EPIC User's Guide


EPIC is a module-based faculty development system for preceptors of health-professions students. This user's guide will give an orientation to the curriculum, including a description of the modules. The hallmark of EPIC is flexibility. It may be adapted to meet the user's goals and needs. EPIC can be used as a simple reference tool or it can function as a complete curriculum. Continuing education credit is available for each module, as well as the Expert Preceptor designation, which may be earned by completing a specified number and type of learning modules.

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EPIC is divided into ten modules. Each of the first three modules focuses on one critical skill related to clinical teaching in the community practice setting and include the following topics: setting the stage, effective teaching, and evaluating performance and giving feedback. The remaining seven modules focus on teaching contemporary health issues. Each module is composed of a series of learning activities and a mastery exercise, which may be submitted for continuing education credit. Access each module by clicking on its name from the EPIC homepage.

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Topic Overviews

Information in EPIC is presented by topic, along with specific learning activities that may be completed on-line. A Topic Overview is provided for each module, for users with slow Internet connection speeds or who would like something to read away from the computer. Those users choosing to use the topic overview may then complete the activities for that module on-line. Some activities refer to information not included in the Topic Overview. Activity-specific content is found directly preceding the activity.

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Module Indexes

Each module contains an index with hyper links to all module content. It is found in the Introduction section of each module.

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The notebook feature of EPIC allows you to save the activities you have completed within the EPIC modules. A notebook is created for each module upon completion of one activity in that module. The notebook allows the user to view or print completed work. It is not used for grading purposes, it is solely for the benefit of the user.

The notebook may also serve as a gauge to help the user remember his or her place in the module from session to session. The notebook icon appears on the EPIC homepage and this tells you that you have begun work on that module. By clicking on the notebook icon you may view the completed work you have saved in that module. The notebook will also tell you the date you completed an activity. When you have completed a module and submitted the mastery exercise, the notebook icon will change from to . This lets you know that you have completed that module.

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Saving activities: Using the Save It feature.

To avoid losing work: Save each activity before navigating to another web page.

Clicking the Save It icon at the top of each activity will present you with 2 choices for saving your work.You may:

  1. Click "Save what I've done so far": Your answers will be saved within the textboxes of the activity. You may return to work on them later OR
  2. Click "Activity Complete": Your answers within the textboxes of the activity will be transfered to your Notebook, indicating that the activity is complete.

These methods of saving are described below.

"Save what I've done so far":

If you are not yet finished with a particular activity and would like to come back to it at a later time, click this button. The next time you come back to that activity, the information you previously entered will reappear in the textboxes of the activity. Be aware that this feature is not available for multiple choice questions that use radio-buttons. You do not need to save each question.

If you see a blue forward or backward arrow ( ), you know that you are within an activity (i.e., a web page) and your work will not be lost.

To avoid losing work: Save each activity before navigating to another web page:

If you would like to visit another web page while working on an activity, be sure to click "save what I have done so far" before leaving the page.

"Activity Complete":

When you complete an activity, click on this button and your answers within the textboxes of the activity will be transfered to your Notebook, indicating that the activity is complete.

IMPORTANT NOTE: You may not edit material that has been submitted to your notebook, but you may overwrite it. If you think you may want to edit an activity at a later date, be sure to click the button, "Save what I have done so far."


You don't have to use the Notebook:

If you are not able to have online access to a computer for a sufficient period of time, you may wish to print out the module activities to work on at a later time. It is not necessary for you to then enter your answers and submit them to the Notebook. Instead, you may simply save your paper copies for later reference and enter your answers to the Mastery Exercise and submit the mastery exercise and the module evaluation form in order to earn credit for the module.

Saving Notebook entries to disk or your computer's hard drive:

Activity entries in your Notebook can be saved to a disk or your computer's hard drive by opening the activity entry you wish to save from the notebook, clicking within the white space of that activity entry, and selecting File--> Save As... You then select a location to save the activity and name it.


Any screen within EPIC, including the Notebook entries, may be printed by clicking within the frame you would like to print and selecting File-->Print Frame .

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Computer System Requirements for EPIC

As a rule of thumb:
For Hardware:
In general, computers purchased new within the last 2 years should be optimal for participating in the EPIC program.
For Software:
At this time we highly recommend using Netscape Communicator 4.0 or later. You will also need the RealPlayer plugin.

Participation in the EPIC program requires a computer with access to the World Wide Web. To utilize all the features of the EPIC program, specific recommendations are made below regarding optimal hardware and software configurations; and internet connectivity. Please let us know (email epic@med.unc.edu) if you would like to participate using different configuration.






