Public Health 2015;43:687-93.  Back to cited text no. 5
    




 

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Abstract
Introduction
Scope of Electiv...
Essential Consid...
Assessments in E...
Evaluation and R...
Conclusion
References

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