|Year : 2022 | Volume
| Issue : 4 | Page : 887-890
Online teaching: Boon or a bane in the perception of medical students during COVID-19 pandemic
Mahalaxmi S Petimani1, Nagapati P Bhat2, P Preethishree3, Prabhakar Adake2
1 Department of Biochemistry, Yenepoya Medical College, Yenepoya (Deemed to be University), Mangalore, Karnataka, India
2 Department of Pharmacology, Yenepoya Medical College, Yenepoya (Deemed to be University), Mangalore, Karnataka, India
3 Department of Microbiology, Yenepoya Medical College, Yenepoya (Deemed to be University), Mangalore, Karnataka, India
|Date of Submission||06-Jul-2021|
|Date of Decision||05-Jan-2022|
|Date of Acceptance||19-May-2022|
|Date of Web Publication||10-Feb-2023|
Dr. Prabhakar Adake
Department of Pharmacology, Yenepoya Medical College, Yenepoya (Deemed to be University), Mangalore - 575 018, Karnataka
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
Context: The research gap is found when it comes to studying the perception of the medical undergraduate students toward e-learning during COVID-19 pandemic in India when e-learning has emerged as the only available option to continue learning in medical education. Aims: This study aims to identify the perception of the medical undergraduate students toward e-learning during COVID-19 pandemic. Settings and Design: Descriptive questionnaire-based study was conducted at Yenepoya Medical College, Mangalore. Materials and Methods: A prevalidated questionnaire form on online teaching was circulated to medical students of our institution. A total of 135 students' responses were analyzed. Statistical Analysis Used: Descriptive statistical method was applied and results are expressed in frequency and percentages. Results: Out of 135 responses, 37.8% were from phase I, 28.9% from Phase II, and 33.3% from phase III students. 57.8% of students expressed they would like to learn with online classes, whereas, 20.7% of students mentioned that teaching activities should be suspended till the pandemic settles down, 12.6% suggested self-directed learning, and the remaining 8.9% are happy with assignments and study materials. Regarding the format of online classes, 52.6% preferred live classes with PowerPoint presentations to prerecorded classes. With respect to duration, 77% insisted each class should be between 30 and 45 min. 71.9% said a maximum of 2–4 h they could concentrate on online teaching activity in a day. 88.9% expressed connectivity issues as a challenge, 60.7% were not able to grasp the subject, and 22.2% expressed that their doubts are not answered. In general, 81.5% feel that conventional offline classes are better and only 7.4% of students are happy with online classes. Regarding the benefits of online classes, 80.7% expressed that online classes are safe and can attend online class from any place. 69.6% mentioned that group activity is the major concern followed by lack of discussion with the teacher. Conclusions: With advanced technology online teaching though was a boon during pandemics for many but other concerns should be addressed for successful and effective teaching activities.
Keywords: Medical education, online teaching, student's perceptions
|How to cite this article:|
Petimani MS, Bhat NP, Preethishree P, Adake P. Online teaching: Boon or a bane in the perception of medical students during COVID-19 pandemic. J Datta Meghe Inst Med Sci Univ 2022;17:887-90
| Introduction|| |
With the COVID-19 disease spreading across the globe, many countries have ordered the closure of all educational institutes. Educational institutions have come to a functional standstill since they had to protect their students from viral exposures, which are likely in a highly socializing student community. As the schools and colleges are shut for an indefinite period, both educational institutions and students are experimenting with ways to complete their prescribed syllabi in the stipulated time frame in line with the academic calendar. These measures have certainly caused a degree of inconvenience, but they have also prompted new examples of educational innovation using digital interventions. This is a silver lining on a dark cloud considering the sluggish pace of reforms in academic institutions, which continues with millennia-old lecture-based approaches in teaching, ingrained institutional biases, and obsolete classrooms. Nevertheless, COVID-19 has been a trigger for educational institutions worldwide to pursue creative approaches on relatively short notice. During this time, most of the universities have shifted to online mode using Google classrooms, Microsoft Teams, Google meet, Zoom, or other online platforms.
e-Learning is “an approach to teaching and learning, representing all or part of the educational model applied, that is based on the use of electronic media and devices as tools for improving access to training, communication, and interaction that facilitates the adoption of new ways of understanding and developing in learning.” It not only differs from traditional learning (i.e., face–to–face learning that takes place in a classroom environment) in the medium by which learning is delivered but also affects the teaching and learning approaches used.
