African Journal of Health Professions Education

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Introducing dental students to e-learning at a South African university

N Mohamed, F Peerbhay


Background. This article reports on the introduction of an innovative ‘blended learning’ approach in the Paediatric Dentistry Department at the
University of the Western Cape (UWC) in Cape Town, South Africa. This intervention was the first of its kind to be introduced at UWC’s dentistry
Methods. Educational resources were placed online to supplement didactic and clinical teaching and thus compensate for the lack of chair-side
teaching. An online learning platform was therefore provided for students to engage with.
Results. Forty-seven per cent of students accessed the site. The evaluation of the course by these 4th- and 5th-year students was mostly positive. Students who did not access the site provided a variety of reasons for not doing so, the main reasons being ‘lack of time’ (40%) and ‘lack of IT resources’ (41%).
Conclusion. This intervention highlighted the fact that ‘blended learning’ definitely has its place in the dentistry curriculum, especially if minor
issues such as access to resources can be addressed. The Paediatric Dentistry Department at UWC is continually pursuing current trends in teaching to provide an education that is on par with global standards.
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