Curriculum 2.0 is chock full of innovative learning modalities like TBL and CBL, but that doesn't mean that you can avoid the classic preclinical teaching format: large, boring lectures remain a staple of Vanderbilt medical education. Indeed, students should plan to spend 10-14 hours per week attending lecture or watching lecture recordings via Mediasite.
Here are some tips to extract the most out of lecture time:
1. Prepare to be baffled; Focus on Learning Objectives.
Many of your lecturers will be esteemed researchers who are eager to teach you the intricacies of the latest rat studies in their fields. This means that parts of the lecture will go way over your head. Don't worry. For testing purposes most lectures can be boiled down a few key propositions. Be sure that you can answer the core learning objectives for each lecture and, to paraphrase Dr. Dalley, let the rest of lecture float over you like a puff of smoke...alright.
2. Review with friends.
Some professors speak at breakneck pace making it impossible to jot down all the facts they are throwing at you. Spend a bit of time each week reviewing lectures with your buddies, as different people will catch different facts. This is good bonding time too. You might even fall in love with one of your classmates while practicing the thyroid exam on her/him :)
3. Bring a sweater.
Light hall 202 is really freaking cold.
4. Read ahead of time [if you are a gunner].
If you really want to get the most out of lecture, you shouldn't walk in blind and expect the lecture to make sense (see #1 above). While some professors are really good at teaching to an audience with little background knowledge (Drs. Fowler, Pugh come to mind), most of the time lecture will make a lot more sense if you read the supplementary material or just the slides ahead of time. Now, if you are normal human, the burden of CBL, quizzes, etc. will make pre-reading for lecture impossible. But for the medicine-crazed maniacs among you, reading ahead is a good way to raise your grade from a P to a...P.
5. Use Mediasite.
In addition to being cold, Light Hall is dark and somewhat decrepit. And if you sit in the lecture hall, your funny, devastatingly good-looking, sleeping classmates will be doing their best to distract you from the actual material. So why not just watch the lectures online- with the ability to increase playback to 1.4-2x speed? This is a good option if you have the discipline to sit at your computer and focus on your own time. But if you gravitate toward facebook and Pinterest when given any modicum of freedom, attempting to Mediasite can lead to hours of internet procrastination. So know thyself before deciding that you don't need to go to lecture.