Learner’s guide for students

The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), through the efforts of a group of dermatology educators, has created an online medical student core curriculum, a series of online modules and videos that encompass the core principles of dermatology that all physicians should know. These online modules were designed to meet the needs of all dermatology learners, including those engaged in a clerkship as well as those studying independently. This learner’s guide outlines the format, content and objectives of these modules in an effort to guide and optimize your learning.

The online curriculum encompasses a broad range of dermatologic topics, but the format for each module is consistent and contains the same general components:

  • Goals and objectives.
  • Module instructions.
  • Question and answer.
  • Take-home points.
  • References.

Learning objectives for the curriculum overall are also offered. 

For every dermatologic condition, the module presents information in several different ways, thereby broadening the scope of your learning. These content areas include:

  • Morphology.
  • Links to the Dermatology Glossary, which defines key terms.
  • Clinical evaluation.
  • Sample cases (fictional cases based on typical presentations).
  • Basic elements of treatment.
  • When to refer to a dermatologist.

Designed for self-teaching, the online modules allow you to go through the material at your own pace. Because each module typically takes less than 30 minutes to complete, you have the option of working through multiple modules in one session. You may also choose to do a more comprehensive review of a module or even a particular concept; there are no time limits or constrictions in this curriculum, and you are welcome to revisit modules as many times as you like.

As you go through the material, you will notice repetition of elements from other modules; this will reinforce concepts learned previously. The case-based questions will help you test your knowledge, and the take-home points at the end of each module will provide an overview of the topic you’ve just covered.

Although you may complete the modules in any order, we recommend you start with the introductory modules. These modules will allow you to describe findings from a skin exam and understand the basic pathophysiology of common skin diseases, as well as the appropriate treatment strategies. The introductory modules include:

In addition, multiple instructional videos on dermatologic procedures have been created. Links to these videos are embedded within the modules and are also accessible from the curriculum's main Web page.

Additionally, students completing a clinical rotation in dermatology may wish to approach the online curriculum as a supplement to a two- or four-week clerkship. For this purpose, sample two- and four-week curricula have been included under the suggested order of modules included in this learner's guide.

It is our hope that this online curriculum will broaden your knowledge of dermatology, enhance your skills in evaluating and diagnosing skin conditions and provide you with a valuable, accessible resource that will benefit you — and your future patients — in the clinical setting.