Integration of web based technology in Pharmacy Seminar course
Heather A. Pace, Pharm.D., Andrew Smith, Pharm.D., BCPS, AQ Cardiology
To follow trends in pharmacy education and information exchange the coordinators of the Pharmacy Seminar course explored an alteration of the traditional course format to include a presentation via web based technology to remote audiences. The goal was to allow students to become familiar with current trends in information exchange and allow for participation from remote sites. The Pharmacy Seminar course is a one credit hour elective course during the final experiential year. The course traditionally consisted of two 30 minute presentations to a live audience in a classroom setting. The course is designed to provide students with experience in professional seminar development, audiovisual (AV) techniques, and seminar delivery. The objectives of the course include: critically evaluate scientific merit and clinical relevance of pertinent literature for selected topic, develop a recommendation based on the evidence evaluated, develop a well-organized and thorough presentation outline, develop appropriate learning objectives, demonstrate improved presentation skills, demonstrate effective use of audio visual equipment and technology, and demonstrate the ability to incorporate active learning into presentation. The changes in the course aimed to improve the students’ and faculty experience and satisfaction with the courses.
The coordinators of the course investigated the impact of the integration of web based technology to deliver the presentations. We hypothesized that more students and faculty will elect to participate in the course and overall satisfaction with the course will increase based on the rationale that web based technology will allow students to become familiar with current trends in information exchange and will allow for participation from remote sites allowing both students and faculty to participate from various locations.
Methods: Web based technology (WIMBA) was employed for student presentations. The course coordinators developed an online training session completed by students prior to scheduled presentations. The online training sessions allowed students to become familiar with and gain skills of web based presentation technology. Faculty were offered online training sessions as well, in addition to gaining skills through participation in the course presentations.
A web-based survey (Survey Monkey) was administered to all students and faculty eligible for participation in the pharmacy seminar course to gauge reasons for participation, interest, and satisfaction in the course prior to and following the implementation of web based technology. The protocol received approval from UMKC Social Sciences Institutional review Board.
Outcomes: All survey respondents indicated that the reasons for participation included preparation for residency and to gain presentation experience. Prior to implementation of the web based technology 41% responded that the inclusion of web based technology would have positively impacted their decision to participate in the course. Following the implantation, only 7% cited the technology an influencing factor for participation.
Following implementation of web based technology the course had more guest attendees than during the live classroom presentations.
While overall course satisfaction remained unchanged, participation in the course increased as evidenced by increased guest participants as well as faculty attendance increased following implementation of the technology.
Overall, the changes in the course proved to be successful and were viewed as positive by both students and faculty, however did not come without challenges. As always with any new technology there is a natural learning curve with all participants as well connection issues for individual participants. The coordinators attempted to overcome this with training session for all students and faculty. Due to the nature of participation from remote locations, obtaining evaluations of the presentations in timely manner was more difficult, while evaluations of classroom presentations were submitted immediately following the conclusion of the presentations. Additionally faculty reported more difficulty focusing during the presentations when viewed from a remote location, often citing in office distractions as a reason. During the web based presentations, there was less interactions and questions than in the classroom, which may potentially increase with comfort and time as more participants become familiar with the interactions and functions of the technology used for the course.
Exposing the students to new technology is always beneficial and allows students to be more up to date with changing trends. The use of the web based technology also allowed the audience to participate from remote sites which in turn increased the number of audience members.