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Focus group evaluation of a student-created open educational resource on obesity

Monday 11:30-13:00 (3), Grainger Suite

Type: Short paper

Theme: Students as users and co-creators

#oer14 #abs31


Shannon Boardman, BMedSci student, University of Nottingham, [email protected]
Dr Shade Agboola MFPH, Lecturer & Hon. StR in Public Health, University of Nottingham, [email protected]
Dr Bruce McKenzie MB ChB, MPH, DMI RCSEd, MRCGP, MFPH, Clinical Lecturer & Hon. StR in Public Health, University of Nottingham, [email protected]



The obesogenic environment is as important as lifestyle choices in obesity. Medical students may overemphasise personal responsibility [1], leading to victim-blaming attitudes as doctors[2].Learning from peers can be an effective teaching approach[3], thus a student-created resource may help to reduce “weight bias”. There is limited evidence on the merit of students as producers of open educational resources (OER). This poster describes the development and peer evaluation of a student-led OER on obesity.


The OER was storyboarded then built using Xerte Online Toolkits. Six University of Nottingham medical students were recruited by convenience sampling. Consenting students completed the resource and attended an incentivised focus group. The facilitator used a topic guide, moving on when the discussion reached saturation. After recording and transcription, data on student experience of using the OER were independently coded by three researchers using NVivo software. Following coding consensus, the data were subject to thematic analysis[4]. The protocol received Medical School Ethics Committee approval.


The package was received favourably, and all participants appreciated the interactivity and ease of use. The participants acknowledged that the scenarios were effective in shifting attitudes away from predominant personal responsibility. The students that participated in the focus group session did not see the package as an alternative to lectures, but they recommended a follow-up seminar which may provide wider opportunities for discussion and exploration of the concepts introduced in the package. The findings suggest that after completing the OER on obesity, medical students might be less judgemental in their view of obese patients, and be more understanding of the underlying determinants that contribute to obesity. The participants suggested that a more objective means of evaluating change in attitudes would be provided by quizzes assessing opinions both at the beginning and on completion of the resource.


Participant experience with this OER supports a role for students as producers. This study suggests that resources created by student peers are regarded as reputable, can challenge preconceptions and induce positive attitude change. Involvement in OER creation brings tangible benefits to the producer, such as clarification of subject material, technical skill acquisition, creative expression and teaching experience. Further research evaluating a range of student-led OERs in various medical subjects might consolidate their place in the undergraduate curriculum. Formal faculty support and funding could create more opportunities for students to produce OERs and encourage them as active participants in their own learning.


[1] Persky, S. and Eccleston, C.P. (2011). Medical student bias and care recommendations for an obese versus non-obese virtual patient. Fam Med, vol 35, pp728–35.
[2] Foster, G.D., Wadden, T.A., Makris, A.P., Davidson, D., Sanderson, R.S., Allison, D.B., et al. (2003). Primary care physicians’ attitudes about obesity and its treatment. Obes Res vol 11, pp1168–77.
[3] Schmidt, H.G. and Moust, J.H.C. (1995). What makes a tutor effective? A structural-equations modeling approach to learning in a problem-based curricula. Acad Med, vol 70, pp708–14.
[4] Braun, V. and Clarke, V. (2008). Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qual Res Psychol, vol 3, pp77–101.


Further details

Keywords: OER, medical student, obesity, peer-learning, student-created

Miss Shannon Boardman, Medical student, University of Nottingham

Twitter abstract: Focus group evaluation of student-led obesity OER points to mutually beneficial role for student peer producers #OER14