Teaching Perspectives & Pearls Blog

Educator-to-Educator Tips & Strategies

Find out how your peers are making the most of Aquifer cases and teaching tools.

  • Refine by Category

  • Refine by Topic

Meeting ARC-PA Standards with Aquifer

November 15, 2022 |

Students provide consistently high rankings for Aquifer as reported in our five-star rating feedback data, but how and when cases are integrated into the curriculum can have a significant impact on their learning. Find out what themes emerged when we ask students what methods are most effective–and discover practical tips for assigning Aquifer cases based on student feedback.

DO Blog Grahpic

Teaching Osteopathic Manipulative Therapy with Confidence: Tools for Active Learning

August 23, 2022 |

There are a wide variety of challenges facing both oste … Read more

9 Ways to Teach Pre-clinical Learners with Aquifer Cases

August 18, 2022 |

Aquifer cases are a staple assignment in many clinical … Read more

Meeting LCME Standards with Aquifer

June 30, 2022 |

Students provide consistently high rankings for Aquifer as reported in our five-star rating feedback data, but how and when cases are integrated into the curriculum can have a significant impact on their learning. Find out what themes emerged when we ask students what methods are most effective–and discover practical tips for assigning Aquifer cases based on student feedback.

Flexibility, Standardization & Innovation: The Power of Aquifer’s Curricular Partner Program

March 17, 2022 |

Students provide consistently high rankings for Aquifer as reported in our five-star rating feedback data, but how and when cases are integrated into the curriculum can have a significant impact on their learning. Find out what themes emerged when we ask students what methods are most effective–and discover practical tips for assigning Aquifer cases based on student feedback.

What Students are Saying: Social Determinants of Health Cases

January 11, 2022 |

Students provide consistently high rankings for Aquifer as reported in our five-star rating feedback data, but how and when cases are integrated into the curriculum can have a significant impact on their learning. Find out what themes emerged when we ask students what methods are most effective–and discover practical tips for assigning Aquifer cases based on student feedback.

Improving Student Confidence and Performance with an Engaging Hybrid Clerkship

November 30, 2021 | Curriculum Planning

At Florida Atlantic University Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, we are supporting our fourth-year students with flexible online elective rotations by adapting the model we created during COVID. Our virtual asynchronous electives–built with Aquifer cases and WISE-MD modules and implemented on the fly during lockdown–proved valuable to students, earning positive feedback and course reviews. With a few minor modifications, we are continuing this offering in response to student requests and the wide range of time-consuming requirements in the fourth year.

Start Small: Six Activities to Get Started Integrating Basic Science and Clinical Learning

November 17, 2021 | Integrating Basic Science

WISE-OnCall is used by programs across medical and health professions education to help learners diagnose and manage clinical situations they are likely to encounter on clinical clerkships, advanced sub-internships, and during the transition to residency or practice. Here are some successful integration strategies that we’ve heard from faculty users…

Case Study: Using Aquifer Across the PA Curriculum

September 21, 2021 | Curriculum Planning

Touro University California Physician Assistant Program has been utilizing Aquifer cases since 2019. Originally, the cases were assigned to clinical year students to fill knowledge gaps and remediate rotations. Clinical year students found reviewing concepts in Aquifer cases during the virtual rotation block very valuable and found that cases improved in-person patient encounters.

Using Aquifer Assessments: From Exams to Formative Feedback

August 31, 2021 | Curriculum Planning

At Florida Atlantic University Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, we are supporting our fourth-year students with flexible online elective rotations by adapting the model we created during COVID. Our virtual asynchronous electives–built with Aquifer cases and WISE-MD modules and implemented on the fly during lockdown–proved valuable to students, earning positive feedback and course reviews. With a few minor modifications, we are continuing this offering in response to student requests and the wide range of time-consuming requirements in the fourth year.

Quick-Resources-for-COVID-Surges-graphic

Learning Resources to Use as COVID Surges

August 17, 2021 | Exploring Our Content

Programs are reporting that they expect their students and faculty will continue to be impacted by rising coronavirus infections through the spring. Students may become ill, be exposed, and have quarantine or their courses change due to the availability of clinical training sites. Faculty will continue to face the challenges of instructors who are pulled away from teaching, clinical sites that have to temporarily shift away from teaching, and disrupted student schedules. Aquifer has tools to help mitigate some of these disruptions and keep your students learning.  

Flexibility in the Fourth-Year: Extending Virtual Electives

July 22, 2021 | Curriculum Planning

At Florida Atlantic University Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, we are supporting our fourth-year students with flexible online elective rotations by adapting the model we created during COVID. Our virtual asynchronous electives–built with Aquifer cases and WISE-MD modules and implemented on the fly during lockdown–proved valuable to students, earning positive feedback and course reviews. With a few minor modifications, we are continuing this offering in response to student requests and the wide range of time-consuming requirements in the fourth year.

