Special Issue "Online Learning"


A special issue of Pharmacy (ISSN 2226-4787).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 March 2014)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Lesley Diack
School of Pharmacy & Life Sciences, The Robert Gordon University, Schoolhill, Aberdeen AB10 1FR, Scotland
Website: http://www.rgu.ac.uk/index.cfm?objectid=EBABB980-27FB-11E1-BECE000D609CAA9F
E-Mail: h.l.diack@rgu.ac.uk
Phone: +44 1224 262511
Interests: technology enhanced learning; interprofessional education; simulation; eportfolios

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Over the last few years elearning in pharmacy has become much more common. there are e-portfolios, elearning modules at undergraduate and postgraduate level, and elearning 'just in time cpd' resources. staff have had to learn to work with material online to develop these new resources but also to teach online or learn to work with a whole new vocabulary of etivities, emoderation and etutors to name some of the new ways of working. have you been involved in developing any of the these resources, or others not mentioned? have you been involved in using these with students or staff? have you evaluated these or researched their use? we would love to hear from you for our special edition.

Dr. Lesley Diack
Guest Editor


Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. Papers will be published continuously (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are refereed through a peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Pharmacy is an international peer-reviewed Open Access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. For the first couple of issues the Article Processing Charge (APC) will be waived for well-prepared manuscripts. English correction and/or formatting fees of 250 CHF (Swiss Francs) will be charged in certain cases for those articles accepted for publication that require extensive additional formatting and/or English corrections.


  • elearning
  • eportfolio
  • eresources
  • reflective practitioners
  • evaluation
  • just-in-time resources

Published Papers (12 papers)

by , , ,  and
Pharmacy 2013, 1(1), 8-15; doi:10.3390/pharmacy1010008
Received: 2 May 2013; in revised form: 15 July 2013 / Accepted: 18 July 2013 / Published: 29 July 2013
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by , ,  and
Pharmacy 2013, 1(1), 34-42; doi:10.3390/pharmacy1010034
Received: 12 July 2013; in revised form: 31 July 2013 / Accepted: 31 July 2013 / Published: 9 August 2013
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by , ,  and
Pharmacy 2013, 1(1), 43-52; doi:10.3390/pharmacy1010043
Received: 28 June 2013; in revised form: 27 July 2013 / Accepted: 1 August 2013 / Published: 9 August 2013
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Pharmacy 2013, 1(1), 53-64; doi:10.3390/pharmacy1010053
Received: 8 July 2013; in revised form: 21 August 2013 / Accepted: 22 August 2013 / Published: 2 September 2013
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by , ,  and
Pharmacy 2013, 1(2), 107-118; doi:10.3390/pharmacy1020107
Received: 25 April 2013; in revised form: 4 September 2013 / Accepted: 23 September 2013 / Published: 27 September 2013
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by ,  and
Pharmacy 2013, 1(2), 137-152; doi:10.3390/pharmacy1020137
Received: 7 August 2013; in revised form: 17 September 2013 / Accepted: 23 September 2013 / Published: 8 October 2013
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by ,  and
Pharmacy 2013, 1(2), 160-171; doi:10.3390/pharmacy1020160
Received: 6 August 2013; in revised form: 4 October 2013 / Accepted: 9 October 2013 / Published: 18 October 2013
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by  and
Pharmacy 2013, 1(2), 204-217; doi:10.3390/pharmacy1020204
Received: 18 July 2013; in revised form: 3 September 2013 / Accepted: 15 October 2013 / Published: 30 October 2013
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by  and
Pharmacy 2013, 1(2), 269-281; doi:10.3390/pharmacy1020269
Received: 28 October 2013; in revised form: 21 November 2013 / Accepted: 25 November 2013 / Published: 11 December 2013
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abstract graphic

by ,  and
Pharmacy 2014, 2(2), 137-160; doi:10.3390/pharmacy2020137
Received: 2 March 2014; in revised form: 14 April 2014 / Accepted: 24 April 2014 / Published: 30 April 2014
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Pharmacy 2014, 2(2), 175-194; doi:10.3390/pharmacy2020175
Received: 28 March 2014; in revised form: 6 May 2014 / Accepted: 13 May 2014 / Published: 22 May 2014
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abstract graphic

by , , , , , ,  and
Pharmacy 2014, 2(2), 195-201; doi:10.3390/pharmacy2020195
Received: 20 January 2014; in revised form: 7 May 2014 / Accepted: 8 May 2014 / Published: 5 June 2014
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Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Type of Paper: Article
Title: Designing Dialogic e-Learning for Pharmacy Professionalism
Authors: Sue Roff
Affiliation: Education Consultant; Part-time tutor, Centre for Medical Education, Dundee University, Scotland; E-mail: s.l.roff@dundee.ac.uk
Abstract: The feedback analytics of online software can be used to facilitate dialogic learning in a community of practice such as Pharmacy and thereby promote reflective learning. Based on work with medical, dental, nursing, osteopathic and social work students, trainees and registrants, the paper shows how an online learning community can be created along the continuum from undergraduate to registrant to develop authentic dialogic formative e-learning around standards of professionalism. The Dundee Polyprofessionalism resources can be customised for Pharmacy professionalism learning to support evidence-based curriculum design along the posited learning curve and to profile professionalism learning in individuals and cohorts.

