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.
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.