Pharmacy students' perspectives and performance following inter-campus lecture delivery via video conferencing

Australian and New Zealand Association for Health Professional Educators
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Journal Article
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The University of Sydney offered the Bachelor of Pharmacy (Rural) from 2003 at its campus in Orange, New South Wales. The degree was designed to help address a shortfall in the rural pharmacy workforce by training pharmacists in a rural setting and by providing greater rural content in the curriculum. Where appropriate, lectures given to students enrolled in the Bachelor of Pharmacy in Sydney were delivered via video-conferencing to the campus in Orange. Aims: To evaluate four units of study with respect to students' views on video-conferencing of lectures, and to compare students' performance to determine whether students receiving tuition via video-conferencing were disadvantaged compared to students receiving face-to-face tuition. Methods: Students in Sydney and Orange were surveyed using a six-item questionnaire. All statements focused on video-conferencing and required students to score their responses on a 5-point Likert-type rating scale. Means were calculated for each item. End of semester mean marks were compared, as well as the proportion of students passing in each cohort. Results: Students in Orange felt it was difficult to ask questions via video-conferencing. They also felt that lectures needed to be supplemented with face-to-face tutorials and that some lectures should be delivered from Orange. Students in Sydney felt that video-conferencing to Orange disrupted their classes and did not want to receive lectures video-conferenced from Orange. Marks for students in Orange were generally lower than those of the Sydney cohort, but there were no statistically significant differences in the proportion of students who passed each unit. Conclusion: The configuration of the lecture theatre and the opportunity for the remote students to interact with lecturers strongly affects student satisfaction. In addition, there is a need for expert technical back-up at all sites and for staff development and support on ways to effectively use this technology
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