Special Issue "Online Learning"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 March 2014)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Lesley Diack

School of Pharmacy & Life Sciences, The Robert Gordon University, Schoolhill, Aberdeen AB10 1FR, Scotland
Website | E-Mail
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

Submission

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.

Keywords

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

Published Papers (12 papers)

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Research

Jump to: Review, Other

Open AccessArticle An Evaluation of the Accuracy of Peer to Peer Surgical Teaching and the Role of the Peer Review Process
Pharmacy 2014, 2(2), 195-201; doi:10.3390/pharmacy2020195
Received: 20 January 2014 / Revised: 7 May 2014 / Accepted: 8 May 2014 / Published: 5 June 2014
PDF Full-text (174 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Background: Peer to peer learning is a well-established learning modality which has been shown to improve learning outcomes, with positive implications for clinical practice. Surgical students from across Ireland were invited to upload learning points daily while paired with their peers in a
[...] Read more.
Background: Peer to peer learning is a well-established learning modality which has been shown to improve learning outcomes, with positive implications for clinical practice. Surgical students from across Ireland were invited to upload learning points daily while paired with their peers in a peer-reviewing process. This study was designed to assess content accuracy and evaluate the benefit of the review process. Method: A reflective content sample was selected from the database representing all gastrointestinal (GI) surgical entries. All questions and answers were double corrected by four examiners, blinded to the “review” status of the entries. Statistical analysis was performed to compare accuracy between “reviewed” and “non-reviewed” entries. Results: There were 15,569 individual entries from 2009–2013, 2977 were GI surgery entries; 678 (23%) were peer reviewed. Marked out of 5, accuracy in the reviewed group was 4.24 and 4.14 in the non-reviewed group. This was not statistically different (p = 0.11). Accuracy did not differ between universities or grade of tutors. Conclusion: The system of student uploaded data is accurate and was not improved further through peer review. This represents an easy, valuable and safe method of capturing surgical oral ward based teaching. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Online Learning)
Open AccessArticle “Addiction Pharmacy” and the Professionalization Process: Technology-Enhanced Assessment of Reflective Practice and Teamwork
Pharmacy 2014, 2(2), 175-194; doi:10.3390/pharmacy2020175
Received: 28 March 2014 / Revised: 6 May 2014 / Accepted: 13 May 2014 / Published: 22 May 2014
PDF Full-text (541 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Professionalization of pharmacy students requires that they both recognize the dynamic social contract between the public and the profession and demonstrate themselves competent in professional attributes. This pilot aims to demonstrate and assess the attributes of reflective practice and teamwork in a manner
[...] Read more.
Professionalization of pharmacy students requires that they both recognize the dynamic social contract between the public and the profession and demonstrate themselves competent in professional attributes. This pilot aims to demonstrate and assess the attributes of reflective practice and teamwork in a manner that also demonstrates student recognition of the profession’s responsibilities towards addiction to medicines. The assessment of a series of 8 weekly workshops on addiction pharmacy was adapted to include an online reflection, or journal entry, after each workshop. Groups of up to five students also collaboratively prepared a letter, in the format of an online wiki or editable website, to a choice of the Minister for Health, a national newspaper or a popular television chat-show. Groups aimed to influence decision-makers in a manner supportive of society’s management of drug addiction. Online activity, grading and results of a student survey indicate that this novel assessment strategy provides a means by which aspects of the professionalization of pharmacy students might be effectively demonstrated and assessed. The article shares the assessment design, indicates how it may facilitate the demonstration and assessment of professional attributes, highlights the link with elements of the professionalization process and concludes that further investigations are merited. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Online Learning)
Figures

