Priorities for Optometric Education: Outcomes of the Curriculum Conference

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The Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO) and the American Optometric Association (AOA) jointly sponsored a national meeting in July 1992 for the primary purpose of developing a curriculum model for optometric education. The conference was the third in the “Summit in Optometric Education” series and attracted 138 national and international leaders representing organized optometry and academia. This paper discusses the conference framework and presents outcomes as determined by conferee summary reports, postconference surveys, and interviews. There is evidence that the conference produced several successful outcomes that could benefit future educational planners. The task of designing a curriculum with learning objectives, using the innovative outcomes-based education (OBE) approach, was achieved. The conferees identified the importance of refocusing optometry graduate programs to include a greater emphasis in the biological sciences in order to produce educators and researchers for the changing profession. In addition the workshops on alternate teaching strategies, including problem-based learning, raised awareness amongst educators and practioners of nontraditional options for presenting an ever-expanding information base within the confines of a 4-year professional curriculum.

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