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Unique Doctoral Study Yields Insights
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Dinah Jordan received more than a doctor of pharmacy degree from a distance learning program that provided unique insights into problem-based learning issues.
Jordan, chief of pharmacy services at Mississippi State University's College of Veterinary Medicine, recently completed the new non-traditional doctor of pharmacy program for licensed practitioners. The University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy in Jackson conducted the majority of the classes through an Internet chatroom and used problem-based learning techniques.
"We have been using PBL teaching methods since 1994 here at the veterinary college, but this was my first opportunity to participate as a student," Jordan said. "Now, I think I can relate better to the needs and frustrations of MSU students."
Problem-based learning is an innovative alternative to traditional teaching methods. Instead of relying heavily on lectures, problem-based learning encourages students to research and learn independently by using any resource available to them.
"I learned a lot that will help me provide insight to other faculty members preparing PBL cases and be a better faculty member myself," said Jordan, who is also assistant clinical professor of pharmacy. "Clarity of issues becomes very important in the examination process. It is hard to read the professor's mind without sitting in a lecture."
Four students from Starkville, Oxford, Shannon and Texas, and their faculty facilitator in Jackson joined Jordan in an electronic classroom and periodically in Jackson for learning sessions. Students also were assigned individual problems they completed independently at their own pace.
Jordan was the first to complete the program, which began in October 1996. All doctoral students have five years to complete their work.
Jordan said PBL helps make students lifelong learners, which is especially important in the ever-changing field of medicine. Students must know where to find reliable information.
"PBL students tend to be much more at ease with multiple sources. They are good a solving their own problems," Jordan said.
The university medical center in Jackson is one of many schools that have sent representatives to MSU to explore PBL methods.
Contact: Dr. Dinah Jordan, (662) 325-3432