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Nikitha Murali, Ninani Kombo, Susan Forster; Medical Education in the Digital Era: Feasibility and Design of an Open-Access Online Ophthalmology Curriculum. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2018;59(9):6160.
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Many medical schools in the United States and worldwide do not include ophthalmology as part of required coursework; in these cases, popular massive open online course (MOOC) platforms can provide training opportunities. We assessed the feasibility of an open-access online course as a tool to provide critical ophthalmology training and designed an online curriculum to teach foundational basic and clinical science of ophthalmology.
A survey was distributed online to medical students participating in a nationally accredited medical doctorate (MD) or equivalent program. Students were asked about the type and extent of ophthalmology training received and their current use of online supplementary learning resources. Students also rated their likelihood of utilizing an online course to learn about ophthalmology according to a 5-point Likert scale (from 1 “extremely unlikely” to 5 “extremely likely”). In accordance with typical MOOC curricula structures, an online curriculum was designed as a progressive series of short video lectures (<30 minutes), interactive quizzes and assignments, and concise written materials.
Data collection is ongoing. Initial survey results included 216 medical students across 19 medical schools spanning 4 countries (India, Iran, United States, China). Students from 58% (11/19) of schools surveyed did not have 10 or more hours of required ophthalmology training over the course of their entire medical education. 97% of students surveyed regularly used online materials outside of those involved in their official medical school curriculum to study, spending an average of 15.9 hours per week using such resources. 87% of all medical students and 98% of international students with <10 cumulative hours of required ophthalmology training were “extremely likely” to utilize an online ophthalmology course. Of medical students with >10 hours of training, 51% were “likely” and 20% were “extremely likely” to utilize an online course to supplement their learning of ophthalmology.
Basic ophthalmology is not a universal component of required medical student training. Medical students rely heavily on online resources to supplement pre-clinical and clinical skill learning. An online course can potentially serve as an accessible educational tool to promote ophthalmologic knowledge for students with deficient or absent training worldwide.
This is an abstract that was submitted for the 2018 ARVO Annual Meeting, held in Honolulu, Hawaii, April 29 - May 3, 2018.
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