Open AccessArticle From Workshop to E-Learning: Using Technology-Enhanced “Intermediate Concept Measures” As a Framework for Pharmacy Ethics Education and Assessment
Pharmacy 2014, 2(2), 137-160; doi:10.3390/pharmacy2020137
Received: 2 March 2014 / Revised: 14 April 2014 / Accepted: 24 April 2014 / Published: 30 April 2014
PDF Full-text (722 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Workshop analysis of scenarios or vignettes has traditionally been used to develop and demonstrate the moral reasoning underpinning professional decisions. However, in order to facilitate sufficiently individualized interaction to accommodate the assessment of student competencies related to decision-making through scenarios, such workshops are
[...] Read more.
Workshop analysis of scenarios or vignettes has traditionally been used to develop and demonstrate the moral reasoning underpinning professional decisions. However, in order to facilitate sufficiently individualized interaction to accommodate the assessment of student competencies related to decision-making through scenarios, such workshops are traditionally used with small groups. There are associated resource implications for the scheduling of sessions and implications for tutor time where large cohorts of students are targeted. In addition, the requirement that students be face-to-face is problematic when students are in practice placements that are geographically removed. This paper demonstrates how technology and an assessment tool, known as an “intermediate concept measure” (ICM), might help address these limitations. It introduces the background to ICMs and presents the ICM as a tool that has potential to support professional education. It also shares learning experienced by one pharmacist using ICMs in pharmacy education, provides an example of how a profession-specific ICM might be formatted, suggests how the methodology might be used in undergraduate and postgraduate education and provides samples of measurables that may be incorporated into evaluation and assessment systems; both for educational interventions delivered face-to-face or partly or entirely online. The limitations of the methodologies and suggestions for further research are included. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Online Learning)
Open AccessArticle Exploring Just-in-Time Teaching 3D Development as a Tool for Enhancing Knowledge and Understanding
Pharmacy 2013, 1(2), 269-281; doi:10.3390/pharmacy1020269
Received: 28 October 2013 / Revised: 21 November 2013 / Accepted: 25 November 2013 / Published: 11 December 2013
PDF Full-text (552 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The integumentary system (skin) is the first line of defence in the body and part of the innate immune system. Within first year modules on Pharmaceutical Biology and Integrative Physiology in the Masters of Pharmacy degree at Robert Gordon University (RGU) several software
[...] Read more.
The integumentary system (skin) is the first line of defence in the body and part of the innate immune system. Within first year modules on Pharmaceutical Biology and 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. As a response to these identified learning difficulties, a just-in-time teaching 3-Dimensional elearning object was developed using free-to-use 3D CAD packages alongside common elearning software. The outcome was a virtualised human arm equipped to illustrate and label primary or secondary skin lesions whilst allowing spatial manipulation of the arm. This allowed students to manipulate and identify the specific skin layers involved. Evaluation of student engagement and learning was favourable, with students reflecting that they had a better understanding of the topic. Initial findings from this study highlight the benefits of quick, low-cost 3D production processes as just-in-time teaching elearning tools that have a positive impact on students’ performance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Online Learning)
Figures