Medical undergraduates are the future doctors who will be treating the patients during their internship under the supervision and after the graduation, they need to show utmost competency to work as postgraduates. The challenge now the medical students and fraternities are facing is how to keep the medical education on going on par with traditional and proved educational systems. COVID pandemic has created havoc by having a highly infectious first wave followed by a second wave and its future disease virulence; therefore it is highly doubtful about getting back all the students to the traditional classroom teaching at the earliest.
Several studies on online education in the form of blended learning by a “blend” of online activities along with traditional approaches can be as effective as traditional classroom models to adapt during the pandemic situations. Although e-learning and blended approaches continue to grow, the teachers need more understanding of the student's perception and how students react to the elements of online learning and how to apply these approaches effectively in enhancing learning. Undergraduate medical students are completely dependent on online mode of teaching even for clinical postings during the COVID pandemic.
The research gap is found when it comes to studying the perception of the medical undergraduate students toward e-learning during COVID-19 pandemic situation in India when e-learning has been emerged as the only available option to continue learning in medical education. The aim of the present study is to identify the perception of the medical undergraduate students toward e-learning during COVID-19.
| Subjects and Methods|| |
This is an online questionnaire (English version) based cross-sectional study carried out in Yenepoya Medical College, Mangalore from July 2020 to December 2020. Ethical clearance is obtained from the Institutional Ethical Committee (YEC-1/2020/041) before starting the study. A questionnaire form containing 12 questions on knowledge, attitude, and challenges of medical students toward online teaching was prepared by the authors and it was validated by two external members. Informed consent (through Google form) was obtained from all the students after describing the purpose of the study and the assurance to maintain anonymity and confidentiality. The study tool (questionnaire form) was circulated through WhatsApp or E-mail to all the undergraduate medical students (1st Phase to 3rd Phase MBBS) studying in our institution. A total of 136 students responded to the questionnaire, out of which 135 responses were considered for analysis (one student did not give consent). A descriptive statistical method was applied and the results are expressed in frequencies and percentages.
| Results|| |
Out of 135 responses, 94 responses (69.6%) were from females and 41 (30.4%) from males. When considering the phase-wise distribution of responses, 51 (37.8%) from phase I students, 39 from Phase II (28.9%), and 45 (33.3%) from phase III medical students. The majority of students (110, 81.5%) did not attend any online classes before the pandemic. Whereas, 18.5% (25) of students expressed that they have attended online classes well before the lockdown started.
Student's opinion on online teaching during the pandemic:
Around 57.8% (78) of the students expressed they would like to learn with online classes. Whereas 20.7% (28) of students mentioned that teaching activities should be suspended till COVID pandemic settles down, 12.6% (17) students suggested self-directed learning, and the remaining 8.9% (12) students are happy with assignments and study materials during the pandemic. Moreover, the majority of the medical students (110, 81.5%) expressed that conventional offline classes are better than online classes, for 11.1% (15) mentioned online and offline classes make no difference, and the remaining 7.4% (10) said that online classes are better than the offline classes [Figure 1].
|Figure 1: Bar diagram showing the perceptions of medical students toward online classes|
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Preference for electronic gadgets/devices for the online class activity and form of class:
Around 50.4% (68) of medical students suggested laptops, 40.7% (55) smartphone, 6.7% (9) tablet and remaining 2.2% (3) suggested desktop for online activities. The majority of students (82, 60.7%) want to use mobile data for online classes followed by Wi-Fi/broadband (53, 39.3%). Regarding the format of online class, 52.6% (71) of students preferred live classes with PowerPoint presentations. 29.6% (40) preferred prerecorded classes, and the remaining 17.8% (24) for live online classes but without PowerPoint [Figure 2].
|Figure 2: Bar diagram showing the preferences of medical students regarding the format of online classes|
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Student's opinion on the duration of each e-class and break between two online activities:
Regarding the duration of the class, 77% (104) insisted that each class should be between 30 and 45 min, 11.9% (16) suggested 60 min and 11.1% (15) expressed that duration to be <30 min. 71.9% (97) of students would like to spend 2–4 h for online teaching activity, 24.4% (33) for <2 h and 3.7% (5) for 4–6 h in a day. With respect to the break between two online sessions, majority of students (67, 49.6%) need 10 minutes of a break between the classes, 37% (50) students require 5 min, 9.6% (13) for 15 min and the remaining 3.7% (5) need 20 min break.
