A Survey of Medical Students' Experiences with Online Practical Pharmacology Classes during Covid19 Lockdown
Background: Due to Covid-19 restrictions, medical education now embraces online teaching. Aim: To determined medical students' perception of online pharmacology practical classes conducted during COVID-19 lockdown.
Methods: Years 2 and 3 students participated in the study. Before the pandemic, they used the exercises for on-site classes. They used Cyber Patient, Organ bath, Virtual Cat, and Virtual Rat software to conduct pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, autonomic, cardiovascular, and neuropharmacology exercises. Through Moodle, they received instructions and resources; and the tutors accessed
and rated their reports. To determine their readiness and perception of the exercises, the study conducted a cross-sectional survey using a questionnaire that included a demographic section, a section on ICT readiness, and a section on perception of the exercises. Statistical analysis included mean scores, t-test, Cronbach's coefficient, and principal components.
Results: Sample size for both classes (total enrolment = 191) was 128. Seventy-eight students participated (45 from year 2 and 33 from year 3). Response rate was 60.94 %, mean age 21.7 (SD = 4.0); 74.4 % had no formal ICT training, 92.3 % had personal computers, 95 % used computers often, and 79.5 % required ICT training. Cronbach's coefficient was 0.8, and factor analysis yielded two principal
components that accounted for 54.5 % of the variance. The participants were “satisfied” with the exercises, reported that these programs were “quite user-friendly,” “somewhat-easy” to use, and “supportive” of learning. They would “likely” recommend them for future use.
Conclusion: The online exercises provided an effective method of delivering practical pharmacology classes to medical students.
Keywords: Computer simulations; Covid-19; medical students; online learning; pharmacology; social isolation