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Curriculum Development Centers

Curriculum Development Centers Program: Frequently Asked Questions

A. PROGRAM BACKGROUND

A1. What is the purpose of the Curriculum Development Centers program?
The purpose of this program is to provide $10 million in federal funds to five domestic institutions of higher education (or consortia thereof) to support health information technology (health IT) curriculum development. One of the institutions also serves as the National Training and Dissemination Center for the program.
The materials developed under this program are targeted to enhance programs of workforce training primarily at the community college level. They are used by the member colleges of the five regional community college consortia funded under the Community College Consortia to Educate Information Technology Professionals in Health Care program. The curricula developed are being made available to institutions of higher education across the country with the second release of the curriculum components in the summer of 2011.

A2. What are the related companion HITECH funded programs supporting workforce development within ONC?
The workforce development program established under Section 3016 of the American Reinvestment & Recovery Act of 2009 consists of four programmatic components:

  • This program: Information Technology Professionals in Health Care: Curriculum Development Centers
  • Community College Consortia to Educate Information Technology Professionals in Health Care
  • Information Technology Professionals in Health Care: Competency Examination for Individuals
  • Information Technology Professionals in Health Care: Program of Assistance for University-Based Training

A3. What is the role of each Curriculum Development Center and who are the awardees?
In April 2010, cooperative agreements were awarded to Oregon Health & Science University, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Johns Hopkins University, Columbia University, and Duke University. Each of these Curriculum Development Centers has been funded to develop, revise, and share curriculum components covering a specific set of health IT content areas. The Centers provide professional instructional design for the materials they produce.
Other responsibilities of each Curriculum Development Center include:

  • Facilitate collaboration with community colleges to ensure that the materials are suitable for the community college student population and methods of instruction
  • Ensure materials can be accessed electronically by students, allowing their use for distance education
  • Work with industry and employer groups to ensure that the materials will prepare students to meet emerging workforce needs
  • Collaborate with the community college consortium members in each region to support the dissemination and use of these materials

In addition, one Curriculum Development Center, Oregon Health & Science University, serves as the National Training and Dissemination Center (NTDC) for the materials.

A4. What is the role of the National Training and Dissemination Center and who is the awardee?
Oregon Health & Science University was awarded additional funding to serve as the National Training and Dissemination Center. This Center:

  • Organized and hosted an in-person training event for approximately 200 community college faculty during the first year of the project
  • Established a secure electronic site from which all materials may be downloaded
  • Led a process to establish policies governing eligibility for downloading the materials
  • Established an authentication and authorization system for these downloads and maintain records of who has downloaded the materials

This center will also collect feedback from instructors and students; coordinate subsequent revisions of the curriculum materials; and manage version control of the revised materials.

B. ACCESSING THE CURRICULUM COMPONENTS

B1. Who can access the curriculum components?
While open to any member of the public, the intended audience is instructors at institutions of higher education, especially community colleges. Anyone who agrees to set up a profile on the NTDC website at http://www.onc-ntdc.org or http://www.onc-ntdc.info and also agrees to the licensing requirements can then view and download the components.

B2. How do I get access to the curriculum components?
Go to the NTDC website at  http://www.onc-ntdc.org or http://www.onc-ntdc.info to set up a profile.  Once you have successfully logged in, you will be able to download any of the components.

B3. How will I be notified of any updates to the Version 3.0 components?
As you set up your profile the NTDC website, you must provide a valid e-mail address. This e-mail address will be added to an e-mail distribution list that will only be used by the NTDC for the purpose of notifications about changes to the components.

B4. How can I submit feedback on Version 3.0?
You may submit general questions and suggestions about the overall ONC HIT Workforce Curriculum Development Centers program via email to HITCurriculum@hhs.gov. If you are a Community College Consortia member, you may report an issue or submit a general comment about the curriculum materials themselves using the members-only feedback feature on the NTDC website.  If you are not a Consortia member, you may report an issue or submit a general comment about the curriculum materials by sending an email to ntdcinfopublic@ohsu.edu.  Due to the volume of e-mail expected, individual replies may not be possible.

B5. What are the licensing requirements for using the components?
Per the original funding announcement, the universities acting as Curriculum Development Centers retain the copyright for their components. However, they have chosen to distribute the materials for public use.  They have adopted a “Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported” license.  This means all users can use, share, and adapt materials but must: 1) attribute originator of work; 2) use only for non-commercial purposes; 3) share any changes made under same license.  Use of materials for educational purposes, such as in a course for which a fee is charged to the student, is allowed. The license does not permit the selling of the components directly.  More can be learned about this Creative Commons license on the NTDC website at http://www.onc-ntdc.org  or http://www.onc-ntdc.info  and also at http://creativecommons.org/licenses/ .  Additionally, information can be found within the instructor's manual for each component.

