Using the internet to assess and teach medical students in dermatology

Chih-Ho Hong, David McLean, Jerry Shapiro, Harvey Lui
Journal of Cutaneous Medicine and Surgery 2002, 6 (4): 315-9

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: We wish to develop and evaluate a user-friendly online interactive teaching and examination model as an adjunct to traditional bedside teaching of medical students during a clinical rotation in dermatology.

METHODS: Following completion of an online examination, senior medical students at the University of British Columbia (n = 178) were asked to complete an online survey to evaluate their acceptance of this new method. The online examination model was evaluated through students' responses to the questionnaire-based evaluation they were asked to complete following their examination. Responses were evaluated on a standardized 5-point scale.

RESULTS: A high response rate was achieved (98.9%). Overall, 93% of senior medical students felt that the Internet was a useful and effective way to administer a dermatology examination. Most (90%) preferred the online examination to a traditional paper-and-pencil examination and the majority (88%) felt that the quality of digital images presented was sufficient to make an accurate diagnosis. In addition, students strongly supported the further development of teaching resources on the web and would use these resources in learning dermatology (93%).

CONCLUSIONS: The development of an online interactive examination tool for dermatology is technically feasible with current technology. Senior medical students are not only accepting of this new technology but also prefer it to more traditional formats and indicate enthusiasm for the development of further online teaching resources in dermatology.

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