Maha M.A. El Tantawi
Journal of dental education, 2010
"The use of the Internet in health professions education has markedly increased in recent years. There is a need to understand the methods used by students to benefit from Internet-based teaching methods, especially those initially designed to promote social interaction such as blogs. This study describes how students used a blog in a biostatistics and research design graduate dental course. The aims of the blog were to offer exercises to train students for the exam and to enhance interaction among students and between students and instructor. Some features of the blog were modified to suit the course. Posts and comments were counted and classified by type, and their time statistics were analyzed. Students filled out a questionnaire to indicate whether and how exactly they used the blog or reasons for not using it. The relation between final exam scores and different methods of using the blog was assessed. Most of the posts were by the instructor offering exercises and model answers, whereas most of the comments were by students answering the exercises. Students were significantly more satisfied with blog uses related to interaction than with uses related to exercises (9.15±1.19, 8.73±1.34, P=0.001). The most frequently cited reason for not using the blog was lack of time. The most frequently reported method of using the blog was reading exercises and answers without actively contributing to the blog. Methods of using the blog significantly associated with higher scores in the final exam were actively contributing to the blog by posts or comments and interacting with colleagues. The main advantage of using the blog was promoting interaction between students and instructor, which is essential for the success of online learning in particular and adult learning in general."