Literature Evaluation via Online Group Quiz


Sharon K. Park, Pharm.D., BCPS                                                          Notre Dame of Maryland University

Courses designed to teach how to appropriately evaluate biomedical literature are absolutely necessary in pharmacy education. However, one of the most challenging parts of teaching it in a large classroom setting and assessing the skills in literature evaluation is that the instructors have a hard time determining how much the students actually learned vs. they seem to know. The true level of students’ knowledge and skills does not become apparent until they are on their clinical rotations, attempting to do a journal club alone for the first time.

As with any other educational movements, an effective method of teaching this skill set is increasing the amount of time that the students actively verbalize their thought processes. However, unless the course is tied to a skills lab, it is time-consuming and resource-intensive to exercise journal-club-like activity in the didactic setting. One way to solve this problem is to have the students talk to one another and share their knowledge, and do this against time and in a competition with other students, in a small group.

In a literature evaluation course with about 54 students, 13 groups were formed, based on the students’ preference. Each week for 5 consecutive weeks, the students were assigned a clinical trial to read and prepare for a group quiz which consisted of 10 multiple-choice, 4-option based questions using either Quizizz ( There are a few free online-based quiz platforms available including Kahoot! (, Quizlet Live (, and Quizalize (, just to name a few. A few reviews comparing these platforms exist on the Internet and each has its own advantageous and unique features. Instructors now have a variety of platforms to choose for a small survey or a full-scale assessment on these sites. An example screenshot of one of the quizzes is shown here via Quizizz.

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Student groups were asked to sit as a group and register with the quiz number to begin the quiz on one student’s computer. As they enter their answers, the Quizizz platform registers the progress including correct and incorrect response, ranking, and speed. The allowed time can be controlled for each question based on the difficulty. However, the groups are ranked also based on the time spent on answering the questions, and a majority of them spent less than 10 minutes to answer 10 questions, with the study articles available to them during the quiz.

Based on a short survey to determine if the students’ perceived the group quiz was more helpful at improving their skills and if the group quiz should continue to be offered, an overwhelming majority agreed that the activity was helpful and should continue in the future. 

When using these online platforms for either a group or individual assessment, it is important to ensure that the questions are simple enough to be answered with a reasonable amount of time. In addition, the amount of time given to each group and each quiz should be consistent to deliver a fair assessment; some of the platforms (including Quizizz) do not limit or cut off the activity when the allotted time is gone. The number of students in each group should also be no more than three in order to increase meaningful participation among all group members.

Can an App Predict Our Students GPA or Mental Wellness?

NPR recently covered research from Dartmouth that investigated whether an app could determine their undergrad students GPA. What is most surprising is the level of accuracy reported was consistent with actual grades versus predicted scores.

The investigators created an app (StudentLife) that essentially used a smartphone to assess the environment their students were in to infer situation awareness through computational algorithms, to embrace a semi-educational quantified self. The premise focused on several core areas including:

  • Wake/Sleep Cycles
  • Location Status (e.g. Gym, Library, Home, Off-Campus)
  • Physical Activity
  • Stress Levels
  • Eating Habits
  • Sound Environment (noisy vs quiet)

Surveys were also used through the course of the investigation to assess students overall status, and evaluate changes. Other data collected included study habits and their correlation to social activities (e.g. partying). I highly recommend a look at the studies website to see the data figures and dataset if you are so keen.

What may be interesting to see in the future is applicability of this initial foray into the quantified student lifestyle on professional students education. While the study was small (30 students) and focused on undergraduates, it may give some insight into what could be done to assess students in healthcare studies such as Pharmacy Schools. This may also factor in with increasing concern regarding students mental health, as these apps may help with early identification of studies requiring further intervention or possible aid in the course of their education. Expanding beyond this, such an app approach could be used to assess students in post-grad programs such as residencies. It will remain to be seen how much further this research will be taken, and to what level of applicability it may have.

New Study Evaluates Students Perspectives on Serious Games in Pharmacy Education


Do you like video games? Maybe some Angry Birds or Farmville every now and then? Have you ever wondered if we could use games for pharmacy education?

That question has been floating around in some educational circles as of late, and researchers have set out to determine what pharmacy students would like in a game for education. If you are interested, read our write-up on the article, and Follow the Link!

Welcome to TiPEL!


Welcome to the new website for the Technology in Pharmacy Education and Learning SIG. The goal of this relaunched website is to help not only pharmacists, but hopefully other healthcare academics looking to use technology in their daily lives for education and learning purposes.

What we are setting out to accomplish:

  • News and Blog Posts - It is our hope to present and curate articles related to new technologies or areas for readers to use in their daily practice. We will gladly take any recommendations.
  • Resources - This section will include not only 'how-to' guides by fellow academics, but also links to recent webinars from TiPEL or available online for your use, and a rundown of interesting websites  and latest research you may find of use.
  • Meeting Information - Last but not least, we hope to use this website to broadcast upcoming meeting information, workshops, and relevant posters/abstracts and presentations at related meetings. Currently this section will be closed off until we get closer to the AACP Annual Meeting.

We look forward to the success of this website, and as always, feel free to comment and make recommendations! 

If you would like to contribute, please see the Contact Page!