COMSEP 2008 Atlanta Meeting
Assessment of the Impact of a Change in Technology Used to Support Distributed Learning
Sarah Shea and Mohsin Rashid
Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
Introduction: Videoconferencing has been used at our institution to support the delivery of 20, one-hour seminars for on-site and off-site students during their pediatric clerkship. In September 2006, videoconferencing was replaced by the BRIDGIT/Smart Board system.
Objective: To examine faculty’s assessment of the impact of a change in technology used to support distribution of clerkship seminars on students’ participation and overall experience and to review students’ global satisfaction with the seminars before and after the change.
Methods: Faculty who had led seminars both before and after the change were surveyed with a questionnaire. Students’ global ratings of the seminars were compared for the 2 time periods.
Results: All 18 faculty delivering the 20 seminars responded, with 40% reporting they had made a change in the seminar in response to the change in technology. Only one had changed the content, the rest describing changes in the visuals or style of presentation. Participation in the seminar was felt to have increased for on-site clerks by 33% of faculty and for off-site clerks by 50% of faculty. None reported a decrease in participation. 56% of faculty felt there had been an improvement in students’ experience overall. After using it for one year, 30% were still not comfortable using the technology. There was no change in the students’ global ratings of the seminars with a high satisfaction level found for both time periods.
Conclusions: Distributed learning requires high quality technology. A change from videoconferencing to the BRIDGIT/SmartBoard system made a positive impact on students’ participation and overall experience as perceived by faculty members. Faculty development to increase comfort with the new technologies is needed.