The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

2002 OPEN FORUM Abstracts

From lecture to online teaching: experienceS with A NEONATAL RESPIRATORY THERAPY COURSE.

Ruben D Restrepo, MD, RRT, Doug Gardenhire, MS, RRT. Dept. of Cardiopulmonary Care Sciences. Georgia State University. Atlanta, GA.

BACKGROUND: Technology-enhanced education is becoming an important part of professional education. Web-based courses serve the needs of both traditional and non-traditional students by expanding their study options and allowing flexibility to set their own pace of learning. The traditional student population represents only 25% of campus enrollment (Van Dusen, 1998), making online education a very attractive alternative to meeting the needs of the changing student population. Nevertheless, conversion of curriculum from a traditional classroom environment to the Internet can be a challenging task. Though technology may add appeal to online courses, there is a growing interest in and concern for assessing student?s learning with the use of this new method for delivering education in the traditional campus-based student population. Web CT is one of the leading providers of web-based technology that allows faculty to enhance their instruction via the creation of World Wide Web-based educational environments.

PURPOSE: Despite the recent utilization of online education in the respiratory field, the effects of its use in lecture-based respiratory programs and student performance has not yet been documented. The purpose of this study was to evaluate performance of a small group of students who volunteered to take the Neonatal Respiratory Care course (RT 4081) on-line with the students who use lecture plus web-based technology to cover the material.

Methods: RT 4081 is a three-hour credit course offered during the last semester of the senior year. All students (n=19) had access to the course materials on Web CT. However, five students were given the option to take the course completely online. The number of ?hits? or visits to the Web site and course grade were recorded for each student and compared on both groups. Descriptive statistics were calculated.

Results: Twelve students did access the course material through Web CT and lecture, five students took the course online, and two students preferred lecture only. The average number of hits for the online group was 54 + 25 versus 36 + 14 hits for the WebCT plus lecture group. The course grade average was 81% + 3.7% for the online group versus 81% + 3.6% for the WebCT plus lecture group (p=0.46). Even though, the computer proficiency for the WebCT plus lecture group was reported to be higher after taking the course, there was not a significant difference on computer proficiency between groups both either before or after taking the course (p=0.22).

Conclusions: Despite the limited number of students, there was no difference in student performance when this respiratory course was offered both in a traditional setting and on-line. Computer proficiency and motivation did not improve scores for those who volunteered to take the course online. A larger group of students may be necessary to correlate number of hits and student performance.

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