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Research Confirms Videoconferencing's Effectiveness in Teaching Medicine

August 06, 2013

Recent research spearheaded by the College of Osteopathic Medicine at Michigan State University confirmed that students who attended virtual lectures were equally effective as their counterparts who attended live lectures. The findings from the study were recently published in the Teaching and Learning in Medicine journal. The study was conducted under the guidance of Kari Hortos, Associate Dean of the college’s Macomb University Center campus.

In a release, Hortos said, “We used the results of the students’ national board exam, which is known as COMLEX. We found no statistically significant difference on COMLEX board score performance regardless of site assignment for students.”

In 2009, the College of Osteopathic Medicine expanded by opening campuses in Macomb County and Detroit. The expanding footprint of the medical schools saw the college’s class of 2013 growing from 200 to 300 students. To meet the ongoing demand for providing quality education, the college employed videoconferencing as a method for delivering interactive lectures. The college has now emerged as the largest user to employ videoconferencing technology in higher education across North America.

With the college continuing to focus on deploying interactive videoconferencing as a tool for delivering lecturers across all its campuses, it is estimated that around 600-plus students of the college’s school of osteopathic medicine will attend these lectures for around 15 to 25 hours per week.

The decision of Michigan State University to employ videoconferencing as an education tool signifies the growing acceptance of the technology in the field of education. While videoconferencing has been used to deliver lectures online, bringing it into medical education is a significant move toward the technology becoming a more widely employed tool in medical education.

According to Hortos, “In the health care professions in particular, there is always a component of their education where interacting with students and faculty is vital to help them develop professionally. Effective communication with other human beings is one of the foundational cornerstones for physicians.”

Edited by Rory J. Thompson

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