Virtual Problem-Based Learning Workshop

“Have you been looking for a way to improve your PBL tutoring skill or enhance the effectiveness of your current PBL curriculum?”

Reflecting on the current pandemic situation, we decided to hold a Fully Online Problem-Based Learning Workshop starting Monday, June 5 through Friday, June 9, 2023, using Zoom. We set the class size limit to 16 people to ensure the best learning experience. We hope you can join us and learn from each other to advance the PBL curriculum and skills together.

We believe that the effective use and management of the virtual PBL curriculum must be a particular interest or an essential consideration for medical educators, as we all adapt to recent changes in the medical education environment caused by the pandemic. Embracing the overarching theme of the virtual PBL environment, our workshop will focus on:

  • PBL tutor training in the virtual setting
  • PBL case development and testing
  • PBL curriculum design, evaluation, and IT infrastructure
  • PBL curriculum innovation and Institutional change management

To meet your learning needs on the virtual PBL process, we are going to use a flipped classroom strategy, synchronous Zoom discussion, individual and group consultations, and virtual office hours during the workshop.
By the end of this workshop, participants will be able to:

  1. Articulate the principles of problem-based learning
  2. Design a more effective PBL curriculum
  3. Construct problems to be used in your PBL curriculum
  4. Facilitate a PBL tutor group dedicated to collectively solving problems
  5. Design an effective outcome assessment system for a tutor group and student learning


PBL uses real-world, authentic problems to facilitate active learning, collaborative problem solving, critical thinking, and real-time knowledge exploration. Dr. Howard Barrows, a seminal figure in PBL, implemented a PBL curriculum at Southern Illinois School of Medicine (SIUSOM), and since its onset to the present day, the university has been recognized for this innovative pedagogy. In this hands-on workshop, faculty develop skills for integrating problem-based learning within their curriculum, including how to design a problem-based curriculum, draft essential problems, facilitate small groups, and assess students. Through interactive skills sessions, faculty will practice tutoring problems they are developing for their own curriculum. Educators from a wide range of academic disciplines, educational interests, and cultural backgrounds are welcome. Workshop participants come from a variety of interdisciplinary backgrounds, and this creates a collaborative space for sharing problem-development ideas, institutional challenges, and creative solutions.


Boyung Suh, Ph.D., the course director, is an Assistant Professor of Medical Education at SIU School of Medicine. He earned a Ph.D. in Learning, Leadership, and Organization Development at the University of Georgia. Dr. Suh is director of the Academy for Scholarship in Education and co-director of Professional Development Pillar at the Center for Human and Organizational Potential at SIU School of Medicine. He is a member of the Educational Policy Council and Year 2, 3, and 4 Curriculum Advisory Committee.

Shelley Tischkau, Ph.D., is a Professor and Chair of Departments of Pharmacology and Medical Microbiology, Immunology and Cell Biology (MMICB) at SIU School of Medicine. She earned a Ph.D. in Molecular & Integrative Physiology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She teaches in the Endocrine/Reproduction/GI unit in the medical curriculum and is Chair of the Educational Policy Council. Dr. Tischkau has a diverse background that includes teaching at the K-12, junior college, undergraduate and graduate levels. She has experience incorporating problem-based learning and team-based learning in curriculum design, faculty development and tutor training.

Anna Cianciolo, Ph.D., is an Associate professor of Medical Education at SIU School of Medicine. She earned her Ph.D. in engineering psychology at the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2001, completed a 2-year postdoc at Yale University, and joined SIU in June 2011 with 10 years experience in training and education research for the U.S. Army. Her research interests vary widely, including facilitator practices in small group instruction, clinical reasoning development and assessment, and educational program evaluation. Dr. Cianciolo is the Editor in Chief of Teaching and Learning in Medicine.

Heeyoung Han, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Medical Education at SIU School of Medicine. She earned a Ph.D. in Human Resource Education at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She serves as a deputy editor of Teaching and Learning in Medicine and an editorial board member of Human Resource Development Review and Korean Medical Education Review. She holds an elected position as the MESRE (Medical Education Scholarship Research and Evaluation) section chair of CGEA (Central Group on Educational Affairs) of AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges).