Open AccessArticle Development of a Blended Learning Environment to Support Achievement of Graduate Outcomes through Optimal Learning in an Undergraduate Pharmacy Course
Pharmacy 2013, 1(2), 204-217; doi:10.3390/pharmacy1020204
Received: 18 July 2013 / Revised: 3 September 2013 / Accepted: 15 October 2013 / Published: 30 October 2013
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (232 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The development of graduate attributes through health professional courses requires the opportunity to engage with learning and teaching activities that reflect the work-based role to which the student aspires. Such activities allow the contextualisation of discipline-specific knowledge, forging a critical understanding of the
[...] Read more.
The development of graduate attributes through health professional courses requires the opportunity to engage with learning and teaching activities that reflect the work-based role to which the student aspires. Such activities allow the contextualisation of discipline-specific knowledge, forging a critical understanding of the underpinning theory, and providing a firm foundation for the development of lifelong learning skills. A blended learning approach can be particularly valuable in supporting achievement of the learning outcomes in modules where performance is measured in terms of competency in work-based scenarios. An action research approach was taken to develop and evaluate a cardiovascular risk assessment as the basis for clinically and professionally relevant problem-based learning. Support for this was provided by means of blended learning including a number of online activities. Talking wall focus groups were used to evaluate the student experience, and this was combined with quantitative data regarding student examination performance. Student performance in the cardiovascular section of the examination paper was significantly higher than in other sections. Students reported very favorably on the use of this approach to support not only examination preparation, but also in terms of developing professional identity and enhancing employability skills. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Online Learning)
Open AccessArticle An interactive E-Learning Portal in Pediatric Endocrinology: Practical Experience
Pharmacy 2013, 1(2), 160-171; doi:10.3390/pharmacy1020160
Received: 6 August 2013 / Revised: 4 October 2013 / Accepted: 9 October 2013 / Published: 18 October 2013
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (296 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Based on educational considerations, the European Society for Paediatric Endocrinology (ESPE) e-learning portal has been developed, providing an interactive learning environment for up-to-date information in pediatric endocrinology. From March 2011 to January 2012, five small-scale pilot studies were completed to assess the usefulness
[...] Read more.
Based on educational considerations, the European Society for Paediatric Endocrinology (ESPE) e-learning portal has been developed, providing an interactive learning environment for up-to-date information in pediatric endocrinology. From March 2011 to January 2012, five small-scale pilot studies were completed to assess the usefulness of the structure and content by senior experts, fellows, residents and medical students. Altogether, 8 cases and 4 chapters were studied by a total of 71 individuals: 18 senior experts, 21 fellows, 10 medical students, 9 regional pediatricians and 13 residents, resulting in a total of 127 evaluations. Participants considered the portal content interesting and appreciated the way of learning compared to traditional learning from literature and textbooks. Special attention was paid to assess the personalized feedback given by experts to fellows and residents who completed the portal. Feedback from experts included both medical understanding and communication skills demonstrated by fellows and residents. Users highly appreciated the feedback of the medical experts, who brought perspectives from another clinic. This portal also offers educational opportunities for medical students and regional pediatricians and can be used to develop various CanMEDS competencies, e.g., medical expert, health advocate, and scholar. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Online Learning)
Open AccessArticle Blended Learning: Reflections on Teaching Experiences across the Pharmacy Education Continuum
Pharmacy 2013, 1(2), 137-152; doi:10.3390/pharmacy1020137
Received: 7 August 2013 / Revised: 17 September 2013 / Accepted: 23 September 2013 / Published: 8 October 2013
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (197 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Experiences with online learning in higher education have grown due to advancements in technology, technological savviness of students, changes in student expectations, and evolution of teaching approaches in higher education. Blended learning, the thoughtful fusion of face-to-face instruction with online learning, can enhance
[...] Read more.
Experiences with online learning in higher education have grown due to advancements in technology, technological savviness of students, changes in student expectations, and evolution of teaching approaches in higher education. Blended learning, the thoughtful fusion of face-to-face instruction with online learning, can enhance student learning and provide rewarding teaching experiences for faculty members. Pharmacy educators are beginning to employ blended learning across the continuum of professional education from entry-to-practice programs to continuing professional education programs. The objectives of this paper are to describe our early experiences with blended learning and how it has enhanced our teaching experiences. Possibilities for blended learning are considered as new curricula for pharmacy programs are developed at our institution. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Online Learning)
Open AccessArticle Assessing Outcomes of Online Training in Public Health: Changes in Individual and Organizational Knowledge and Capacity
Pharmacy 2013, 1(2), 107-118; doi:10.3390/pharmacy1020107
Received: 25 April 2013 / Revised: 4 September 2013 / Accepted: 23 September 2013 / Published: 27 September 2013
PDF Full-text (208 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The need for a well-prepared public health workforce to prepare for and respond to threats of terrorism, infectious diseases, and other public health emergencies is well documented, as is the reality that the public health workforce in the United States is under-trained and
[...] Read more.
The need for a well-prepared public health workforce to prepare for and respond to threats of terrorism, infectious diseases, and other public health emergencies is well documented, as is the reality that the public health workforce in the United States is under-trained and unprepared to handle public health emergencies. The impact of training on the public health workforce is often measured by the volume of training completed and post-course evaluation data. A survey of current, high-volume users (n = 759) of the University of North Carolina Center for Public Health Preparedness Training Web Site, defined as individuals who had completed 12 or more training modules was conducted in order to determine if measurable changes in preparedness and response knowledge and capacity were brought about by the trainings. Two-hundred and seventy respondents completed the survey (response rate = 36%), with 52% reporting employment in governmental public health. Individual changes reported as a result of training included increased personal satisfaction (71%), increased job satisfaction (38%), and recognition by supervisors for training completion (23%); Organizational changes included updates to training plans (19%), making trainings mandatory (19%), and revising standard operating procedures (13%). Results from this survey indicate that the knowledge learned from completing online trainings led to changes in individuals and, to a lesser extent, changes in organizations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Online Learning)
Open AccessArticle Self-Directed Online Learning Modules: Students’ Behaviours and Experiences
Pharmacy 2013, 1(1), 8-15; doi:10.3390/pharmacy1010008
Received: 2 May 2013 / Revised: 15 July 2013 / Accepted: 18 July 2013 / Published: 29 July 2013
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (239 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
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
[...] Read more.
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. Through 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. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Online Learning)

