Today in Lecture

So one of the perks of third year is “casual wednesdays” thanks to our predictable didactic schedule. Generally, the lecturers are very aware of what being a third year medical student is like, and they go the extra mile to make their lectures both interesting and informative. Accordingly, although most of us “take notes on our laptops” (read:browse the ‘tubes), usually we’re a pretty attentive bunch. I’d say at any given time, somewhere between 75-90% of the kids in my didactics are actually paying attention. Which, compared to most of the basic science lectures I went to, is pretty damn good.

So our first lecturer rolls in to cover Male and Female sexual dysfunction. She was a younger lady, maybe on staff for 5-10 years, and she had one of those personalities that really grabs hold of the room. Southern roots were obvious in her voice. She looks around at a few of us on laptops, iPads, etc. and casually remarks on how it’s amazing that every student has a laptop. Never asks us to turn them off, put them away, but goes on for a minute about how things have changed since he was in medical school. Says that it’s perfectly fine if we want to use them. Every laptop was shut and most stayed shut for the three hours of AM lecture.

PM lecturer comes in. Starts off his lecture with “My time is very valuable, I could be many other places right now, so please close your laptops and cell phones. If you want to check your email we’ll have a five minute break after an hour or so.” As before, all of the laptops shut off. But, honestly, there were many times during his lecture that I wish I had been able to look up some of the topics that he touched on (and of course, I tried to use my phone but the screen is small and the connection is pretty slow in the lecture hall we were in). Honestly, I felt insulted at the way that he started his lecture. Sure, guy, I know you’re a bigshot in industry, but is this really the tone you want to set? Why are you even here? Of course, things don’t get any better when his third slide claims that health insurance company profits are only 3% of all health care spending, as though that’s something to be proud of. According to the Obama administration, almost half of all health insurance companies have administrative costs over 25%. So yeah, 3%, riiight…

On top of everything, the lecture was relatively unimpressive, poorly organized, and lost sight of what someone in his position could really teach students.

More to the point, I was struck by the difference in the way that each speaker sought to achieve his or her goals. It’s obvious to me that I learned more and felt more comfortable in the AM lecture, because if I needed to go look something up I could do so in a non-disruptive fashion, then go back to the lecture without missing a beat. I hope I’ll remember that lesson if I ever get to teach students … although by that point, they’ll probably all have bionic implants.


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