EBM and Clinical Support Librarians@UCHC

A blog for medical students, faculty and librarians about their use of evidence based medicine, clinical literature, Web 2.0, sources and search strategies

Visualization, PBL: Visit with Wordle Occasionally

One aspect of participating in problem-based learning is that by the end of the semester, every student in the group has taken their turn at the group tasks involved, which are:

  • The Reader narrates the case as it is made available online. The written case with any supporting visual materials such as radiology or histology about the patient are posted on Blackboard and are no longer distributed in paper handouts.
  • The Scribe is the person with the marker who listens to the groups’ discussion and synthesis of the pertinent data about the patient such as chief complaint, presentation, past medical history, current labs values, medications, tests to be ordered, treatments to begin, etc.  They are writing down the data, hypotheses, learning issues as they become available.
  • Before every student in the room brought a computer to class — which sounds like the olden days but it was less than 6 years ago — the Scribe may or may not have been the one creating hand-drawn concept maps of that week’s PBL work.  Nowadays, concept maps are created not by drawing on the whiteboard but by using CMap, a free software program from IHMC (Institute for Human and Machine Cognition).  This brings on a new role in the group: Concept Mapper.
  • The Facilitators mostly listen, occasionally asking clinically-oriented questions or providing a bit of background or narrative about a patient, a procedure or a disease without being “teacherly”.
  • Each week, one person bakes and brings in goodies for 9 people.  That is an important function, too.


On a basic science or biomolecular level, concept maps can get pretty complicated.

Recently I wrote down some of the medical terms, processes or conclusions which were heard during PBL, and made a Wordle map out of them.   Here is what it looks like:


Image credit: http://www.wordle.net – All rights reserved – Copyright 2009


This week I learned more about the function of Purkinje fibers (oh my duh – I’d never make it through medical school!).

Here are two other Wordles.

This one is based on words found on the EBM and Clinical Support Librarians@UCHC blog:


Image credit: http://www.wordle.net – All rights reserved – Copyright 2009


The last one is formed from words taken from my Delicious account called Onc2009, a set of bookmarks about cancer, that was created for Mechanisms of Disease-Oncology:


Image credit: http://www.wordle.net – All rights reserved – Copyright 2009


Wordle, an elegant piece of software, was created by Jonathan Feinberg.


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