The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

1999 OPEN FORUM Abstracts

INTERNET AND COMPUTER APPLICATION BEFORE AND AFTER AN INTERNET-BASED COURSE IN A BACCALAUREATE RESPIRATORY CARE PROGRAM

Erna L. Boone, M.Ed., R.R.T.*, Michael E. Anders, M.P.H., R.R.T.*, Donald D. Simpson, M.P.H.?, and Shelly Y. Lensing, M.S.? University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, College of Health Related Professions* and Department of Pediatrics?; Little Rock, Arkansas

Background: A one-semester credit Internet-based course, Current Topics I, was developed and offered to senior baccalaureate level students during the fall, 1998 semester. WEB-CT, an Internet course template, was used to develop the course. Among the goals of the course were to 1.) Increase student experience in the use of the Internet as an information resource and 2.) Improve student proficiency with computer applications.

Method: The course consisted of eight current topics. Students searched the Internet for references that served as the basis for an Internet-based, asynchronous, threaded discussion of each topic. A pre-course survey was administered prior to participation in the course and the identical survey was administered during the spring, 1999 semester. The survey elicited quantitative and qualitative data concerning the student's current experience and perceived proficiency in the use of the Internet and in basic computer applications.

Results:

Student Responses Pre-course Post-course
Proficient with computer applications 20% 60%
Regularly use e-mail 30% 100%
Regularly use the Internet 50% 100%
Concern for computer-related deficiencies 50% 0%

Experience: This course was the authors' first experience with Internet-based education. Internet-supported (e-mail, forum, course evaluation and testing) capabilities have subsequently been added to several courses in the curriculum. Additionally, the program is developing a non-traditional CRT-to-RRT and a RRT-to-BS track, each of which contain a significant Internet-based course component. Program faculty is also discussing the feasibility of problem-based learning utilizing an Internet-based course.

Conclusions: This data suggests that an Internet-based course may be associated with increased use and improved proficiency in Internet and computer applications that is maintained after completion of the course. Professional educational programs might anticipate that Internet-based courses could be successfully implemented despite initial student computer-related deficiencies.

OF-99-204

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