B6. Will Versions 1.0 or 2.0 remain available now that Version 3.0 has been released?
Version 1.0, used by the Community College Consortia program in 2010-11, and Version 2.0, widely released in June 2011, will no longer be available once Version 3.0 is released, beginning March 2011.  All users are encouraged to upgrade to Version 3.0.

B7. How are the curriculum materials being distributed?
The National Training and Dissemination Center has established a secure site from which users, such as community colleges and other institutions of higher education, can download the curriculum materials at this site through the end of 2012. The Center has led a process to establish the policies governing the eligibility for downloading the materials, and set the ground rules for how that process will be implemented. The Center also maintains records of who has downloaded the materials to use for notifications regarding content changes.

C. USING THE CURRICULUM COMPONENTS IN COURSEWORK

C1. What terminology is used to describe the curriculum components?
There is a hierarchy of terms used to describe the components:
I.    Curriculum, meaning a group of courses at an institution

A.   Course, meaning a group of related instructional classes over a period of time

1.   Curriculum Component, meaning the outline and materials covering a specific set of health IT content areas used to develop a course

a.   Unit of a component, meaning a lesson or set of lessons on a topic

(1)        Element of a unit, such as a lecture or activity

C2. For what content areas are the Curriculum Development Centers producing curriculum materials?
Collectively, the Centers have produced materials supporting instruction for 20 different content areas:

  • Introduction to Health Care and Public Health in the U.S. (Oregon Health & Science University)
  • The Culture of Health Care (Oregon Health & Science University)
  • Terminology in Health Care and Public Health Settings (University of Alabama at Birmingham)
  • Introduction to Information and Computer Science (Oregon Health & Science University)
  • History of HIT in the U.S. (University of Alabama at Birmingham)
  • Health Management Information Systems (Duke University)
  • Working with Health IT Systems (Johns Hopkins University)
  • Installation and Maintenance of Health IT systems (Duke University)
  • Networking and Health Information Exchange (Duke University)
  • Fundamentals of Health Workflow Process Analysis & Redesign (Duke University)
  • Configuring EHRs (Oregon Health & Science University)
  • Quality Improvement (Johns Hopkins University)
  • Public Health IT (Columbia University)
  • Special Topics Course on Vendor-Specific Systems (Columbia University)
  • Usability and Human Factors (Columbia University)
  • Professionalism/Customer Service in the Health Environment (University of Alabama at Birmingham)
  • Working in Teams (Johns Hopkins University)
  • Planning, Management and Leadership for Health IT (University of Alabama at Birmingham)
  • Introduction to Project Management (Johns Hopkins University)
  • Training and Instructional Design (Columbia University)

A curriculum component containing the instructional materials has been developed for each content area. It was not intended that the components prepared by the Curriculum Development Centers be used in their entirety as courses in the community colleges. Courses will usually include additional elements such as class discussion, examinations, guest speakers, even student internships, that are not included in the curriculum components. Rather, the curriculum components are intended as a resource, an "educational buffet," available to support the Community College Consortia member colleges and other institutions of higher education in implementing the curricula that the colleges themselves design. Therefore, instructors should choose, at the component level or at the unit level within components, those elements of the curriculum materials that best fit their needs as they design their programs.

C3. What is contained in each of the 20 curriculum components?
Component objectives have been developed for each curriculum component that address the health IT workforce role competencies. Multiple learning units made up of elements such as lectures, activities, and self-assessment questions have been developed for each component to address the component objectives. A "blueprint [PDF - 2 MB]" document has been developed for each of the curriculum components that outlines the planned component objectives, unit topics, unit objectives, and unit elements.

C4. What is new or different in Version 3.0 compared to Version 2.0?
Many features have been added or substantially upgraded in Version 3.0:

  • New content has been added on the topics of meaningful use, privacy and security, public health, health care industry, contracting, and change management.
  • Some learning objectives have been added or changed in the blueprints.
  • Some components were largely rewritten to make them more experiential and less theoretical in approach. Examples include the topics of quality improvement and project management.
  • Content has been streamlined across components to reduce redundancy.
  • Professional voiceover services were used for all components.
  • A single set of templates was applied across all components to increase the consistency of the formatting. More spell-checking procedures and other quality checks were applied.
  • Accessibility features have been improved to enhance the learning experience for people with disabilities, such as alt-text for all images as well as more consistent use of bullets, columns, tables, and text boxes.

A document detailing the changes by each unit within a component can be found here [PDF - 134 KB].

C5.  Can I use the curriculum components “out of the box” without any customization?
The curriculum components represent a "buffet" of choices for instructors. While the components can stand on their own, instructors should choose the units within components that are relevant to their course curriculum and that will fit within their particular time constraints (e.g., length of program, online or classroom setting, whether students are full-time or part-time, etc.).  The components are designed to be both broad and deep, so there may be more material available in a component than can be fit into a single course.

