Online Asynchronous Learner Discussion Forum; A new tool for teaching guided discovery and critical thinking in Physiology

abstract | author | presentation

Over the past decade the ubiquitous, multimedia and interactive nature of the Internet environment has made a significant impact on medical education and has rapidly become indispensable to medical education. In addition to facilitating the creation and distribution of innovative educational content, it creates a virtual meeting place for instant global communication and collaboration. Different forms of internet communication technologies can enable collaboration and interactive learning. Therefore new pedagogical approaches that can lead to changes in the way students and teachers interact are needed.

The presentation describes the use of out-of-class asynchronous online discussions to promote active student-centered learning instead of teacher-orchestrated lecturing. We used Nicenet¢s Internet Classroom Assistant, a free Web-based learning environment for classrooms, distance learning programs and collaborative academic projects. This assynchronous model of communication turned out to be highly successful: during the accademic year 2000/01 about 100 students and teachers joined our discussion forum, the so called "I©F-CLUB" (http://www.mef.hr/~fiziol/ifklub.htm) . In 8 months there were more then 400 conferencing messages grupped into 5 conferencing topics. The authors report on students' reactions to this new method of teaching guided discovery and critical thinking in physiology.

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