Where I work they promote undergraduate seminars to promote exciting topics, student interaction, small classroom instruction, and jump start critical thinking.  I do this all the time for medical students and residents, so why not undergraduate students?  The challenge is that the majority are 1st years (freshman) in these seminars who have no background in the basic sciences that are typically prerequisites to learning ultrasound.  Despite this I thought I could make learning wave physics exciting using ultrasound, demonstrate how basic science knowledge learned during the undergraduate years is applied in the real world (and how it saves lives), develop critical thinking and spatial learning skills.  All important skills to develop for those going into medical fields.  The students who signed up for the course were by in large headed towards human or veterinary medicine.  The class met five times for 2 hours.  Overall it was a great success, the feedback was excellent, and students got a lot our of the experience.

I used online lectures from this site to prep students for class (flip the classroom).  I then tried to focus more on student interaction, questions, problems and discussion during class.  Students had small assignments and discussed them during class.  There was some online interaction, but it was minimal.  The final class was a hands on lab session, where students scanned each other and put the knowledge they had acquired to use.  The outline (which I may update) was as follows:

  1. Introduction to Ultrasound, History of ultrasoud, basic wave physics
  2. Wave physics, physics of ultrasound, artifacts and the machine
  3. Clinical application of ultrasound, EFAST exam with clinical cases (students work through).
  4. Clinical cases of the application of physics techniques, artifacts in veterinary medicine
  5. Hands-on Lab session

Thank you to my Veterinary Ultrasound colleague Rachel Pollard for the support!

Thank you to Nick Montano for the excellent EFAST discussion!

Thank you to my first class of Ultrasound Seminar Students!

Next time we may add an animal model to scan during the lab and I plan to increase the online interaction just a bit to better monitor individual student progress.