Ten Years’ Experience with an E-Learning Lecture Series on Cancer Biology and Pharmacology
Received: 10 October 2012 / Revised: 8 December 2012 / Accepted: 8 January 2013 / Published: 14 January 2013
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In life sciences, the internet is an indispensable medium for research, but has not yet realized its full potential for teaching. The concept of e-learning has been developed over the past decades for undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate programs. We set up an e-learning
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In life sciences, the internet is an indispensable medium for research, but has not yet realized its full potential for teaching. The concept of e-learning has been developed over the past decades for undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate programs. We set up an e-learning lecture on cancer biology and pharmacology that was first offered in 2003 to students of Molecular Biotechnology at the University of Heidelberg and to students of Pharmacy at the University of Mainz, Germany. The present paper recapitulates the first decade of experiences with this e-learning lecture from both the students’ and the teachers’ perspectives. A total of 317 students during the past 10 years participated in a survey. In general, the students enjoyed the possibilities that self-controlled learning offers. E-learning interested them as a novel educational method. They felt quite comfortable listening to the material despite the interdisciplinary nature of the lectures, which included molecular biological, pharmacological and medical aspects of cancer biology and pharmacology. This lecture was the first e-learning experience for the majority of students, and their impressions were generally positive. The students not only indicated that they would like to continue with e-learning, but also would recommend e-learning to other students. Remarkably, the majority of students would like to see more e-learning offered in their present curricula. They indicated interest in mixed forms of traditional learning and e-learning (“blended learning”), although it is recognized that face-to-face contact between teachers and students is critical. Overall, many students would consider e-learning for further and continuing education after graduation.