In This Issue
Director's Message
Director photo

Remember When Books Were Printed on Paper?

Most of us grew up thinking of books as weighty...tactile... substantial...particularly when it came to textbooks and reference books. In some disciplines, books have been a kind of academic currency. But times have changed, and while still valuable, e-books are a virtual medium that have changed publishing and are changing education too.


How can e-books change medical education? Here is a fine example that I want to highlight. The e-book Clinical Teaching Guidebook by Deirdre Bonnycastle (University of Saskatchewan) was published in July 2013. The audience for this e-book is clinical faculty and the purpose of this e-book is to provide answers to seven common questions about clinical teaching:
  • How do medical students learn?
  • What does the clerk/resident need to know?
  • How do I prepare my office for students?
  • How do I help with the learning process?
  • What technology might help me/my students?
  • How do I assess how much the clerk/resident has learned?
  • How do I evaluate my skills as a preceptor?

Although the book was designed to be used as a resource in a flipped classroom setting, many faculty, residents and community preceptors will find the content useful for their own self-directed learning in this area. I am sure others will see it as a gateway to the many possibilities of e-books for education and professional development.


There is a chapter dedicated to each of the questions above and the author presents information relevant to teaching medical students and residents. Each chapter outlines specific learning objectives and aside from text, the e-book takes advantage of a wide range of digital media. Many chapters include including links to relevant video content available on the internet, slide shows, embedded movie clips showing teaching examples, a built-in glossary, questions for reflection as well as interactive quiz questions.  The eight chapters address many basic and practical preceptor topics such as giving feedback, how to conduct effective debriefing, learner assessment, digital professionalism, common medical thinking errors, the 5-Minute Preceptor and teaching the differential diagnosis process.


The e-book is free-of-charge and can be downloaded to your computer or iPad at:  


Brian Mavis, PhD
Associate Professor and Director
Office of Medical Education Research and Development
College of Human Medicine



- USMLE 2014-2015
The Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) and National Board of Medical Examiners have posted a notice of planned changes to the USMLE in 2014 - 2015.  The document also highlights features of the examinations that will not change. See the document here.   

- AM Rounds- Blog complementing AAMC's Academic Medicine 
Sneak Peek from Academic Medicine: The Flipped Classroom - a Course Redesign to Foster Learning and Engagement. See blog entry here


- New MedEdPORTAL resource: OSTEs: Teaching Scenarios for Chief Resident Professional Development

OSTEs have been used as a faculty development strategy since the 1990's. In our efforts to prepare clinician educators for their roles with learners (students, residents or junior faculty) we must go beyond traditionally styled workshops on teaching and learning principles and skills to a more developmental model using active learning strategies. Access this resource now @ MedEdPORTAL.
- Almetrics in BMC Medicine: Assessing Impact of Scholarly Articles in the News and Social Media
Altmetrics is a way of measuring interest in a scholarly article based on a variety of factors such as social media, blog posts and newspaper articles. Altmetrics has been implemented for BMC Medicine, BioMed Central's flagship journal for about 2 years. Read more about how BMC quantifies the media response of an article over a variety of online platforms using Almetrics.

Of the 623 article published by BMC Medicine during this period, the following article co-authored by CHM faculty Dave Solomon (Open access versus subscription journals: a comparison of scientific impact) has received the 4th highest Altmetrics score assigned during this period.

For more information about Almetrics visit their site.


App Review: Explain Everything
Record, Upload, and Share from the Comfort of Your Mobile Device


Explain Everything is a great easy-to-use application that allows you to record annotate, animate and narrate a presentation and upload to virtually every major free cloud service (Dropbox, WebDav, Google Drive, YouTube) directly from your iPad, or Android device. 


This mobile tool is very flexible and utilizes the screen as an interactive whiteboard allowing users to create dynamic interactive lessons and tutorials. The application offers an integrated design and can import photos, PDFs, PPTs, Keynote and other widely supported formats to make content creation and recording easy. Movies are exported as MP4, PNG files, PDFs, or can also be shared as .XPL project files with others for collaboration.


Audio is capture via the microphone, and annotations can be done with the touch of a finger, or using a stylus for more accuracy. The application is available in the iTunes store and in Google Play store for $2.99 and has been rated a top paid education app in many countries since its release in 2011. Once the app is downloaded to a mobile device, no account is necessary to use it or to share creations. 

Explain Everything 2.0
Explain Everything 2.0 Demo

To see the app in action, check out the video tutorials in the developers' Explain Everything website.


Two additional tools are also available on the iPad version that extend and enhance the functionality of the app. The Explain Eveything Compressor for Mac (paid, $14.99) allows transfer of Explain Everything Project files (.XPL) to a Mac computer for video compression instead of waiting for your iPad to compress the screencasts. Some users have expressed that it was a drawback to have to wait for the iPad to compress the movies and depending on how long the recording is, this could turn out to be quite a bit of time, thus limiting the productivity on the iPad for the user. Using a Mac to convert recordings to MP4 movies frees up the iPad to create more movies, or access other apps.


The second tool is the Explain Everything Player for Mac (free), which allows users to play .XPL screencast projects created using Explain Everything on iPad. You can play EE projects directly transferred from your iPad, without the need for compressing them into MP4 movies.


To find out more information about the app, please visit:


iTunes Store: 


Requires iOS 5.1 or later. Multiple language versions are supported.


A free Explain Everything iBook manual is available for download from the Apple iBooks bookstore:  


Google Play:


Requires Android 4.0.3 and up.