4 Ways to Use Aquifer High Value Care Across Your Curriculum

June 14, 2021 | Clinical Skills, Exploring Our Content

Aquifer High Value Care, a free course available to all … Read more

Using Integrated Illness Scripts: Three Integration Stories

May 27, 2021 | Integrating Basic Science

WISE-OnCall is used by programs across medical and health professions education to help learners diagnose and manage clinical situations they are likely to encounter on clinical clerkships, advanced sub-internships, and during the transition to residency or practice. Here are some successful integration strategies that we’ve heard from faculty users…

Remediation Part 2: Success Stories & Structures

May 12, 2021 | Remediation

We all know that every student will have a slightly different experience in each of their supervised clinical practice experiences (SCPEs). At our program, we’ve been using Aquifer cases to augment learning, build key communication skills, and supplement clinical experiences to meet ARC-PA standards.  

Remediation Part 1: Aquifer Tools & Strategies

April 28, 2021 | Remediation

We all know that every student will have a slightly different experience in each of their supervised clinical practice experiences (SCPEs). At our program, we’ve been using Aquifer cases to augment learning, build key communication skills, and supplement clinical experiences to meet ARC-PA standards.  

Building on Basic Science: Integrated Illness Scripts as a Foundational Boundary-Crossing Curricular Tool

April 13, 2021 | Integrating Basic Science

WISE-OnCall is used by programs across medical and health professions education to help learners diagnose and manage clinical situations they are likely to encounter on clinical clerkships, advanced sub-internships, and during the transition to residency or practice. Here are some successful integration strategies that we’ve heard from faculty users…

6 Ways to Use WISE-OnCall to Prepare Your Students for Clinical Responsibilities

March 29, 2021 | Exploring Our Content

WISE-OnCall is used by programs across medical and health professions education to help learners diagnose and manage clinical situations they are likely to encounter on clinical clerkships, advanced sub-internships, and during the transition to residency or practice. Here are some successful integration strategies that we’ve heard from faculty users…

7 Tools for Flipping Your Classroom with Aquifer

March 1, 2021 | Didactic Sessions

Whether you’re searching for ways to engage students in virtual learning, revamping a stale lecture, or building a new didactic session, flipping the classroom around Aquifer cases is a powerful way to engage your students and help case-based learning stick. Check out different ways that medical educators are integrating Aquifer cases into their pedagogy…

Case-Analysis-Tool

Case Analysis Tool: Feedback for Developing Clinical Reasoning Skills

February 17, 2021 | Assessment

In our 12-week pediatrics course for first-year PA students, we use Aquifer cases as a framework for four of our eight didactic sessions. Each Aquifer session includes an in-class lecture that covers the “don’t miss” diagnoses and difficult concepts for the topic area, followed by the students completing the related Aquifer case and the Aquifer Case Analysis Tool worksheet independently.

5 ways to use Aquifer Radiology

5 Ways to Use Aquifer Radiology

February 3, 2021 | Exploring Our Content

The 19 cases in Aquifer Radiology are designed to meet the needs of a wide range of learners and fit into many teaching modalities. Top radiology educators presented their successful strategies for integrating the cases in our recent webinar–find out what they shared…

5 Ways to Use Aquifer Geriatrics

5 Ways to Use Aquifer Geriatrics

January 4, 2021 | Exploring Our Content

The 27 cases in Aquifer Geriatrics are designed to meet the needs of a wide range of learners and fit into many teaching modalities. Top geriatrics educators from around the country presented their successful strategies for integrating the cases in our recent webinar–find out what they shared…

Teaching About Diagnostic Error: Tools for Creating Space in a Crowded Curriculum

December 14, 2020 | Curriculum Planning, Exploring Our Content

Diagnostic errors are a major source of morbidity and mortality in health care, and there is increasing focus on reducing diagnostic errors in medicine. Fitting these topics into your curriculum can be challenging. To help, I’d like to highlight strategies that educators have found successful using the cases and teaching tools included in Aquifer Diagnostic Excellence.

Lessons-learned-from-COVID

Lessons Learned from COVID: Trends & Teaching Strategies

November 30, 2020 | Successful Strategies

As the pandemic caused widespread disruption, Aquifer saw an unprecedented jump in the use of our cases–and many innovative ways to use the cases across curricula. Through our grant applications and many ongoing conversations with educators, we were able to identify trends and challenges and gather success stories and strategies to share.

