Learning and Teaching at Monash Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences

The Faculty of Pharmacy and
Pharmaceutical Sciences: here we have a slightly different teaching approach My title is “Director of Learning and Teaching”, not “Director of Teaching and Learning” We’ve got a focus on student learning, so we put learning up front and centre so that’s what we’ve got to concentrate on. Teaching supports it. I’m one of the lecturers here in pharmacy and I teach most of the professional practice units in the first two years of the new program. Monash is leading the
way in education and I wanted to be a part of that, so I’ve come all the way
from Malaysia to be part of this innovative team here at Monash. Traditional universities rely on lots of lectures and then a few smaller number of tutorials or workshops afterwards. We’ve changed that model. So, content that
would normally be delivered by someone standing at the front of a lecture
theatre talking to students for 50 minutes, that type of content is now
delivered online. And then when they come to a large class, they’re interactive. So
students are doing things, they’re solving problems, they’re answering
questions, they’re giving each other feedback. And that’s still in a 200-seat
lecture theatre. We have our workshop rooms all linked together. We’ve got a
lead academic that roves through all the workshop rooms, so they’re connected. So he can go through or she can go through and answer any questions that perhaps the teaching associate can’t answer. W’ve got one teaching associate per 20 to 25
students. They’re helping them solve the problems, they’re encouraging them on
delving into the science further. It’s a really good opportunity because all that
we do is we go and ask questions or practice exam scenarios. So it’s a
different way of learning just because you can really picture yourself in those
scenarios. One of the design features that’s unique
to our program is skills coaching. So skills coaching is whereby an academic
staff or a practitioner will coach a group of students. We focus a lot around
skills. There are specific skills that we do focus on which is problem-solving
skills, good oral communication, and written communication Part of the skills coaching feature [is that] our students have a personalised learning plan. So they submit what we call a personalized
learning plan prior to coming for the skills meeting and it’s a reflection of
a particular skill that they’ve come across or be able to practice in the
past couple of weeks. Students head out for placements fairly early on in the
program and we want to ensure that they are well
skilled and competent when they come across patients. So we’ve introduced
“micro-credentialing”, where we will credential students – in other words
certify students to do specific tasks. Our students in the pharmaceutical
sciences course, in the third year they actually get posed problems that they
need to solve by industry. Students form teams and they work throughout the
semester to solve that problem. What we also have in the faculty are really high
class, practical laboratories where students perform experiments. And that’s
a key part of what we want our students to do: not only to know the knowledge but
to be able to apply it in the terms of being able to do the experiments and have the lab
skills that they need to be scientists. “…and then you’re going to change flow
rate from one point five to one” This lab is a lab where the students are learning
how to use an instrument called HPLC. An HPLC is the most widely used instrument
basically in science in the world and so this unit provides them an experience
that is completely authentic and that is completely relevant to the industry. Universities now are about much more than
just learning the science or learning the content. Universities are responding
to industry needs. Our graduates will all get jobs and we want to make the best
graduates we can, not just in terms of what they know but in how they can use
that knowledge and how they can work in a workplace

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