Pentium II class PC compatible computer
Power Macintosh G3

Pentium class PC compatible computer
Power Macintosh


200 mHz

75 mHz


64 MB

16 MB

Free Hard disk space:

50 MB

30 MB

Operating system

Windows 95
Mac OS 8.5

Windows 95
Mac OS 7.5


17" SVGA


Input devices:

Mouse (or other pointing device)

Standard keyboard

Mouse (or other pointing device)

Standard keyboard


Built-in or external speakers

Built-in or external speakers

Internet Access:



Network adapter:

56 kbps modem or ethernet card

28.8 kbps modem

Internet Service:

Internet Service Provider Account; DSL service, cable modem service or direct internet connection via school, hospital, etc.

Internet Service Provider Account





Netscape Navigator

Version 4.5 or greater

Version 4.0x or greater

Internet Explorer

Not recommended

Version 4.0x or greater


Javascript (installed with browser)

turned ON (default in most browsers) ; Version 1.3

turned ON (default in most browsers) ; Version 1.2

RealAudio Player

G2 version (both PC and Mac)

Version 5.0

If possible, try to upgrade to the latest version of the software available. All are available free for download on the internet (Netscape: http://www.netscape.com ; RealPlayer: http://www.real.com ). There is no one preferred Internet Service Provider. The most important factors are that the phone call is local; their modems are at least as fast as yours; and that you can connect when you wish without wait or busy signals. AOL may be used for internet access, but not with the AOL browser (we recommend Netscape Navigator version 4.5 or greater)

A faster internet connection will result in greater ease navigating though the EPIC site.

Some internet service providers will terminate your internet session if no activity is detected for 15 minutes. Completing the activities in many of the exercises may be read by some internet service providers as lack of activity. Opening a second browser window to a site that frequently updates itself (such as weather sites, news sites, etc.), and minimizing that window, can prevent your session from being inopportunely terminated.

Although this program has undergone extensive testing, there is no way to account for every possible hardware, software and internet connection scenario. If you experience a problem, please let us know (e-mail epic@med.unc.edu).

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Real Audio plugin:

EPIC includes audio portions that are encoded using Real Audio from Real Systems. To play these segments, the Real Player G2 plugin is required. Click on the icon above to download the free version of the G2 player or visit RealSystems for other versions.

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Discussion forum

The EPIC discussion forum may be accessed from the navigation bar of any activity. Its purpose is to offer preceptors a forum for discussing new ideas about precepting. We also hope preceptors will make new acquaintances, and be able to use each other as expert resources. The discussion forum is referenced at several points within the modules where we felt that there might be issues worth discussing. Please take some time to enter a welcome message introducing yourself, your interests related to precepting and anything else about yourself you feel others might find useful or interesting.

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Continuing Education Credit

Each of the EPIC modules is designed to take approximately two hours to complete. Likewise, two hours of continuing education credit is available for each module through either the School of Medicine or the School of Pharmacy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. To obtain credit, take the following steps: (1) Complete the appropriate Continuing Education Credit registration form, accessed from the registration link on the EPIC homepage, (2) Complete the section of each module titled "CE Credit." The CE Credit/ACPE pages also include a module evaluation. It is very important that both the evaluation and the CE Credit/ACPE claim information be completed; we cannot award credit without all of this information.

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The Expert Preceptor Designation

The Expert Preceptor designation is earned by completing the first three modules and five of the remaining seven modules. Complete the section under "Registration" called "EPIC Registration" to be eligible for this certification. Those who earn the designation will receive a certificate suitable for framing from The Unversity of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Schools of Medicine or Pharmacy and the North Carolina Area Health Education Centers Program recognizing the holder as an Expert Preceptor.

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EPIC development group

Carol P. Tresolini, Ph.D.
Project Director, content author
Office of Educational Development
UNC School of Medicine
(919) 966-3641
Dale S. Krams
Preceptor liaison, technology consultant
Office of Educational Development
UNC School of Medicine
(919) 843-9370
Katherine Savage, M.A.
Content development
Office of Educational Development

UNC School of Medicine
(919) 966-3641
Others involved with program development:
Frank T. Stritter, Ph.D.
Content author
Office of Educational Development
UNC School of Medicine
(919) 966-3641

Kim Leadon, M.Ed.
ACPE credit
Director, Office of Experiential Education
UNC School of Pharmacy

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EPIC Advisory Panel

Alan Brown, MSW
Associate Director, ORPCE
Central AHEC

Diane Kjervik, JD, RN, FAAN
School of Nursing
UNC-Chapel Hill

Phillip A Price, MHS, PA-C
Director of Clinical Education
Physician Assistant Program
Duke University

Diana McDuffee, M.L.S.
AHEC LIS Network Coordinator
Health Sciences Library

Jane Radford
Continuing Medical Education
School of Medicine
UNC-Chapel Hill
Beat Steiner, MD
Dept of Family Medicine
School of Medicine
UNC-Chapel Hill

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Email EPIC staff

If you wish to contact us with questions or comments, please do. Someone will get back with you as soon as possible to answer your questions or to connect you with appropriate resources.

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Internet 101 Tutorial

If you are unfamiliar with the World Wide Web and the Internet you may wish to take a look at this tutorial.

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