Chapter 1 Before you start clicking!

Please read this section before you click through the information in this document. Things I talk about here will help contextualize what you read and explain some of the features of this document. I first highlight some important information about the document analysis. I then provide a table of the courses whose docs were included in this document analysis.

1.1 Some important info

1.1.1 Purpose of this document

The information in this document is the result of a “document analysis” that I did in the summer of 2020. The testing team wanted to review documents from PCLN and SOM-Y1 courses that we had access to in order to get a better sense of what students have to do (real tasks) and the skills they need in order to be successul in their PCLN and SOM-Y1 academic lives. We all have a sense of what student life is like (e.g., students listen to a bunch of lectures and follow along in their .pdf handouts), but we thought this document analysis could reveal some additional insights that we wouldn’t have thought of as faculty on the outside looking in.

1.1.2 Overview of documents reviewed

We were given access to most—but not all—PCLN and SOM-Y1 courses’ Sakai pages. We were given access to 30/33 courses’ Sakai pages. We did not have access to PHYS 200 (“Physics for Life Sciences”), PCLN 380 (“Clinical Cases”), and PCLN 391 (“Interpreting Health Science Research”). Any document that we could download from a Sakai page was included in this analysis, such as handouts, worksheets, lecture PPTs, syllabi, etc. Documents that were not included were things like announcements. Note: These documents are from F19 and S20, so the S20 documents include pre–covid-19 and post–covid-19 docs.

1.1.3 The coding process

The coding process involved a couple steps. First, I read through a few courses’ Sakai pages to get a general sense of the tasks, skills, and other things students would need to do in their courses. Second, I read through all course documents in their entirety and modified the coding scheme (of tasks, skills, and other things) as I went along. Finally, I re-read through course documents one more time to mark whether or not a task, skill, or other thing was present or not in each course. In reading through BIOL 101’s documents, if students had to “Read a schedule” (a reading task), then I coded “1” for ‘Present’ and then moved on to the next skill, task, or thing in the coding scheme.

1.1.4 What I looked at

I did not read every document in painstaking detail because that would have taken too much time. Instead, I read syllabi in detail and scanned all other documents. In scanning, I paid particular attention to any bolded or highlighted text. Therefore, a course might ask students to compare or contrast something at some point, but, if that information was not prominent in any of the course documents, it wasn’t coded.

1.1.5 Use of Sakai for materials

Course faculty vary in how much they use their courses’ Sakai pages. Some faculty house all materials on their course’s Sakai page, but some faculty use Sakai minimally. Fortunately, most faculty seemed to use their Sakai pages extensively; only a few courses’ Sakai pages had a handful of documents. Therefore, we can use the information in this document to identify trends, but we can’t make sweeping claims, like “All PCLN students have to read textbook chapters!” Also, some faculty might do something that we can’t know about just from reading their Sakai course docs.

1.1.6 Mistakes abound

There will definitely be some mistakes in this document because I did the coding. I gathered information about skills and tasks, but I also gathered some info that I was interested in (such as specific types of MCQs) that could be useful for developing our new test. If you notice something weird, just make a note of it and let me or the testing team know!

1.1.7 The structure

This book is organized in terms of major sections that I coded for in the data. For each sub-skill or task in this document, I provide an example from a course doc. Each sub-skill or task also has a number next to it, such as 7/30, which means this sub-skill or task appeared in at least one document in 7 of the 30 courses’ Sakai pages we had access to. This number should give a sense of the range or extent to which a sub-skill or task appears across PCLN and SOM-Y1 courses. I also provide a list of the 7 courses in whose documents the sub-skill or task appeared.

Here is an example MCQ from BIOL 220. In this example, this particular type of MCQ appeared in at least one document in 11/30 courses. The 11 courses are listed below the example.

Calculate MCQs 11/30

Students have to compute or calculate a value in order to select the best answer.

BIOL 220

A fruit fly population has a gene with two alleles, A1 and A2. Tests show
that 70% of the gametes produced in the population contain the A1 allele. If
the population is in Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium, what proportion of the
flies carries both A1 and A2?

a.) 0.70
b.) 0.49 
c.) 0.21 
d.) 0.42 
e.) 0.09 

BIOL 220, BIOL 221, BIOL 320, BIOL 331, BIOL 401, BIOL 441, CHEM 122, CHEM 124, CHEM 224, CHEM 450, PCLN 301

1.2 Sakai courses with docs included

The following table provides the list of courses whose Sakai course docs were included in the document analysis. Note that three courses’ docs were not included in the analysis. These three courses’ docs were not included either because a faculty did not want to give us Sakai access to their course’s Sakai page or, after many emails and office drop-ins, we just haven’t gotten access yet.

BIOL 101 Anatomy & Physiology I Yes
BIOL 202 Anatomy & Physiology II Yes
BIOL 220 General Biology & Lab Yes
BIOL 221 Human Biology & Lab Yes
BIOL 320 Genetics Yes
BIOL 321 Molecular Biology Yes
BIOL 331 Molecular Biology Lab Yes
BIOL 401 Microbiology & Lab Yes
BIOL 441 Physiology Yes
BIOL 460 Human Anatomy Yes
CHEM 122/123 General Chemistry & Lab Yes
CHEM 124/125 General Chemistry II & Lab Yes
CHEM 222/223 Organic Chemistry & Lab Yes
CHEM 224/225 Organic Chemistry II & Lab Yes
CHEM 450 Biochemistry Yes
CHEM 451 Biochemistry Lab Yes
COMH 201 Community Health Yes
COMP 111 Computer Concepts Yes
ENGL 213 College English II Yes
GE-AH General Education Arts & Humanities Yes
MATH 131 Math for Physical Sciences Yes
MATH 220 Statistics (GE-Math) Yes
NUTR 201 Nutrition Yes
PCLN 301 Learning Strategies Yes
PCLN 302 CHP I Yes
PCLN 380 Clinical Cases No
PCLN 391 Interpreting Health Science Research No
PHYS 200 Physics for Life Sciences No
PSYC 201 Intro to Psychology Yes
PSYC 411 Intro to Psychopathology Yes
PUBH 302 Public Health Yes
SSCI 412 Social Science & Medicine Yes