Debra Klamen, MD, MHPE, is a Professor and Chair of the Department of Medical Education at SIU School of Medicine. She is also the Senior Associate Dean for Education and Curriculum. She is trained as a psychiatrist and earned her MD from the University of Chicago. She completed a Masters of Health Professional Education at the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1998. Dr. Klamen has written numerous articles on medical school education, focusing on assessment and educational innovation.


2023 Virtual Problem-Based Learning Workshop at SIU SOM

I. Workshop Outline

  • Title: P2023 Virtual PBL Workshop: The Facilitation and Evaluation of PBL in Virtual Settings
  • Dates: Monday, June 5 - Friday, June 9 (5 days)
  • Course Delivery: Zoom
  • Registration Fee: $600
  • Class Size: 12 Participants
  • Contact:   
  • Course Director: Boyung Suh, PhD (
  • Registration: Marco Coelho, Business Manager (
  • General Inquiry: Crystal Bright, Office Administrator (

II. Tentative Daily Schedule (Central Standard Time, CST)
Day 1. Monday, June 5, 2023
     10:00-10:50 Welcome & Introduction to Problem-Based Learning (PBL)
     11:00-11:50 Hands-on-PBL 1 (Non-Medical Case Opening)
     12:00-13:00 Hands-on-PBL 2
     13:00-13:50 Hands-on-PBL 3 (Non-Medical Case Closing)
     14:00-14:50 PBL Case Development 1 (Working Session & Consultation)
     14:50-15:00 Wrap-Up & Day 2 Orientation
Day 2. Tuesday, June 6
     10:00-11:45 PBL Tutor Group Facilitation (Topic Discussion & Consultation)
     12:00-13:00 Break & Self-Directed Learning
     13:00-14:45 Tutor Group Facilitation Training & Reflection 1 (Medical Case Opening)
     14:50-15:00 Wrap-Up & Day 3 Orientation
Day 3. Wednesday, June 7
     10:00-11:45 PBL Outcome Assessment (Topic Discussion & Consultation)
     12:00-13:00 Break & Self-Directed Learning
     13:00-14:45 Tutor Group Facilitation Training & Reflection 2 (Medical Case Closing)
     14:50-15:00 Wrap-Up & Day 4 Orientation
Day 4. Thursday, June 8
     10:00-11:45 PBL Curriculum Design & IT System (Topic Discussion & Consultation)
     12:00-13:00 Break & Self-Directed Learning
     13:00-13:50 Institutional Change Management (Topic Discussion & Consultation)
     14:00-14:50 PBL Case Development 2 (Working Session & Consultation)
     14:50-15:00 Wrap-Up & Day 5 Orientation
Day 5. Friday, June 9
     10:00-11:45 PBL Program Evaluation (Topic Discussion & Consultation)
     12:00-13:00 Break & Self-Directed Learning
     13:00-14:30 Case Field Testing (Engagement, Discussion, & Consultation)
     14:40-15:00 Reflection, Evaluation, & Adjourn

  • The SIU School of Medicine is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education for physicians.
  • The SIU School of Medicine designates this internet live activity for a maximum of 18AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.
  • SIU School of Medicine is preapproved as a continuing nursing education provider pursuant to Section 1300.130, subsection c), 1), B) and P) of the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation Nurse Practice Act. Nurses may receive a maximum of 18contact hours for completing this activity.
  • SIU School of Medicine is a licensed provider for continuing education for social workers (license #159-000106), professional counselors/clinical counselors (license number 197-000073), and clinical psychologists (license #268-000008). This program offers a maximum of 18CE program hours.


The most valuable aspect of this workshop is…
“Learning how PBL works and how to develop PBL problems.”
“Watching the PBL case unfold and glitches and areas where students got stuck. Seeing other workshop participants approach to PBL.”
“Learning how to be an effective tutor, being able to practice, and case writing.”
“The practice classes with the volunteer students.”
“Participating in an actual PBL gave me insight on how it is to be a learner.”
“Hearing from and working with people at other institutions.”
“Your entire team is a force of positivity and productivity. You model the collaborative strategies that you were teaching, and it was refreshing to see. SIU workshops are consistently memorable because of your commitment to best practices.”