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Student responses to the introduction of case-based learning and practical activities into a theoretical obstetrics and gynaecology teaching programme

Júlio Cesar Massonetto*, Cláudio Marcellini, Paulo Sérgio Ribeiro Assis and Sérgio Floriano de Toledo

Author Affiliations

Department of Maternal-infantile Health, Medical Sciences, Centro Universitário Lusíada, Rua Dr. Oswaldo Cruz 179, CEP-11045-101, Santos, Brazil

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BMC Medical Education 2004, 4:26  doi:10.1186/1472-6920-4-26

Published: 29 November 2004



The fourth-year Obstetrics and Gynaecology course at our institution had previously been taught using theory classes alone. A new teaching model was introduced to provide a better link with professional practice. We wished to evaluate the impact of the introduction of case discussions and other practical activities upon students' perceptions of the learning process.


Small-group discussions of cases and practical activities were introduced for the teaching of a fourth-year class in 2003 (Group II; 113 students). Comparisons were made with the fourth-year class of 2002 (Group I; 108 students), from before the new programme was introduced. Students were asked to rate their satisfaction with various elements of the teaching programme. Statistical differences in their ratings were analysed using the chi-square and Bonferroni tests.


Group II gave higher ratings to the clarity of theory classes and lecturers' teaching abilities (p < 0.05) and lecturers' punctuality (p < 0.001) than did Group I. Group II had greater belief that the knowledge assessment tests were useful (p < 0.001) and that their understanding of the subject was good (p < 0.001) than did Group I. Group II gave a higher overall rating to the course (p < 0.05) than did Group I. However, there was no difference in the groups' assessments of the use made of the timetabled hours available for the subject or lecturers' concern for students' learning.


Students were very receptive to the new teaching model.