C6.  As an instructor, how do I fit all the material available in a component into a single course?
Again, the curriculum components represent a "buffet" of choices for instructors. Instructors should choose the units within components that are relevant to their course curriculum and that will fit within their particular time constraints (e.g., length of program, online or classroom setting, whether students are full-time or part-time, etc.).  The components are designed to be both broad and deep, so there is usually more material available in a component than can be fit into a single course. Experience shows that students can become frustrated with a course that is too fast-paced and jam-packed with material.

C7. As an instructor, must I follow the units in the order presented within a component, or can I reorder them?
As part of an instructional buffet, the units in the components are designed to be mixed and matched as desired by the instructors. However, the default option would be to begin from Unit 1 of a component and follow the units sequentially.

C8. As an instructor, may I combine units from more than one component into a single course?
Yes, as part of an instructional buffet, the units in the components are designed to be mixed and matched as desired by the instructors to meet their course learning objectives.

C9. Can the component files be uploaded into a learning management system (LMS)?
The component files have been used successfully in many of the major learning management systems, such as Blackboard, Basecamp, Moodle, and others.

C10. What level of student is expected to be educated with this training?
Because the training for these roles and their competencies by the Community College Consortia is required to occur  within a six-month period, it is expected that most of the students who will use the curriculum materials will have some kind of health background or IT experience or training. For example, it is not expected that the typical student training for these roles through the Community College Consortia program will be someone entering a community college directly out of high school.

D. USING THE CURRICULUM MATERIALS WITHIN THE ONC WORKFORCE PROGRAM

D1. What health IT workforce roles are the curriculum materials being developed to support?
As described in Appendix B of the funding opportunity announcement and further expanded upon here [PDF - 27 KB], there are six health IT workforce roles requiring short-term training of six months or less:

Mobile Adoption Support Positions

  • Practice workflow and information management redesign specialists
  • Clinician/practitioner consultants
  • Implementation support specialists
  • Implementation managers

Permanent Staff or Health Care Delivery and Public Health Sites

  • Technical/software support staff
  • Trainers

D2. How do the curriculum materials relate to the health IT workforce roles?
Component objectives have been developed for each curriculum component that address the competencies of the six short-term health IT workforce roles. A matrix [PDF - 13 KB] has been developed that lists which components should be implemented at community colleges to implement instruction for each role. The matrix was nicknamed the "set table" to convey the idea of a structured selection of diverse options (or menu items). Within the matrix, components are designated as core, secondary, tertiary, or not relevant for a role.

D3. How do I know which components apply to each of the six roles?
Within the matrix of components by role, a.k.a. the “set table,” components are designated as core, secondary, tertiary, or not relevant for a role, depending on whether the student has a health or IT background.  At a minimum, the core components should be taught for that role. Parts of other relevant components may also be taught. It is up to the instructor to decide how much to customize a course to the students’ backgrounds.

D4.Will the Competency Examination test what is taught in the curriculum components?
At least 80% of the exam questions address the core units of the curriculum components.  The rest of the exam questions may be based on results of an employer survey about the workforce roles. It is also possible that the non-core components may include material relevant to the additional 20% of the questions.

D5. How do the curriculum components prepare students to support meaningful use?
The meaningful use regulation is covered explicitly in the components, as are supporting topics such as clinical decision support, electronic prescribing, health information exchange, public health IT, and quality improvement.

E. AWARDS AND TIMELINE

E1. Who was eligible to apply for this program?
Domestic institutions of higher education, or consortia thereof, were eligible to apply for an award under this funding opportunity.

E2. What is the amount and duration of each cooperative agreement?
Five cooperative agreements were awarded in April 2010 to the following institutions:

 

Institution

Funding Amount

Oregon Health & Science University

$2,720,000 (includes $900,000 for National Training and Dissemination Center)

University of Alabama at Birmingham            

$1,820,000

Johns Hopkins University     

$1,820,000

Columbia University      

$1,820,000

Duke University          

$1,820,000

The duration of the award is a maximum of two years.

E3. What are some of the milestones in the program timeline?

 

Date

   

Milestone

 

April 2010

Awards issued

April 2010

Developers' Workshop

Early August 2010

First draft of curriculum materials released to instructors from the Community College Consortia program's member colleges

Late August 2010

Training on curriculum materials facilitated by the National Training and Dissemination Center for instructors from the Community College Consortia program’s member colleges

September 2010

Instructors from the Community College Consortia program’s member colleges begin using curriculum materials

Spring/Summer 2011

1st round of revision of curriculum materials (Version 2.0) released to the public

Spring 2012

2nd round of revision of curriculum materials (Version 3.0) released to the public