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A study of videoconferencing for postgraduate continuing education in dentistry in the UK--the teachers' view.

Authors
Type
Published Article
Journal
European journal of dental education : official journal of the Association for Dental Education in Europe
Publication Date
Volume
5
Issue
3
Pages
113–119
Identifiers
PMID: 11520334
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

Videoconferencing is an established method for providing medical education over long distances. Our aims were to assess the feasibility of videoconferencing in dental postgraduate education, to evaluate its practicability, teacher satisfaction and evaluate equipment. Twenty-seven teachers from the 4 London Dental Schools provided 41 postgraduate dental education sessions on a range of topics to regional postgraduate centres and dental practices as part of the Thames Health Region's programme. Videoconferencing was carried out using a relatively inexpensive personal computer system link using ISDN2 telephone lines and Z350 protocol. Presenter views and assessment were obtained by questionnaire, interview and videotape. Teachers felt that minimal additional preparation time was required for videoconferencing and 21/27 preferred it to in-person teaching, most noting the saving in travel time. Only 3 of the teachers were dissatisfied with their ability to communicate, 4 were equivocal and 20 were either pleased or very pleased. The teachers largely enjoyed the experience and performed well in the new medium. However, sound quality proved inadequate in 5/41 links and most sessions included some periods of suboptimal sound. Only 4 teachers were satisfied with their ability to perform question and answer interaction with the audience. We conclude that experienced teachers adapt readily to videoconferencing and learn to communicate effectively very quickly. Teachers were positive about the medium despite its shortcomings and improvements in sound quality would allow a rapid expansion of postgraduate dental education by videoconference.

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