BMC Med Educ. 2007 Oct 22;7:39.
BACKGROUND: With rapid advances in functional imaging methods, human studies that feature functional neuroimaging techniques are increasing exponentially and have opened a vast arena of new possibilities for understanding brain function and improving the care of patients with cognitive disorders in the clinical setting. There is a growing need for medical centers to offer clinically relevant functional neuroimaging courses that emphasize the multifaceted and multidisciplinary nature of this field. In this paper, we describe the implementation of a functional neuroimaging course focusing on cognitive disorders that might serve as a model for other medical centers. We identify key components of an active learning course design that impact student learning gains in methods and issues pertaining to functional neuroimaging that deserve consideration when optimizing the medical neuroimaging curriculum. METHODS: Learning gains associated with the course were assessed using polychoric correlation analysis of responses to the SALG (Student Assessment of Learning Gains) instrument. RESULTS: Student gains in the functional neuroimaging of cognition as assessed by the SALG instrument were strongly associated with several aspects of the course design. CONCLUSION: Our implementation of a multidisciplinary and active learning functional neuroimaging course produced positive learning outcomes. Inquiry-based learning activities and an online learning environment contributed positively to reported gains. This functional neuroimaging course design may serve as a useful model for other medical centers.