Small Group Learning

Small Group Learning and Integrated, Evidenced-Based Curriculum in the Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) program


Students in learn lab

The faculty of UIC College of Dentistry have transformed its long-standing undergraduate DDS degree program into a Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) degree in which the traditional “2 x 2” structure has been replaced by a spiral curriculum that integrates foundational learning and clinical learning throughout the four-year program.


The DMD features small group learning that is interdisciplinary in nature and prompted through the use of clinical case studies developed by a team of COD faculty. These case scenarios place all learning in the context of a patient problem/concern and emphasize the relationship between systemic and oral diseases, health and prevention, family and community context, disease diagnosis and evidence based practice.
The goals of small group learning are to:
  • Thoughtful, interdisciplinary, and effective education
  • Place all learning in the context of a patient problem/concern through the use of clinical case studies
  • Enhance acquisition of content knowledge
  • Develop students’ capacity to find and apply information relevant to clinical cases
  • Foster higher-order reasoning skills
  • Promote accurate self-assessment and a sense of responsibility for one’s own learning
  • Build effective communication and collaboration skills
Small Group Learning is led by Dr. Blase P. Brown in the Office of Dental Education
For small group discussions to advance these goals, small groups are led by trained facilitators who ensure:
  • Adequacy of learning
  • Discussions remain on target in order to achieve specified learning objectives
  • Group dynamics are healthy and productive for all members of the group
  • Empower students to take responsibility for their own learning
  • That students work metacognitively as they proceed with the case
Supported by Instructional Technology
Our service goal is to support the faculty in developing instruction using the “best practices” and the technology tools available to them.
  • Communicate with faculty about instructional technology (i.e. news, faculty development events, and grant opportunities)
  • Support faculty in the use of classroom computer presentations, Blackboard, clickers, SoftChalk, video, online testing and other technology tools
  • Manage COD lecture capture
  • Create opportunities to develop faculty expertise in instructional technologies
  • Assist faculty in applying technologies for blended instruction or distance learning

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