Friday, June 10, 2011

A VERY busy week in advancing Quality in Canada (and elsewhere)

PART A: Preparing for QWW next week.

So we are in pretty good shape with one week to go before the POLQM Weekend Workshop. The speakers are ready, the venue is ready, the caterers are ready. Mind you I just read on Google that there might be an Air Canada strike next week, but that is something that I can not control. The participation pick-up has not been as huge as I would have wanted, but again there is not much that I can do about that., especially now. We have sent notices to near 1000 folks around the world through a network of posting sites, including Making Medical Laboratory Quality Relevant. But there will be time to review all the positives and challenges after the meeting.

If anyone is planning on making a last minute registration at the registration desk on next Friday (June 17) evening, please be aware that the desk will be available in the Medical Student and Alumni Centre starting at 5:30 PM and there will be a buffet dinner. Dr. Hardwick’s presentation starts at 7:00 PM.

For more information go to

PART B: Appraisal time.

We take the knowledge assessment for our UBC Certificate for Laboratory Quality Management Course very seriously. It has to be straight forward, clear and what educators call integrative, which means that responses can not just parrot back content from the course, but must tie multiple aspects together and provide examples in order to demonstrate that information has not only been obtained, but also that it has been understood in a working context. That is not something that can be easily tested in a multiple choice context, nor is it something that can be done under the pressure of time constraint.

One of the advantages of on-line courses and on-line examinations, is that we can take time constraint out of the picture because examinations can be done when the participant has the time to work on it. They are given a week to work through all the questions. They can submit their responses all at one time, or over a few days. The examination process is, in that sense, much closer to the working experience where decision making does not always have to be immediate. On the other hand. all the participants are adult learners with busy lives and “real” jobs., so they don’t necessarily have the time or inclination to let the course linger too long.

So how are they doing? Really well. The examination deadline ended at midnight last night and all the responses are in. So far I have seen and graded  over 100 answers and waiting on a few last minute stragglers. In my sections I am finding almost all responses are satisfactory and of that group about 20% are exemplary and of that group there is at least one person that would hire in a heartbeat.

This I expect has a lot to do with the high level of participants that seek out the course, and the degree to which they participate and interact throughout the course. That and the essential and unavoidable reality that the faculty is very knowledgeable and has combined to put together a course that provides valuable content and participates in a manner that promotes discussion. I can say that because I have read the student reviews. (More on the value of student reviews coming very soon).

By Friday we should have all the marking done and this year’s prize winner announced.

The winner gets free registration to the Weekend Workshop. if they are unable to attend I have a plan B ready, but not yet announced. 

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