Type of Paper: Article
Title: Self-Directed Online Learning Modules: Students’ Behaviours and Experiences
Authors: S. Maloney, J. Tai, S. Paynter, K. Lo and D. Ilic
Affiliation: Maloney S, School of Primary Health Care, Monash University, PO Box 527, Frankston, Vic, 3199; E-Mail: Stephen.maloney@monash.edu; Tel.: +61 3 99044240
Abstract: Academic programs are experiencing pressure to produce efficiencies in education by incorporating online learning. Simply transplanting a text-based resource to an online setting by itself does not necessarily provide an effective online learning environment. In collaboration with clinical educators, our academic team constructed an online learning activity designed to reinforce allied health student knowledge of pharmacology. However, anecdotal reports from students entering the clinical environment indicated poor engagement with the online resources. These reports prompted the need for a method of formal analysis of student engagement and insights into student preferences and behaviours with online learning. With the tools of auditing online usage data and survey analysis, our study determines a set of practical recommendations for the design of online resources, and their implementation, in order optimise their utilization and educational value.

Type of Paper: Review
Title: Embracing Pharmacy Elearning: Models of Success
Jaclyn A. Jeffries, Pamela R. Jeffries, Kyle E. Hultgren and John B. Hertig
Affiliation: Purdue University College of Pharmacy’s Center for Medication Safety Advancement, 6640 Intech Boulevard, Suite 120 Indianapolis, IN, 46278, USA; Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing, 525 N. Wolfe Street, Baltimore, MD, 21205, USA; E-Mail: jajeffri@purdue.edu
Abstract: Traditionally, education has been a learner being taught in a physical classroom setting. With recent technological developments and the 'immediate results' world we now live in, elearning has become much more common. Students and professionals are now able to access and acquire lectures, tests, certifications and degrees online. The Purdue University College of Pharmacy's Center for Medication Safety Advancement has developed three eresources to enhance medication safety: The Veterans Affairs Yellow Belt Lean Certification Course, the Medication Safety Essentials Continuing Education Modules, and the Virtual Clean Room Simulation Certificate. These three modalities offer valuable content for additional knowledge, training and certification at a convenient location: your computer.

Type of Paper: Article
Exploring e.learning as a tool for enhancing knowledge and understanding
M.C.E. McFadyen, E. Watson
School of Pharmacy and Lifesciences, Robert Gordon University, Schoolhill, Aberdeen, AB10 1FR, E-Mail: m.mcfadyen@rgu.ac.uk
: The integumentary system is the first line of defence in the body and part of the innate immune system. Within a first year module on Integrative Physiology in the Masters of Pharmacy degree at Robert Gordon University (RGU) several software tools were used to support both lecture and coursework material for the immune and integumentary systems. However, students had difficulty visualizing the various layers of the skin and how they become affected by different skin lesions. To assist student learning, Articulate™ Engage and Quizmaker software were used as a Framework to develop a 3-dimensional virtual arm. Open source software was used to highlight areas of a virtual arm which illustrated a primary or a secondary skin lesion and were raised out of the arm when highlighted. This allowed students to manipulate the area under review and to identify the specific skin layers involved. Prior to engaging with the ‘virtual arm’ clear and concise instruction for using the presentation were provided. To ensure students had the opportunity to assess their learning they were provided with appropriate feedback and a quiz evolved including ‘fun’ tasks such as a sequence, spell and visual test. If a student achieved a correct answer they were immediately rewarded with a ‘round of applause’ gaining many smiles from the students. The students score was still provided at the end of the quiz together with the pass rate of 80%. Logs of repeated attempts by the students were captured from the virtual learning environment, with students reporting an increased rate of understanding over the topic. Initial findings from this study highlight supportive e-learning tools as having a positive impact on students’ performance.

