For Educators

A Professor's Guide to Incorporating Sketchy into Your Curriculum

Learn how Sketchy can be implemented in multiple classroom settings and teaching styles that will benefit both you and your students.

As a medical school professor, finding ways to engage your students and provide them with the best possible education is always a concern. An effective approach, according to a panel by The Chronicle of Higher Education, is called “designing learning for student success.”1 The idea is to actually involve students in course design improvements and the teaching process—because they have the most insight into what’s going well in the classroom and areas that need improvement. While there are many ways to design learning for student success, we’ll spend some time here talking about incorporating resources that are already familiar to students.

Before we get into how to use Sketchy in the classroom, first—a quick look at what Sketchy is and why your students keep choosing it as their number one resource. Sketchy is a comprehensive video platform that offers students a unique and interactive way to learn about complex medical concepts. The platform uses narrated illustrations, full of memorable art and linked symbols, to help students make connections between what they are already familiar with and new topics they need to learn. Sketchy also offers interactive quizzes and review cards to help students solidify the connections they make and establish a strong foundation on which to build further knowledge. More information about how Sketchy works can be found here.

Most medical schools in the United States follow either a traditional “course” based curriculum or a more modern “systems” based curriculum. Sketchy works for both.


Course Based Curriculum

If you teach within a course based curriculum, then you know how important it is for students to understand each topic as a foundation for learning subsequent medical knowledge. Browse through Sketchy and you’ll find our curriculum organized by course and unit. Regardless of your teaching approach, Sketchy can be paired with a course based curriculum to help your students learn and remember each topic as they progress through their studies.


Systems Based Curriculum

Since a systems based or “integrated” curriculum is organized around an entire organ system, topics that are separated in a course based model are often combined. This poses unique educational challenges and opportunities. Sketchy has developed systems-based collections to align our unforgettable topics with your system based curriculum teaching needs.


How to Use Sketchy

Alright, with these different curricula in mind, let’s walk through different ways to incorporate Sketchy. We’ll use the MS1 course “Pathology I” as an example. The following ways to use Sketchy can be incorporated into the curriculum independently of each other, or combined with multiple learning models.

*Sketchy has much more content coverage than only pathology! Our full breakdown can be found here.


Flipped Classroom

A flipped classroom is a teaching approach in which students learn new material outside of class, typically through watching videos or reading texts. Then, they come to class ready to discuss and apply what they have learned. Opportunities to incorporate Sketchy into a flipped classroom structure could include:

1. Pre-class preparation:

Before class, students would be responsible for reviewing a topic like acute & chronic pancreatitis (Covered in Pathology 1) by watching the corresponding Sketchy video and reviewing its quiz questions.

2. In-class activities: 

During class, students could apply what they have learned about acute & chronic pancreatitis. This might involve activities like splitting into small groups to review and discuss a recent research article published on the topic, working through a simulation exercise, or participating in problem-based learning (which we’ll get to next!).

3. Follow-up:

After class, assigned homework could involve further study of the material using Sketchy and other resources; for example, reviewing quiz questions answered incorrectly during pre-class preparation, revisiting Sketchy’s review cards, and completing additional problem-solving or application activities.


Problem-Based Learning (PBL) / Case-Based Learning (CBL)

Problem-based learning (PBL) and case-based learning (CBL) are educational approaches in which students learn by working through real-world problems and case studies. With these methods, students are typically given a problem or case study and then work in small groups to explore the problem, gather information, and come up with a solution or plan. The professor acts as a facilitator providing guidance and support. This approach emphasizes critical thinking and problem-solving skills, and encourages students to take an active role in their own learning. Opportunities to incorporate Sketchy into a PBL/CBL approach could include:

1. Introduction to the Problem or Case:

At the beginning of the session, introduce the problem or case study as normal. For example, a patient presents with fever and chest pain, and is diagnosed with myocarditis.

2. Introducing Sketchy:

To help students achieve the corresponding learning objectives, you could introduce the Sketchy video for myocarditis and learn as a group from the sketch information such as infectious causes.

3. Small Group Work:

Next, you could divide students into small groups and have them research myocarditis using Sketchy and other resources. For example, students might use Sketchy to review the pathophysiology of myocarditis.

4. Presentations and Discussion:

Finally, each group could present their findings to the class and facilitate a discussion. This could include a review of the relevant medical concepts using Sketchy and a discussion of the different treatment options and their potential risks and benefits.


Whatever teaching methods you use, Sketchy is a tool you can incorporate. And because many medical students already use Sketchy, it offers opportunities to involve students in your course in new and meaningful ways. Learn more about using Sketchy as a supplement in the classroom here.




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