Case Study: University of Kentucky College of Medicine


“PBworks has benefited us in numerous ways—We love PBworks!”

Raven Piercey


1. What background information should people know about you and your organization?

We use PBworks in a first-year medical school course (Introduction to Clinical Medicine I) at the University of Kentucky. This course has approximately 115 students per year. A small group format is used in this course (with 15 groups of 7-8 students and 1-2 instructors). Students meet weekly in their small groups to practice interviewing skills and to discuss other issues related to behavioral, psychological, and social factors in health care. After most class sessions, students write reflections based on the materials and class discussions. These reflections make up a student portfolio. Instructors provide feedback on each portfolio entry. The portfolio is used to assess students’ performance and assign a course grade.


2. Why did you start to use PBworks?

We started using PBworks because:


•  We wanted to use a product that was reliable

•  We wanted more control over how we presented our course materials

•  We wanted to be able to quickly modify/add materials as needed

•  We wanted an efficient way to organize a large amount of student work

•  We wanted an easier way to create a dialogue between students and instructors about assignments


3. How are you using PBworks?

We are using PBworks to host a central course workspace and fifteen small group workspaces. Our central course workspace is where students go to view our course calendar (with hyperlinks to assignment pages for each date) and to access a variety of course materials (links to videos, images, podcasts, articles, etc.)


Our small group workspaces are where instructors can communicate with their group of students about course issues. This is where we ask students to create their portfolios. Each student has a folder where they store all of their course assignments. Instructors give students feedback on their entries. We use the privacy settings to make sure that student work is private, accessible only to their instructor.


4. What were you using before?

Most recently, we were using Blackboard. Before that, students e-mailed individual assignments (sometimes up to 50 a year!) to their instructors. Even earlier than that, students printed out assignments and handed in hard copies! We’ve come a long way!!


5. How did you train your users to use PBworks?

We hold PBworks training sessions at the beginning of each academic year for our instructors and students. In these sessions, we go over everything from how to log on to PBworks, to how to edit pages, and how to upload files. We also offer individual support for anyone who needs it. We’ve found that most people have no problem at all learning how to navigate PBworks.


6. How has PBworks benefited you and your organization?

PBworks has benefited us in numerous ways. We are able to present our curriculum in a creative and interesting way. We can easily modify and add materials. We’ve been able to streamline the way students turn in assignments and receive feedback from their instructors. We love PBworks!


7. What are folks saying about PBworks?

Everyone is impressed with our course and small group workspaces. Students give PBworks favorable ratings on course evaluations and in course focus groups. Our instructors love the workspaces and always comment on how improved the course is because of PBworks.

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