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Initial Experience Implementing a Case Method Teaching Approach to Radiation Oncology Physics Residents, Graduate Students and Doctorate of Medical Physics Students

A Gutierrez

A Gutierrez*, University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio, San Antonio, TX


SU-F-E-15 (Sunday, July 31, 2016) 3:00 PM - 6:00 PM Room: Exhibit Hall

Purpose: Case Method Teaching approach is a teaching tool used commonly in business school to challenge students with real-world situations—i.e. cases. The students are placed in the role of the decision maker and have to provide a solution based on the multitude of information provided. Specifically, students must develop an ability to quickly make sense of a complex problem, provide a solution incorporating all of the objectives (at time conflicting) and constraints, and communicate that solution in a succinct, professional and effective manner. The validity of the solution is highly dependent on the auxiliary information provided in the case and the basic didactic knowledge of the student. A Case Method Teaching approach was developed and implemented into an on-going course focused on AAPM Task Group reports at UTHSCSA.

Methods: A current course at UTHSCSA reviews and discusses 15 AAPM Task Group reports per semester. The course is structured into three topic modules: Imaging QA, Stereotactic Radiotherapy, and Special Patient Measurements—i.e. pacemakers, fetal dose. After a topic module is complete, the students are divided into groups (2-3 people) and are asked to review a case study related to the module topic. Students then provide a solution presented in an executive summary and class presentation.

Results: Case studies were created to address each module topic. Through team work and whole-class discussion, a collaborative learning environment was established. Students additionally learned concepts such vendor relations, financial negotiations, capital project management, and competitive strategy.

Conclusion: Case Method Teaching approach is an effective teaching tool to further enhance the learning experience of radiation oncology physics students by presenting them with though-provoking dilemmas that require students to distinguish pertinent from peripheral information, formulate strategies and recommendations for action, and confront obstacles to implementation.

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