Michael B. Barton and Richard J. Thode
Radiotherapy and oncology, 2010
"BACKGROUND: The major impediment to the expansion of oncology services is a shortage of personnel.
PURPOSE: To develop a distance learning course for radiation oncology trainees.
MATERIALS: Under the sponsorship of the Asia Pacific Regional Cooperative Agreement administered by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), a CD ROM-based Applied Sciences of Oncology (ASOC) distance learning course of 71 modules was created. The course covers communications, critical appraisal, functional anatomy, molecular biology, pathology. The materials include interactive text and illustrations that require students to answer questions before they can progress. The course aims to supplement existing oncology curricula and does not provide a qualification. It aims to assist students in acquiring their own profession's qualification. The course was piloted in seven countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America during 2004. After feedback from the pilot course, a further nine modules were added to cover imaging physics (three modules), informed consent, burnout and coping with death and dying, Economic analysis and cancer care, Nutrition, cachexia and fatigue, radiation-induced second cancers and mathematical tools and background for radiation oncology. The course was widely distributed and can be downloaded from http://www.iaea.org/Publications/Training/Aso/register.html. ASOC has been downloaded over 1100 times in the first year after it was posted. There is a huge demand for educational materials but the interactive approach is labour-intensive and expensive to compile. The course must be maintained to remain relevant."