Teaching Surgical Science

Subject MEDS90016 (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2016:

Semester 2, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 25-Jul-2016 to 23-Oct-2016
Assessment Period End 18-Nov-2016
Last date to Self-Enrol 05-Aug-2016
Census Date 31-Aug-2016
Last date to Withdraw without fail 23-Sep-2016

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 8 hours (intensive delivery)
Total Time Commitment:

170 hours per 12.5 credit point subject.


To enrol in this subject, you must be admitted in GC-SURGED, GD-SURGED or MC-SURGED. This subject is not available for students admitted in any other courses.

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering requests for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Commonwealth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this course are articulated in the Course Overview, Objectives and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this course are encouraged to discuss this matter with the Student Equity and Disability Support Team: http://www.services.unimelb.edu.au/disability/


School of Melbourne Custom Programs

Currently enrolled and future students:

Subject Overview:

In this subject students are given an opportunity to explore fundamentals of medical and in particular surgical science and the highly contentious issue of the importance, amount and timing of pure and applied (or integrated) biomedical science teaching and learning in medical education. We explore arguments for and against different approaches drawing on educational theory to explicate current positions. This subject explores changes in content and delivery of basic science programs for surgical training.

Traditional approaches to teaching anatomy and other fundamentals of surgical science have been challenged. They are under threat for many reasons of which cost is a significant factor. The emergence of new medical schools, especially in rural locations further compounds the continued use of traditional methods for teaching anatomy. Of course, surgical science knowledge is fundamental to surgical training. However, surgical trainees now have fewer opportunities to learn using cadaveric and other traditional methods.

Technology has provided new and exciting ways to impart surgical science knowledge. This subject enables participants to consider the challenges and future directions of surgical science teaching and to evaluate and consider alternatives to existing programs. Students are expected to apply theories from core and other elective subjects to advance and inform educational practice relevant for surgical science.

The overall aims of this subject are:

  • To explore changes in content to surgical science programs
  • To consider challenges to traditional approaches to teaching surgical science
  • To evaluate contemporary approaches to teaching surgical science
Learning Outcomes:

After completing the subject participants will be able to:

  1. Outline content of surgical science training programs
  2. Identify educational methods to support learning in surgical science
  3. Apply educational theory to the design and delivery of surgical science
  4. Identify challenges to teaching surgical science
  5. Evaluate contemporary approaches to teaching surgical science
  6. Design a learning activity for a surgical science program
  • Experiential (Design and deliver a teaching session) (early semester) Hurdle assessment
  • Essay (Written reflection on experiential activity) - 1000 words (mid semester) 10%. In this assessment, students reflect on their experience of teaching ‘surgical science’ in the hurdle assessment. Trainees are expected to use feedback from students in this report so are required to draw on knowledge and skills learned in subjects 2 & 4. They are expected to integrate educational theory in support of their students’ experience and to make recommendations on their own practice.
  • Essay – 1500 words (mid semester) 40%. In this assessment, students are expected to review an existing approach to teaching surgical science, present evidence for and limitations of the approach.
  • Essay – 2500 words (end of semester) 50%. In this assessment, students will have a choice of three essay questions on contentious issues in surgical science. Topics will be drawn from the literature and require students to demonstrate high level analytic skills.
Prescribed Texts:

Reading materials online

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:
  • Study skills related to a range of educational methods
  • Academic reading skills
  • Academic writing
  • Applying theory to practice
  • Reference manager skills
  • Work effectively within a small group
  • Learn independently
Links to further information: http://www.commercial.unimelb.edu.au/gdsurgicaleducation/

IT requirements:

Participants will require access to the internet with a minimum connection speed of 256Kbps to access course materials and to participate in on-line discussions and presentations forums. Faster connection speeds are preferred. Participants will also need to verify that their internet connection is configured to allow them to view streamed audio and video files. Test files will be made available for students to test their connections.

Participants are expected to have a headset and microphone connected to their computer for participation in on-line activities.

Participants will be expected to have access to the following Microsoft Office products to fully participate:

  • MS Word
  • MS Powerpoint

All online applications will be web-based and no special software is required.

Related Course(s): Graduate Diploma in Surgical Education
Master of Surgical Education

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