Rush Medical College Removes Traditional Lectures From First, Second Year Curriculum

CHICAGO (CBS) — A big change has been made at Rush Medical College.

Rush Medical College has become the first medical school in the state of Illinois to do away with traditional lectures.

“If you go into the M-2 lecture hall right now, with 130 of our second-year students, maybe there’s 30 people in there,” said Dr. Elizabeth Baker is the senior associate dean at Rush Medical College. “By the end of the semester, maybe 10 out of 130 will go. Because we record it. And this generation – they want to learn at their own pace, at the own time, when they’re ready to take in the new material.”

dr baker rush Rush Medical College Removes Traditional Lectures From First, Second Year Curriculum

Dr. Elizabeth Baker, senior associate dean at Rush Medical College (WBBM/Steve Miller)

Rush removed of all the lectures within the first- and second-year curriculum. Students now learn remotely, by way of videos, readings or exercises – then they come into the classroom to do small group exercises, Dr. Baker said.

And second-year medical student 26-year-old Nicholas Asher of Kalamazoo said he listens to the lectures and replays them.

nicholas asher Rush Medical College Removes Traditional Lectures From First, Second Year Curriculum

Nicholas Asher (Credit: Rush Medical College)

“You can slow it down and get those extra details. And then the second time you go around, then you can speed it up. A lot of us do the double… watch a lecture slow, speed it up a second time so we can get a quick review of that material,” Asher said.

WBBM observed a group of first-year medical students trying to come up with the three main qualities that make a doctor a good communicator.

lecture students Rush Medical College Removes Traditional Lectures From First, Second Year Curriculum

Students in groups coming up with three main qualities that make a doctor a good communicator. From L-R Anthony Wong of LA; Jennifer Akin of San Diego; Coralie Pardo of Florida; and Mikhail Heber of Chicago’s Northwest suburbs (WBBM/Steve Miller)

One student said, “we were just discussing being collaborative with the patient, including them in the discussion.”

Others continued to collaborate on ideas of qualities, until they decided on the three main ones.

Rush is not only the first med school in Illinois to do away with traditional classroom lectures, it’s among the first anywhere in the country.

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