Designing Didactics for GenZ

Redesigning Didactics for Gen Z: Engaging Students Around Principles of Geriatrics

November 16, 2020 | Didactic Sessions

As part of my fellowship research project, I rebuilt a didactic session in our Geriatrics rotation using the flipped classroom model, an Aquifer Geriatrics case, and a range of teaching techniques to create an engaging, student-centered session.

Virtual-patients-combined-with-real-patients

Covering ARC-PA Standards & Supporting SCPEs with Aquifer Custom Courses

October 28, 2020 | Exploring Our Content

We all know that every student will have a slightly different experience in each of their supervised clinical practice experiences (SCPEs). At our program, we’ve been using Aquifer cases to augment learning, build key communication skills, and supplement clinical experiences to meet ARC-PA standards.  

Virtual Radiology Clerkship

Virtual Radiology Clerkship to the Rescue

October 6, 2020 | Exploring Our Content

When the pandemic hit, Harvard Medical School called upon the radiology clerkship committee to provide a virtual clerkship. With one week of preparation, we constructed the 4-week clerkship around the 19 Aquifer Radiology modules and a combination of large group lectures and small group homerooms.

Student Experience: Bridging the Gap Between Coursework and Patient Care

September 17, 2020 | Preparing for Clinic, Student Perspectives

This summer I began my first clinical rotation of my third year in Family Medicine. Due to local COVID-19 precautions, the first half of our rotation was being conducted virtually. During that time, we were encouraged to complete the Aquifer Family Medicine cases. In my experience, the cases were a helpful bridge to patient care from my coursework…

Easing the Transition to Clinic: An Approach to Preparing Students

September 10, 2020 | Preparing for Clinic

This year, COVID added additional challenges to the difficult transition from pre-clinical to clinical/clerkship years by limiting student and faculty interactions during the traditional orientation week. We used Aquifer to create an online Orientation Course for our LIC students that addressed multiple key concepts and facets of the transition to the clinical/clerkship years and allowed our team to focus our limited in-person time on crucial activities.

Using Aquifer Cases Effectively: Perspective of a Third-Year Medical Student

August 24, 2020 | Student Perspectives

Having just completed my third year of medical school, I can confidently say that Aquifer has been highly useful for my learning. I found that its clinical relevance and stepwise learning process combined to make it a one-of-a-kind learning resource. Here are a few of my recommendations to clinical educators so that students of all medical disciplines can get the most out of Aquifer.

Creating Advanced Compare and Contrast Learning with Aquifer Case Modifications

August 12, 2020 | Clinical Skills

In our Longitudinal Integrated Clerkship, students transitioned patient-based clinical learning from real patient to Aquifer cases in late March. These more advanced level clerks required that virtual cases have increased complexity to adequately challenge them and continue building their clinical skills. In order to meet these learning demands, Aquifer cases were introduced as written and then modified in preceptor lead discussions to encourage further clinical reasoning skill development.

Just-in-time Teaching: Connecting Didactics with Clinical Learning for Community Faculty

August 10, 2020 | Engaging Faculty

Our community faculty are busy clinicians in local health systems or private practice. At several points throughout the clerkship, we provide calendars with the didactic and Aquifer case schedule illustrating the clinical information students will cover on campus. We actively encourage preceptors to engage in discussion with their students about what was covered during these activities outside of their offices to the benefit of both students and preceptors.

Student feedback summary graphic

Providing Formative Feedback Via Summary Statements

July 16, 2020 | Assessment

In many Aquifer cases, students are asked to write out a one to three sentence summary statement that mimics the communication skills they need on rounds, calling consults, and writing patient progress notes. Reviewing a selection of these statements provides an opportunity for faculty to provide meaningful, targeted feedback on clinical reasoning skills.

Filling a Gap: Creating an Elective on Tough Conversations & End of Life Care

July 8, 2020 | Exploring Our Content

Medical schools have always worked hard to provide fourth-year students with clinical knowledge. But far less time is dedicated to effective, delicately nuanced conversations about diagnoses and prognoses with patients and their families. This gap isn’t new, but it’s being exacerbated by the pandemic. In response, we created an online elective dedicated entirely to learning, thinking about, and practicing these difficult communication skills.

Student Perspectives: Practical Tips for Assigning Cases

June 24, 2020 | Student Perspectives, Successful Strategies

Students provide consistently high rankings for Aquifer as reported in our five-star rating feedback data, but how and when cases are integrated into the curriculum can have a significant impact on their learning. Find out what themes emerged when we ask students what methods are most effective–and discover practical tips for assigning Aquifer cases based on student feedback.

