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Wednesday, June 18 • 11:00am - 12:30pm
PSD.55 – Using Collaborative Learning Experiences to Enhance Student Development in the University of Guelph Master of Public Health Program

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Master of Public Health (MPH) programs were created at post-secondary institutions across Canada to address an identified shortage in graduate-trained public health professionals. Curriculum development was supported by the 36 public health core competencies which define the knowledge, skills and attitudes that are required of an effective public health professional. These competencies can be used as an assessment tool to evaluate student development.

As part of the University of Guelph MPH program, students complete a capstone business plan assignment. In the fall 2013 semester, students participated in a new collaborative learning experience with a local public health organization to develop a business plan that addressed a relevant public health issue. Although it has been shown that collaboration between public health students and practitioners creates a valuable learning environment, the effects of experiential learning in MPH programs remains largely unexplored.

A sequential explanatory mixed methods approach was used to examine whether the collaborative learning experience identified above improved student proficiency in the public health core competencies. An online survey was developed and administered to students who were enrolled in the fall 2013 Public Health Administration course (n=23) at the beginning and at the end of the business plan assignment. Students were asked to assess their proficiency in 35 of the 36 core competencies using a 10-point scale. In March and April 2014, two focus group sessions (n=6) were conducted to further explore the effect of the collaborative learning experience on proficiency in the public health core competencies. Thematic analysis was used to identify common patterns and themes in participants’ responses.

In this session, qualitative results from the study will be presented. Participants will also learn about the use of competencies as an assessment tool and consider the potential of collaborative learning experienes.


Wednesday June 18, 2014 11:00am - 12:30pm EDT
A339 McArthur Hall

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