Zoom University for Medical Students: University of British Columbia Edition

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Written by a first year medical student at UBC:

Here is a breakdown of what the general schedule of first year is like and what zoom school has been like this past year during the pandemic. 

We have 3 case-based learning sessions from 8-10am every week on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. These are done in small groups (~8 students + 1 tutor) where we integrate information from lectures and apply it to a clinical case. The rest of the day consists of real time (zoom) lectures, recorded lectures, and sometimes labs. There are two main labs, anatomy and histology, though radiology labs are usually incorporated in with anatomy. The labs consist of a pre-recorded and/or live zoom lecture prior to a small group session where instructors guide students through the lab manuals.

Tuesdays and Thursday are usually time set aside for family practice, study time, and family practice seminars. Family practice involves weekly placements in the community, where you work with a family doctor (usually) to see patients or go through clinical cases. Seminars involve small group sessions led by a physician who goes through various topics (e.g concussion, palliative care, etc). In the first term, there is also communication skills, where students work in small groups to practice communicating with patients.

On Mondays we also have FLEX/FOS, a research orientated course that helps you understand how to conduct research and prepare you for research positions in the summer. These usually consist of an independent online module, real time lecture on zoom, followed by a small group discussion relevant to the week’s topic. 

In addition, there are also various “portfolio” sessions scattered throughout the year. These sessions involve guided reflection with a small group. These sessions are intended to be a safe space where you can explore combined struggles and triumphs throughout the 4 years of medical school.

Although this can all sound like a very busy schedule, most students find it quite manageable. It’s important to find a way to manage the schedule that works for you, so don’t be afraid to explore different techniques throughout medical school.

Check out our other virtual learning tips:

5 Tips for Surviving Virtual Learning for Pre-Medical and Medical Students
Online Medical School Interviews During COVID-19: Tips & Advice
5 Tips for Navigating Virtual Medical School Interviews