Julia Lilly ’20, Robin Forbes-Lorman publish biology education manuscript

Graphic image from published paper

Julia Lilly ’20, who is studying in Bloomington, Indiana, was the first author of “Doctor in the house: Improving undergraduate critical thinking skills through diagnosing medical case studies,” published on Coursesource. Coursesource publishes peer-reviewed, evidence-based teaching resources for undergraduate biology education. Lilly worked under the mentorship of Assistant Professor of Biology Robin Forbes-Lorman.

The manuscript describes an assignment Lilly and Forbes-Lorman designed for Forbes-Lorman’s Anatomy and Physiology course in the spring of 2020. Forbes-Lorman says there are few opportunities for undergraduates to diagnose medical cases, particularly ones that do not rely heavily on medical terminology.

Lilly says that because of this, “I thought that we could give the students an unknown case study to figure out, as that would require more active thinking.” A goal of the assignment was to integrate prior knowledge of anatomy and physiology, deductive reasoning, and research skills to diagnose a medical case and propose an appropriate treatment plan.”

Forbes-Lorman says the assignment was a success, in terms of both student learning and enjoyment. “I am a firm believer in sharing assignments that have worked well with other instructors,” she says. “Importantly, this assignment can be adapted for online learning, as we did during the coronavirus pandemic.”

Forbes-Lorman also says it is important to involve undergraduates in the process of publishing scholarly work. “My goal is not only to get students involved in my scholarly work, but to be an owner of the work,” she says.

Lilly adds, “Pandemic aside, it was a nice way to wrap up my undergraduate experience, and I’m sure having an article publication under my belt can only improve my ability to find employment during and after graduate school.”

Lilly is originally from Oshkosh, Wisconsin.