Use of information and communication technology among dental students at the University of Jordan

Lamis D Rajab, Zaid H Baqain
Journal of Dental Education 2005, 69 (3): 387-98
The aim of this study was to investigate the current knowledge, skills, and opinions of undergraduate dental students at the University of Jordan with respect to information communication technology (ICT). Dental students from the second, third, fourth, and fifth years were asked to complete a questionnaire presented in a lecture at the end of the second semester in the 2002-03 academic year. The response rate was 81 percent. Besides free and unlimited access to computers at the school of dentistry, 74 percent of the students had access to computers at home. However, 44 percent did not use a computer regularly. Male students were more regular and longer users of computers than females (p<0.001). A significant number of students (70 percent) judged themselves competent in information technology (IT) skills. More males felt competent in basic IT skills than did females (p<0.05). More than two-thirds acquired their computer skills through sources other than at the university. The main educational use of computers was accessing the Internet, word processing, multimedia, presentations, Medline search, and data management. More clinical students felt competent in word-processing skills (p<0.05) and many more used word processing for their studies (p<0.001) than did preclinical students. More males used word processing for their studies than females (p<0.001). Students used computers for personal activities more frequently than for academic reasons. More males used computers for both academic (p<0.01) and personal activities (p<0.001) than did females. All students had access to the Internet at the university, and 54 percent had access at home. A high percentage of students (94 percent) indicated they were comfortable using the Internet, 75 percent said they were confident in the accuracy, and 80 percent said they were confident in the relevance of information obtained from the Internet. Most students (90 percent) used email. Most students (83 percent) supported the idea of placing lectures on the web, and 61.2 percent indicated that this would not influence lecture attendance. Students used the Internet more for personal reasons than for the study of dentistry. More clinical students used the Internet for dentistry than preclinical students (p<0.001). More males than females used the Internet for dentistry (p<0.01) as well as for pleasure (p<0.01). Time and availability were the main obstacles to Internet use. Dental students at the University of Jordan have access to substantial IT resources and demonstrated attitudes toward the computer and Internet technology and use that were similar to other students in other nations. However, the educational use of ICT among Jordanian students remains low.

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