Student's feedback on challenges and benefits of online classes:
The majority of the students (120, 88.9%) expressed connectivity in the learning process of online activities, 60.7% (82) were not able to grasp the subject, 22.2% (30) expressed that their doubts are not answered. 69.6% (94) of students expressed that group activity is the major concern in online teaching followed by lack of discussion with the teacher (61, 45.2%) [Figure 3] and [Figure 4]. Regarding the benefits of online classes, 80.7% (109) expressed that online classes are safe, 79.3% (107) said they can attend the online class from any place and 31.1% (42) said it is flexible.
|Figure 3: Pie diagram showing difficulties encountered by the students during online classes|
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|Figure 4: Pie diagram depicting challenges faced by students during online classes|
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| Discussion|| |
Medical education had its toughest time when it needs to shift to online mode came, as it is an education that is learned more at the bedside and more practical aspects, skill-based, and competency-based education. Medical colleges had the challenge to adapt to online mode for teaching and assessment of students. It was even more challenging for the students to adapt to the online teaching with the utmost need for high-speed internet access in their hometown when the colleges had to move toward online mode and made them more technology-dependent. In our study, we looked for the student's perception on the online teaching during the covid pandemic. We collected 135 responses from the medical students from phase I to phase III.
In one of the studies done by Sakshi Agarwal and Jaya Shankar Kaushik on student's perception on online teaching, concluded that online teaching activities brought a change in the monotony of the traditional classroom teaching and of great utilization of time. Students were motivated to read better and the most common hindering factors were time limitations and technical faults. Even in our study, technical issues like internet connectivity was the major concern by medical students during online classes.
In another study by Singh et al., they too observed that there were mixed perceptions from students having both favorable and unfavorable factors. Lack of concentration along with lack of interaction and minimal understanding of the topic was the most concerning aspect of online teaching. These findings coincide with the findings of our study results with respect to lack of concentration and less interaction with the teachers.
In another study done by Kui et al. at “Iuliu Hatieganu” University of Medicine and Pharmacy in Cluj Napoca, Romania, they noticed that students accepted remote lectures and other learning activities due to the higher risk of contamination. However, many would like to start the regular activities as early as possible, especially for the practical laboratories or clinical exercises. And more likely tendency to adapt to remote lectures, and a combination of online and traditional lectures, after the pandemic period is over among the students.
Medical undergraduates are the backbone of the medical the education system and their competencies toward the subject and skills during the course matter for becoming a competent doctor and move toward post-graduation with confidence. Due to COVID pandemic medical education and medical students have faced difficulties in transferring and acquiring complete knowledge due to a lack of guidance and attention with exposure to clinics and patients leaving them so insecure in the first place. Until the pandemic settles medical educations should move ahead with effective teaching and learning activities which seem to be a challenging task for everyone.
| Conclusions|| |
With the advancement in Information Communication Technology, we were able to cover most of the topics through online classes. This would be a new teaching method, especially during pandemics. However, students' concerns should be addressed for successful teaching activities. Most of the issues associated with the internet are unpredictable and it is a global problem, so measures to ensure that the student does not lose out on any online teaching sessions have to be more emphasized, either by sharing the prerecorded videos with the lesson plan or reading materials prior to the actual class. The online classes can be started by having a pretest and post-test to get students involved and also blended learning can be adapted as one of the ways to make online teaching more effective.
Financial support and sponsorship
Conflicts of interest
There are no conflicts of interest.
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[Figure 1], [Figure 2], [Figure 3], [Figure 4]