The student being the center of attention at Qassim College of Medicine, the planning and conduct of the services for the students takes a high priority. Efforts are underway to improve and integrate all related student-related services, for which some organizational adjustments are needed. One of the weak areas in this regard is the students’ academic and personal counseling; while a system is already in place, the faculty members need more training and preparation to carry out this task.
The overall quality of student administration and support services is good. Students record and medical and counseling services have high quality.
The College has introduced a new mechanism for academic supervision and to provide academic advice to the students in need of special attention. Each student is assigned an academic supervisor, whom he/she may contact for special needs or general academic advice. Unfortunately, it seems that it will take some time before the students (as well as some faculty members) are fully convinced about the utility of this system.
The students in Qassim College of Medicine are generally less stressed than in other medical colleges, including those in Saudi Arabia. Unlike conventional curriculum, the periodic examinations are lighter relatively less fearsome in the PBL system. The continuous assessment system requires students to maintain a high level of performance throughout the year, such that the students become used to regular and continuous work rather than having heavy doses of stress a few times each year.
College administration strives to provide opportunities for recreation (such as sports, gymnasium and social events) to the medical students. Football matches and other sporting events are regularly organized. Each academic year, a plan for extracurricular activities of the students is prepared so that the needed resources can be gathered in advance. Students are also actively encouraged to participate in the national and international students’ forums, scientific meetings and conferences.
The College enjoys having access to the most modern learning resources for medical teaching and learning. Access to internet, the library, availability of the books, space for tutorials and PBL sessions, the audio-visual equipment, etc. are all quite sufficient and of very high quality, which is comparable to the modern Western institutions. The College subscribes to the most widely used international databases of medical information, which are easily accessible through internet with the use of prescribed passwords and access privileges. It is true that the main University library could use additional medical books and reference materials and subscribe to additional medical journals. However, there is a small but impressive collection of books and resource materials within the College itself, which is scattered in the College departments, most of which have their own small libraries. For students in clinical phase, the college supported the libraries of the affiliated MOH hospitals with textbooks, references, and electronic library.
The college also has its own museum, activity lab and a small learning resource center where models, specimens, posters, charts as well as audiovisual material are available for students. The recently established Research Center has also acquired a number of useful books and reference materials. Each year, faculty members are given an opportunity to select additional books for purchase and/or identify additional medical journals for subscription.
Recently, the college has lunched its e-learning website; more courses are now planning to get use of this facility and some of the information related to these courses is now on line. This is intended to complement rather than compete with other teaching strategies adopted by the college; thus students have to access it.However, not all members of the staff and faculty are skilled in the use of the modern technology that is available for learning resources. Perhaps due to a lack of skilled manpower, the full benefits of the technologically advanced environment of the College cannot be enjoyed. Still, the College is conducting workshop and providing training for staff and students in information technology.
The e-learning website of the College is growing every day. Faculty and students are encouraged to fully utilize this facility. The concept and principles of e-learning taught to students in interactive workshops. The faculty also receives special training in the utilization of e-learning resources. Presently, about 95% of all teaching courses are available on line and their instructors are available for chat and discussions to the students during after-hours.
Facilities and Equipment
Qassim University is a modern campus having integrated resources and well organized services within its buildings and grounds. Nonetheless, it is a growing institution, which is still in its infancy in terms of the development of resources. A number of buildings and other facilities are yet to be constructed. The College of Medicine is in its temporary housing and must share resources and facilities with the other academic units of the University.
In terms of the modern equipment and facilities used for teaching, the College has an enviable collection of the most modern state-of the-art technology. A brief description of the resources is provided in the introduction section. However, lack of general cleanliness and poor maintenance of facilities and equipment are the issues to be addressed. A mechansim for the upkeep and cleanliness of these facilities has been developed. Rules and regulations exist to ensure appropriate usage and maintenance of these faiclities. Students and faculty members are encouraged and motivated to maintain a clean and nice environment and to report all breakdowns of equipment immediately to the College Administration.