Making Connections Across the Curriculum

Making Connections Throughout the Curriculum

June 10, 2020 | Curriculum Planning

We have integrated Aquifer Geriatrics cases in several different ways throughout our Geriatrics and Healthy Aging Curriculum thread. First-year students have a modified team-based learning session around the Dementia case. In the third year, cases prepare students for oral presentations on rounds…

Returning to Real Patients: Preparing with a Virtual Rotation

Returning to Real Patients: Preparing with a Virtual Rotation

June 2, 2020 | Preparing for Clinic

Like everyone else, our school needed to develop alternatives for our new fourth-year students due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With an uncertain return date for students at a range of clinical sites, we decided to build virtual, asynchronous electives that would help prepare students for their clinical rotations, and especially their Acting Internships. We leveraged a range of case-based online modules to cover different disciplines, including Aquifer and WISE.

Virtual Peer Teaching with Aquifer

May 19, 2020 | Clinical Skills

When the COVID 19 pandemic interrupted our first-year medical students’ longitudinal primary care practicum (PCP), we needed to find an alternative that addressed one of its most important goals: helping students to focus the comprehensive history, exam, and documentation that they’re taught in the clinical skills course into a primary care-appropriate presentation and SOAP note. Our thoughts turned quickly to Aquifer, which is used by our internal medicine and pediatrics clerkships. Many Aquifer cases integrate well with the basic science topics our first-year courses, but most seemed a little too advanced for a mid-first year student. At the same time, senior students were eager to find ways to help, so we decided to combine Aquifer cases with ‘virtual’ peer teaching via videoconference.

Shortened-virtual-clerkship

Adapting to a Shortened Virtual Clerkship

May 12, 2020 | Clinical Skills

Like many others, Boston University moved to a shortened virtual-only clerkship (packed with the full knowledge of our regular in-person 6-week clerkship, of course) in March of 2020. We were able to leverage Aquifer cases as a framework for preceptor discussion sessions and learning activities. The plan outlined below was for our 2-week virtual pediatrics clerkship, but I think the framework could apply to a variety of clerkships or courses transitioning to virtual group discussions.

Hospital-systems-learning

Hospital Systems Learning: A Virtual Case-based Framework

May 12, 2020 | Preparing for Clinic

For those of us using virtual education time to prep students for eventual return to clinical settings, using an Aquifer case as a framework for an interactive orientation or hospital operations training session will better prepare students and interns to hit the ground running and take full advantage of rotations which, in many cases, have been shortened in duration.

Building a Core Clinical Virtual Integrated Curriculum

May 11, 2020 | Curriculum Planning

Due to curriculum modifications related to the COVID-19 pandemic, our clerkship directors were charged with developing a virtual curriculum to keep students engaged in clinical learning activities while suspended from participation in face-to-face clinical care. Rather than develop a virtual curriculum for each individual clerkship…

Flipping the classroom with Aquifer

Strategies for Flipping the Classroom with Aquifer

May 11, 2020 | Didactic Sessions

Aquifer cases can form the basis for a huge variety of classroom sessions that can be easily adapted for virtual learning. Here are some ideas to spark your creativity if you are designing your own activity. Suggested strategies include…

The Pre-Clinical Pace: Using Cases for Early Learners

April 30, 2020 | Integrating Basic Science

If you want to use Aquifer cases as a clinical correlate in basic sciences classes just assign one case per week (e.g. pediatric case about cystic fibrosis in a genetics course; internal medicine case about anemia in hematology course). Students at UW have told me that this is about the right number of cases because the case content is complicated for early students. Students can work independently through the case and you can use it as context for discussion about how the basic science helps explain the clinical presentation–getting to the “why” behind how patients present as they do! 

A High-Value Care Course in the Era of COVID-19

April 27, 2020 | Didactic Sessions

It may seem unusual to design and implement a medical student course focused on high-value care in the middle of a pandemic. As third and fourth-year medical students were pulled from clinical duties at the urging of the AAMC, educators at the University of Virginia School of Medicine developed a two-week online course. The course introduced students to an integrative, comprehensive model of high-value care applicable to future clinical practice.

Aquifer-cases-as-standardized-patients

Reframe: Aquifer Cases as Virtual Standardized Patients

April 23, 2020 | Getting Started

Many educators are wondering how to meaningfully engage their students in distance learning activities that create community and allow them to practice important patient care skills (while not seeing patients). While I have been doing peer-to-peer consults with educators around the country about using Aquifer cases in their curriculum, I stumbled into a helpful reframe that seems to be unlocking people’s creativity: Aquifer cases (yep…more than 170 of them!) are virtual standardized patients. Wait…what?