Background: Medical humanities courses often assign ”great books” to cultivate students' personal development and professional competences. Students find conventional approaches to learning these texts difficult because of the classics' old-fashioned language and learners' lack of context from which to draw inferences. To motivate students, a course on ”Reading Literary Classics: The Interpretation of Dreams” used project-based learning approaches. This paper: (1) introduces these innovative teaching methods; (2) reports on students' learning experiences; and (3) discusses the implications of these teaching experiences. Materials and Methods: Students' own dreams and commercial advertisements were used as scenarios to make Freud's concepts relevant to the 38 learners' life experiences in the fall 2010 course. Learning experiences were assessed through student questionnaires and qualitative analysis of students' reflection notes. Results: Based on thirty-three students' (87% response rate) anonymous course evaluation feedback, 85% of respondents said analyzing their own dreams as the most effective teaching method; 63% cited advertisement analysis. The course design and student learning outcomes were rated among the top six 2010 Ministry of Education Excellent Humanities Course Projects. Conclusions: This curriculum offers project-based learning approaches to facilitate study of literary classics. Student evaluations indicated that analyses of students' dreams and of commercial advertisements were the most effective project assignments. These project-based learning approaches enhanced students' self-understanding and motivation for learning through a medical humanities course.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)114-121
Number of pages8
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • medical humanities
  • project-based learning
  • reading literary classics


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