Review

Jump to: Research, Other

Open AccessReview Embracing Pharmacy E-Learning: Models of Success
Pharmacy 2013, 1(1), 43-52; doi:10.3390/pharmacy1010043
Received: 28 June 2013 / Revised: 27 July 2013 / Accepted: 1 August 2013 / Published: 9 August 2013
PDF Full-text (176 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Traditionally, education has revolved around the idea of 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
[...] Read more.
Traditionally, education has revolved around the idea of 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. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Online Learning)

Other

Jump to: Research, Review

Open AccessConcept Paper Designing Dialogic E-Learning in Pharmacy Professionalism Using Calibrated Feedback Loops (CFLs)
Pharmacy 2013, 1(1), 53-64; doi:10.3390/pharmacy1010053
Received: 8 July 2013 / Revised: 21 August 2013 / Accepted: 22 August 2013 / Published: 2 September 2013
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (1775 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The feedback analytics of online software including Articulate and Bristol Online Surveys can be used to facilitate dialogic learning in a community of practice such as Pharmacy and, thereby, promote reflective learning by the creation of formative calibrated feedback loops. Based on work
[...] Read more.
The feedback analytics of online software including Articulate and Bristol Online Surveys can be used to facilitate dialogic learning in a community of practice such as Pharmacy and, thereby, promote reflective learning by the creation of formative calibrated feedback loops. 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 e-learning around standards of Professionalism. The Dundee PolyProfessionalism inventories and Situational Judgement Scenarios (SJSs) can be customised for Pharmacy Professionalism learning to support evidence-based curriculum design along benchmarked learning curves and to profile Professionalism learning in individuals and cohorts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Online Learning)
Open AccessDiscussion Tips for Developing an Integrated Online and Simulation Course Based on 6-Years of Experience
Pharmacy 2013, 1(1), 34-42; doi:10.3390/pharmacy1010034
Received: 12 July 2013 / Revised: 31 July 2013 / Accepted: 31 July 2013 / Published: 9 August 2013
PDF Full-text (180 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Technological advancements, changes in pharmacy students’ learning preferences, and increased educational costs have necessitated the development and implementation of innovative teaching modalities. The University of Pittsburgh, School of Pharmacy has been using simulation-based learning throughout the curriculum for several years. To further advance
[...] Read more.
Technological advancements, changes in pharmacy students’ learning preferences, and increased educational costs have necessitated the development and implementation of innovative teaching modalities. The University of Pittsburgh, School of Pharmacy has been using simulation-based learning throughout the curriculum 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 knowledge application 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 for development. In this article, we describe our experience developing, modifying, and sustaining this blended course with the hope that sharing our experiences over the past six years will lead to expediting successes at other institutions. Tips for success such as keeping online segments short, holding students accountable, thinking of simulation approaches beyond the mannequin, and developing standardized assessment tools are discussed. Overall the blended course of online learning and simulation is a unique educational experience akin to real-world pharmacy practice and is worth the effort with a goal of optimizing learning. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Online Learning)

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
Authors:
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
Title:
Exploring e.learning as a tool for enhancing knowledge and understanding
Authors:
M.C.E. McFadyen, E. Watson
Affiliation:
School of Pharmacy and Lifesciences, Robert Gordon University, Schoolhill, Aberdeen, AB10 1FR, E-Mail: m.mcfadyen@rgu.ac.uk
Abstract
: 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
Title:
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
Title:
Tips for Developing an Integrated Online and Simulation Course Based on 6-Years of Experience
Authors:
SL Kane-Gill
Affiliation:
School of Pharmacy, University of Pittsburgh, 918 Salk Hall, 3501 Terrace St., Pittsburgh, PA 15261, USA; E-Mail: slk54@pitt.edu
Abstract:
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
Title:
The effect of the peer review process on the accuracy of online peer to peer learning
Authors:
S. Oh 1, N. Lynch 1, N. McCarthy 1 and M.A. Corrigan 2
Affiliations:
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
Abstract:
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.


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