Name of the participant and other supporting staff if relevant

Mrs Suzanne Russell,

Dr Ikhlas El Karim the consultant who is the module co-ordinator

Name of the module and discipline, level and  year of study and any useful background info

The module is Evidence Based Dentistry (DEN4010) and is worth the equivalent of 5 ECTS

Students are 4th year undergraduates

The course has 5 lectures and 12 tutorials and is assessed by the submission of two papers – the first is worth 20% and the second is worth 80%.

Learning outcomes include being able to describe what is meant by evidence-based dentistry, recognising how a good research question is constructed, and understanding relevant research methods.

Name of community partner and/or any other supporting partners (public or private sector)

Springfield Charitable Association

CERL project title(s)

Carry out a systematic review of dental issues in patients with dementia

What they changed about their programme/course in relation to CERL

Students were required to critically analyse a research paper (in this case systematic review paper).  The module refocused to carry out this critical appraisal on papers generated by a community partner.  The module lead was keen to see what a connection with community can produce

Can you provide any tangible info – e.g. module descriptor, learning outcomes, assignments, assessment criteria


The aim of the module is to introduce students to the importance of critically appraising different studies, different papers, different types of research.  a range of different staff teach on the module, and there is also teaching on statistics. After critical appraisal the students were to sum up the info as practical information that the community partner could apply to its users.  This was was a pilot scheme with the hope it would become a compulsory element for the module

How was it taught:

·        number of students

·        student groupwork or individual,

·        how they worked with the partner,

·        how the project proceeded,

·        any reflection done with students,

·        evaluation or formal assessment of their learning,

·        Could or should we follow up with students?

·        tech used

·        Anything else interesting?

Overall there were 60 students on the module and they worked in four groups of 15 students

Tasks were broken down within the groups, with subgroups reviewing the papers, doing the presentation and doing the write up.   Students are expected to produce a written systematic review paper as well as a ‘layman’ write up where they clearly explained dental terms

They also produced a leaflet

Module outcomes were open and left space for interpretation – e.g. ‘critically appraise a paper’ ‘demonstrate teamwork’; there were only 3 learning outcomes for the module which gave flexibility. The community element was not a compulsory element of the formal assessment, nor was the leaflet, and the students were aware of this

Lectures were recorded separately; teaching mainly via Teams, Terry from Springfield Charitable Association recorded a video interview which touched on the many issues faced on accessing dental care, made all the more difficult with decline in NHS services and for patients with imparted cognitive ability. which was shared with the students

The timing was good to pilot this as there was space in the curriculum to fill.

What did your students learn or how will they benefit?

Students were followed up in early May using a feedback form based on template provided by another CIRCLET sub-group member. The timing meant there were only 9 responses, which were fairly positive. Students fed back that they learned how to take academic knowledge and present it to a lay audience; the fact that people needed the information they were producing gave it another dimension.  Using dementia as a topic highlighted the dental needs of a particular population and students therefore wanted to produce a leaflet

What do you think the benefit was to the partner? Do they have any feedback from the partner?

The students critically analysed the literature available on prevention and reduction of dental issues to reduce of the need/less frequent trips to the dentist The organisation got a leaflet summarising key findings which could be used by them to highlight and promote dental health for clients and their families.

How could/will you improve your CERL teaching practice next time?

I would keep format similar (depending on the project and the group)

Any challenges and how you overcame them


I had to carry out an overall literature search to narrow down the scope for the students which was time consuming; I also struggled to fit some of the work within the remit of the module; I needed to provide 6 more tutorials (3 herself, 3 senior colleague) to support the students so this work definitely required additional staff time

Advice you would give to someone starting a CERL project with students?


Make sure you have enough time; I did a lot in my own time but as this was my first time doing it I will refine the process. Engage with your students; get support from a colleague

Any good quotes we could use in the IO1 report

There was a different focus for the students, not just attainment and targets so the students were more motivated 

Anything else they want moving forward with their CERL practice?

Evidence of CPD, written evidence that she has done extra work, content that she can put in to her appraisal and use it for professional development.  This would also be a good way to spread the word about this kind of work as senior colleagues would be reading about it.   She would appreciate more structured intervention on how staff could continue to work together.