Type of Paper: Article
Evaluation of Online Discussion Groups in Teaching of Biopharmaceutics
Authors: Asma El-Magboub, Rebecca M. Romero, Brian T. Sutch, Ian S. Haworth
Affiliation: Department of Pharmacology & Pharmaceutical Sciences, School of Pharmacy, University of Southern California, USA; E-Mail: ihaworth@usc.edu
Abstract: Technology provides universities with many new teaching tools, including the ability to conduct online lectures and discussion groups. However, the validity and effectiveness of these approaches remain in question without evaluation of the method itself and of the learning outcomes. We designed assessment criteria based on generation of sociograms for small-group discussion sessions held online or in-class and evaluation of these sociograms on the basis of "good education practice" principles. This evaluation was performed during the teaching of pharmaceutical sciences in the first-year Pharm.D. curriculum. The sociograms provide a "map" of the discussion and permit evaluation of items such as faculty-student and student-student interactions, extent of student participation, and cognitive level. Average sociograms for online and in-class discussions were compared with what we consider to be the ideal sociogram for an instructor-led small-group discussion in the context of a problem-based learning class. The results showed no significant differences among most elements of the online and in-class discussions. However, there was a reduction of student-student interactions in the online discussions and some difficulties with establishment of strong faculty-student interactions online. Based on these findings, we propose strategies for enhancement of online discussion groups that will support establishment of this activity as a central element of any curriculum.

Type of Paper: Article
Title: Evaluation of E-learning Technology in Pharmacy Ethical Education
Authors: Clare F. Rawlinson-Maloneab
Affiliation: Drug Product Science and Technology, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Reeds Lane, Moreton, Wirral, CH46 1QW, UK; School of Pharmacy, University of Reading, Whiteknights, P.O. Box 226, Reading, RG6 6AP, UK; E-Mail: Clare.Rawlinson-Malone@bms.com
Abstract: Ethics is a notoriously challenging subject to teach, with demanding theories and subject matter. However, the development of critical thinking and a robust ethical code are skills essential for a healthcare professional. Effectiveness of teaching on pharmacy and medical degrees has received criticism, and fear of taking a moral position is often cited as a barrier to participation in ethical debate. Here the use of personal response systems was examined within a case-study-plus model with undergraduate and pre-registration pharmacy students. Group participation was high, anonymous polling allowed expression of depersonalised argument and evidence of deep-learning was noted. Feedback from participants was positive and encouraged further use of this e-learning technology in the context of facilitating ethical debate.

Type of Paper: Article
Tips for Developing an Integrated Online and Simulation Course Based on 6-Years of Experience
SL Kane-Gill
School of Pharmacy, University of Pittsburgh, 918 Salk Hall, 3501 Terrace St., Pittsburgh, PA 15261, USA; E-Mail: slk54@pitt.edu
Technological advancements, changes in pharmacy students’ learning preferences, and increased educational costs have necessitated the need to develop and implement innovative teaching modalities. The University of Pittsburgh, School of Pharmacy has been using simulation-based learning for several years. To further advance this practice, a novel course was designed to teach students new concepts through online video lectures, slide sets, and quizzes, and to apply this knowledge during weekly practica time involving multiple patient cases taught with high fidelity simulation. While this course has been well received by students, it does require resources, organization, and time to develop. Overall the blended course of online learning and simulation is a unique educational experience akin to real-world pharmacy practice.

Type of Paper: Article
The effect of the peer review process on the accuracy of online peer to peer learning
S. Oh 1, N. Lynch 1, N. McCarthy 1 and M.A. Corrigan 2
1 Technology Enhanced Learning for Health, School of Medicine, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland
2 Breast Research Centre, Cork University Hospital, Cork, Ireland; E-Mail: markcorrigan@rcsi.ie
Peer to peer learning is a recognised and rapidly developing approach to the delivery of online education. Our group was the first to demonstrate its effectiveness and popularity both in a national and international context. This paper will examine the effectiveness of the peer review process on the accuracy of data collected using this model of academic crowd sourcing. Analysing the data from over 15,000 individual questions and answers uploaded by students we will select the largest category, 'gastrointestinal', for further analysis. Using clinical educators in this area we will establish a standard, and then compare information which has been peer reviewed against non reviewed data. Statistical analysis will then be performed to establish if the peer reviewed data is more accurate. Further epidemiological data will also be collected. The results will direct future development of this evolving teaching strategy. HIV-1 enzyme reverse transcriptase (RT) is a major target for antiviral drug development, with over half of current FDA-approved therapeutics against HIV infection targeting the DNA polymerase activity of this enzyme. HIV-1 RT is a multifunctional enzyme that has RNA and DNA dependent polymerase activity, along with ribonuclease H (RNase H) activity. The latter is responsible for degradation of the viral genomic RNA template during first strand DNA synthesis to allow completion of reverse transcription and the viral dsDNA. While the RNase H activity of RT has been shown to be essential for virus infectivity, all currently used drugs directed at RT inhibit the polymerase activity of the enzyme; none target RNase H. In the last decade, the increasing prevalence of HIV variants resistant to clinically used antiretrovirals has stimulated the search for inhibitors directed at stages of HIV replication different than those targeted by current drugs. HIV RNase H is one such novel target and, over the past few years, significant progress has been made in identifying and characterizing new RNase H inhibitor pharmacophores. In this review we focus mainly on the most potent low micromolar potency compounds, as these provide logical bases for further development. We also discuss why HIV RNase H has been a difficult target for antiretroviral drug development.

Last update: 3 December 2013

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