Online Program

Does Practice-Based Teaching Prepare Students for the Workforce? An Evaluation to Assess Long-Term Outcomes of Teaching through Practical Application

Monday, November 2, 2015

Joanne Patterson, MPH, MSW, Department of Community Health Sciences, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, MA
Jacey Greece, DSc, MPH, Department of Community Health Sciences, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, MA
Liam Day, Codman Academy, Codman Square Health Center, Boston, MA
Donna McGrath, MS, MEd, Department of Policy, Planning and Administration, Boston University School of Education, Andover, MA
Curricula at schools of public health (SPH) are guided by core competencies that students are trained to obtain during their Master of Public Health (MPH).  These core competencies are dictated by employers and the field; this ensures MPH graduates have the technical and professional skills required to successfully practice public health.  Practice-based teaching (PBT) allows for acquisition of these skills through practical experience; students work on real-life issues facing public health agencies that can be implemented.  It should follow, then, that PBT affords students the opportunity to uncover solutions to the same types of issues they will encounter as MPH professionals, providing MPH graduates tangible, marketable skills and experience to successfully perform on the job.  Rigorous evaluation of PBT, especially in meeting long-term goals, is needed to inform the utility of pedagogy.  An evaluation was conducted for an intervention planning course at Boston University School of Public Health to assess MPH graduates who were enrolled in the course in Fall 2011, Spring 2013, or Spring 2014.  Guided by a logic model and evaluation plan, the evaluation assesses long-term goals for students enrolled in the PBT course (i.e., preparedness for the field, employment opportunities, value of PBT), faculty (i.e., funding for PBT opportunities, scholarship), and agency (i.e., PBT products implemented, impact on community) compared to students enrolled in the course using traditional teaching methods.  Qualitative and quantitative data collection strategies are utilized for all stakeholders.  The results of the evaluation will inform effective PBT strategies to achieve long-term outcomes.

Learning Areas:

Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related education

Learning Objectives:
Explain the importance of rigorous, independent evaluations in teaching practice-based courses to assess both short-term and long-term outcomes. Describe the importance of measuring competencies (i.e., knowledge and skills) of recent MPH graduates for a particular class and teaching pedagogy, and how the results can inform changes to the class and/or pedagogy. Discuss how evaluation results of long-term indicators can inform practice-based teaching, skill building activities, and course development. Identify measurable and important long-term outcomes of interest in the evaluation of teaching and sources to measure those outcomes.

Keyword(s): Evaluation, Public Health Curricula & Competencies

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been a co-principal of multiple local studies focusing on the impact of practice- and case-based teaching on student knowledge and skills acquisition. My public health education interests include application of online-, case-, and practice-based teaching in undergraduate and master-level community health and social and behavioral sciences coursework. Additionally, my scientific interests include LGBT health, cancer disparities, survivorship, risk behaviors, and multi-level interventions.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.