Geraud Plantegenest

B-CLR Manager

Office of Medical Education Research and Development
College of Human Medicine
517-353-2037 ext. 237

[email protected] 


programeval CHM Program Evaluation

Are Students Ready for Meaningful Use Requirements of Electronic Health Records


Under the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act eligible health care professionals and hospitals can qualify for Medicare and Medicaid incentive payments when they adopt certified electronic health records (EHR) technology and use it to achieve specified objectives.


These objectives or meaningful use (MU) of EHRs is being implemented in three stages. Key objectives of first stage include electronic analysis of data entered into structured fields, using decision-support tools (e.g., checking drug-drug interactions [DDI]) and electronic information exchange. With EHRs becoming a central part of health care, preparing medical students for their use is an important educational objective.


Screenshot of the prompts for student use in identifying the
potential drug-drug interaction within theCentricity playground.
CHM faculty in the basic internal medicine clerkship developed an online training program and assessed students' performance on 10 different MU tasks based on the first stage of implementing HITECH standards. A total of 222 students participated in a pilot study assessing this program. They reviewed 15 online tutorials covering MU competencies and were assessed on their ability to provide appropriate documentation in the chart of a virtual patient using a fully functional training EMR. This included their ability to enter a new problem, a new medication, an advanced directive, smoking status, the results of screening tests and ability to assess a DDI in which a major interaction was probable, and communicating a plan for this interaction.


Approximately 31% of the students had at least one error in the assessment, and about 14% had more than one error and as many as 6. Students with MU errors tended to perform slightly worse than other students on their end of clerkship professionalism assessments and gateway clinical performance exam. Despite the fact the tasks were fairly straightforward and even with training a significant number of students make errors attempting to document appropriately in an EMR. This suggests that these important skills not only need to be taught but adequately assessed and when needed, perhaps remedial training for some students.


One hypothesis for these findings is that errors in completing these relatively straightforward EMR tasks may reflect students' lack of attention to detail or lack of conscientiousness rather than the difficulty of the tasks or lack of adequate training. While there was only some antidotal evidence supporting this assumption, a number of researchers at other institutions have studied conscientiousness as a trait in medical trainees. Based on scales assessing conscientiousness as measured by the extent students complete basic required tasks, these studies have found conscientiousness to be a stable trait and the lack of conscientiousness to be potentially related to serious problems in advanced medical training and practice. This is an area for future exploration.


The work above was recently published in Medical Education Online:  

Ferenchick GS, Solomon DJ Mohmand A, Towfiq B, Kavanaugh K, Warbasse L, Addison J, Chames F. Are students ready for meaningful use? Med Educ Online 2013, 18: 22495    

facdevFaculty Development
From CHM Educator : Teaching with Mnemonics  

With this issue of VitalSigns we begin a series of articles highlighting items from CHM Educator, OMERAD's website collection of teaching resources.


Found in the Community Preceptors section of CHM Educator
are three resources, one for facilitating learner assessment, and two for facilitating teaching.


S-FED is a model for providing effective feedback to learners during a clinical encounter. S stands for self-assessment, F for feedback, E for encouragement and D for direction. To see the entire resource, click here  


SNAPPS is a learner-centered technique for organizing case presentations. S stands for summarize, N for narrow, A for analyze, P for probe, P for plan, and S for select. To see the entire resource, click here.

DiffInE is a tool for teaching learners how to approach the Differential diagnosis, Interview, and Exam. It was developed by CHM faculty Julie Phillips, Robin DeMuth and Dianne Wagner. The resource comprises a 6.5-minute video explaining how to use the tool, and the tool itself, a card summarizing the model. The video can be found here
and the tool here.


The CHM Educator contains links to resources for community preceptors, campus instructors and course and clerkship directors. The web address for it is Suggestions for additions to CHM Educator are welcome at [email protected].   


hotpressHot Off the Press

- Björk B-C, Solomon DJ. (2013) The publishing delay in scholarly peer-reviewed journals.  Journal of Informetrics. 7 914-923 doi:10.1016/j.joi.2013.09.001 


- Ferenchick GS, Solomon DJ, Mohmand A, Towfiq B, Kavanaugh K, Warbasse L, Addison J,  Chames F. Are students ready for meaningful use? Med Educ Online 2013, 18: 22495 -  


resourcesOMERAD Resources

B-CLR Showcase 

An interactive gallery featuring examples of CHM blended and online learning projects by B-CLR.



A medical education listserv maintained by OMERAD.


Medical Education Online (MEO)  

Peer-reviewed international open access journal for disseminating information on the education and training of physicians and other health care professionals.


Vital Signs Newsletter Archive

Click on the link to view past issues of our newsletter.


Medical Education Scholarship Group

Meets first Wednesday of each month in room A116 East Fee Hall from 1:30 pm-3:00 pm.For questions about this group contact Dr. Brian Mavis:[email protected]


OMERAD Technology Center (OTC)  

Units within the College of Human Medicine interested in sponsoring faculty and/or staff development programs in support of education and scholarship may request use of the room.


The OTC is located in A211 East Fee Hall. For questions about the OTC contact:

John Williamson ([email protected]


The Office of Medical Education Research and Development is a unit within the College of Human Medicine at Michigan State University. Its mission is to improve medical education and related service programs through evaluation and research consultation, relevant instruction, and programs of faculty development.


Established in 1966, OMERAD is the oldest continuously operating office of medical education in the United States.


A-202 East Fee Hall

965 Fee Road 

East Lansing, Michigan 48824


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