Crossword puzzles: active learning in undergraduate pathology and medical education – Document – Gale Academic OneFile

Abstract :

* Context.–Second-year medical students are introduced to many new terms and concepts in a short time frame in the hematology system and the neoplasia section of the undergraduate pathology course. It is a challenge to provide adequate practice and necessary repetition to reinforce key concepts. Objective.–To determine student perceptions of the usefulness of crosswords as a quick and effective way to reinforce essential concepts and vocabulary. Design.–Crosswords with ensured content validity built on a free Internet resource were completed by the students in collaborative and cooperative groups of 6 to 7 with a reward for the first group to successfully complete the puzzle. Student perceptions of the value of crosswords for their learning were examined in 2003 (39 students) with a survey of yes or no responses and in 2004 (41 students) with a survey using questions with a 5-point Likert scale. Results.–Many students (37 of 39 in 2003 and 24 of 41 in 2004) indicated that crosswords were useful and contributed to their learning. Specifically, crosswords were found to be useful for identifying key concepts and vocabulary and for their collaborative and competitive aspects. Written and informal comments indicated student enthusiasm for and a desire to participate in more of these exercises. Students have transferred this review strategy to other classes and the peer teachers have expressed an interest in it as an adjunct teaching tool. Conclusions.–The judicious use of crosswords was useful for near transfer content and provided an opportunity to discuss and recall essential concepts, think critically, and collaborate in small groups. (Arch Pathol Lab Med. 2009;133:1457-1462)

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* Context.–Second-year medical students are introduced to many new terms and concepts in a short time frame in the hematology system and the neoplasia section of the undergraduate pathology course. It is a challenge to provide adequate practice and necessary repetition to reinforce key concepts. Objective.–To determine student perceptions of the usefulness of crosswords as a quick and effective way to reinforce essential concepts and vocabulary. Design.–Crosswords with ensured content validity built on a free Internet resource were completed by the students in collaborative and cooperative groups of 6 to 7 with a reward for the first group to successfully complete the puzzle. Student perceptions of the value of crosswords for their learning were examined in 2003 (39 students) with a survey of yes or no responses and in 2004 (41 students) with a survey using questions with a 5-point Likert scale. Results.–Many students (37 of 39 in 2003 and 24 of 41 in 2004) indicated that crosswords were useful and contributed to their learning. Specifically, crosswords were found to be useful for identifying key concepts and vocabulary and for their collaborative and competitive aspects. Written and informal comments indicated student enthusiasm for and a desire to participate in more of these exercises. Students have transferred this review strategy to other classes and the peer teachers have expressed an interest in it as an adjunct teaching tool. Conclusions.–The judicious use of crosswords was useful for near transfer content and provided an opportunity to discuss and recall essential concepts, think critically, and collaborate in small groups. (Arch Pathol Lab Med. 2009;133:1457-1462)